We’re now six weeks into Gotham, Fox’s hit series about the dark days before the Dark Knight, and while the show’s introduced plenty of captivating characters and intriguing mysteries, there’s one Gothamite who’s equal parts both—Fish Mooney.
Played to perfection by actress Jada Pinkett Smith, Fish Mooney is a big part of the Gotham underworld. She’s a nightclub owner and mob leader positioned under crime boss Carmine Falcone, who occasionally offers assistance to Detective Bullock. She’s also the only major character on the show that doesn’t come from the comics. She’s completely original, an invention of Gotham’s creative team.
There are quite a few things we now know about Fish Mooney. We know that she used to be Oswald Cobblepot’s employer, before he betrayed her in the first episode. We know that she’s not exactly happy with her current position in the career crime ladder, and that she has her eye on taking down Falcone and wresting control of the underworld for herself. We know that she’s a master manipulator, heaping enticing praise and violent abuse on those who cross her path in equal measures. Most of all, we know that she’s dangerous. When dealing with Fish Mooney, you’re only safe so long as you’re useful to her. The minute that changes, watch out.
However, there’s far more that we don’t yet know about Fish. We still have more questions than answers about this intriguing new addition to the Batman universe. Here are five of our biggest.
Seriously, where did she get that nickname?
Or to broaden the question a bit, what’s her history? We know nothing about how Fish became a Gotham crime lord. Was she born into the mob, or did she build her empire herself? What’s her past with Falcone? How did she initially meet and start mentoring Cobblepot? And is there any truth to the rumor that her hair was all burned off by acid?
We may never get answers to all of these, but we’d love an explanation for the nickname at least. When you think of a person named “Fish,” the svelte Pinkett Smith isn’t the first individual to come to mind. And while it may be true that the name is a sly nod to her ultimate relationship with the Penguin (we all know what penguins eat), there still has to be a great story of how she earned it. When are we going to hear it?
Did she have anything to do with the murder of the Waynes?
We likely won’t discover the truth about the Waynes’ murderer for a long time, if we learn it at all. However, it’s clear that Fish knows a lot more about it than she’s let on. Why did she frame Mario Pepper for the murder? Did she just want Mario eliminated, or was she trying to direct attention away from the real culprit?
While we’re going to go out on a limb and say that we don’t suspect she’s the one who wanted them dead, she may know who the murderer was. Falcone’s a possibility, but considering the way Fish feels about him, why not give him up? Also, it seems unlikely that Falcone would’ve bothered saving Gordon and Bullock in the first episode if the reason Fish had ordered them killed was because they were snooping into a hit that he was behind. So if not Falcone…who? Is there another player in the Gotham mob that we don’t yet know, or was the murder motivated by something business related? Recent episodes have revealed that Wayne Enterprises may be involved with some shady stuff. Did it lead to the death of Bruce’s parents?
Regardless of the motivation and the guilty party, Fish fits in somehow, but how is still very much a mystery.
What’s Fish’s Plan for Liza?
You know Liza. The gorgeous torch singer who recently entered Fish’s employ. She’s clearly a key pawn in Mooney’s plan to bring down Falcone, and after last week’s episode, the plot is in motion. But what’s the plot? Is it to spy on Falcone…or eliminate him? Or could it be something even more subtle? Falcone revealed that the aria Fish taught Liza is one that his mother used to sing to him. Could the plan with Liza be for her to get close to Carmine Falcone and then leave, breaking his heart in the process? A broken man is a distracted and easily eliminated man, after all.
Equally intriguing is the relationship between Fish and Russian mobster Nikolai. It’s pretty clear Fish isn’t interested in romance, so if she’s gotten close to Nikolai, there’s a strategic reason for it. Are they colluding to take down Falcone? If so, what does Nikolai get out of it? While many fish enjoy swimming in schools, this one sure doesn’t. There’s no way she’s going to share power.
What does Fish have against Falcone anyhow?
Like our first question, this one may have to do with Fish’s as-yet-unknown history. It’s true that Carmine Falcone had some of Fish’s best men killed in the pilot, but anger provoking as that surely was, is it really enough to justify taking down the head of Gotham’s biggest crime family? Considering the extreme risk involved with Fish’s current endeavor, we’re guessing the problems between Fish and Falcone extend much further back.
Could they have been lovers at one time? We’re just speculating here, but think about it. Fish knew how much that aria meant to Falcone. Seeing the reaction it got from him, that’s clearly not news he shares with just anybody. At one point, he must’ve been pretty close to Fish to reveal that to her. Fish also seems to be taking some pretty big precautions to keep her relationship with Nikolai from Falcone. True, there are likely plenty of other reasons for that, but consider this third fact. Both Fish and Falcone seem to like hurting people the other is involved with. Yes, it’s a powerful way to send a message, but it also sort of screams “angry ex,” doesn’t it?
Whether there are some skeletons in this pair’s closet or not, Fish clearly is consumed with bringing Falcone down. Maybe it’s nothing more than pure, unrivaled ambition. But with her eyes fully on the prize, she’s not doing a good job of watching her back. Which gets us to question number five.
Are Fish’s days numbered?
Quite possibly the single biggest question when it comes to Ms. Mooney. Is she destined for a premature demise? It seems likely considering the dog eat dog world she lives and breathes in. But at whose hand?
Falcone’s is obviously a possibility. If he finds out what she’s planning, Fish will be…well, sleeping with the fishes. However, there’s also the Penguin, Oswald Cobblepot. After all, Fish tried to have him killed, and that was AFTER he’d already attempted to bring her down. We doubt he’s decided to forgive and forget. But Cobblepot seems to be focusing on Sal Maroni, and so far, Maroni’s path hasn’t really crossed with Fish’s. Of course, there are plenty of other characters who could spell bad news for Fish: Maroni, Gordon or anyone else on the GCPD, a betrayed Nikolai or Liza…heck, even Ivy Pepper could return and somehow put an end to Fish. We know who she becomes, and Fish DID have her father killed.
The other big question is when this might happen. Is Fish a one season character like many have speculated? Will this season end with the Penguin replacing her as the nightclub owner? (We all know what business he runs in the comics.) Could that happen sooner? Or could Fish continue to be a Gotham City player for many years to come?
That’s assuming she meets her end at all. No one says she has to. The beauty of dealing with a completely new character is that we don’t know. There are no expectations. Heck, Fish can mutate into a full-on costume clad super-villain who eventually goes toe-to-toe with Batman in the show’s final episode. Until we see what the Gotham team has in store for us, all we can do is watch, speculate and ask some burning questions.
But there’s no question we’re enjoying the ride.
Expect more clues to the Fish Mooney puzzle in tonight’s episode of Gotham, “Spirit of the Goat,” airing at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on Fox. Also, click here to hear Jada Pinkett Smith discuss Fish in an exclusive interview clip.