TV Review: Fox’s Gotham 1×20, “Under The Knife”

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The good news is we are away from Fish and the plotline that literally found her on an island, away from everyone else. The bad news is I did not have too much to really care about in an episode that actually did have a lot of focus.  “Under The Knife” is a step up from the lackluster return of Gotham last week, but even as the stakes of this series increase, as the show ramps up for its season finale, something was still off. Even in an episode that has Nygma finally taken to new, malicious territory, I could not help but be fairly unexcited by how things were playing out.

Let’s talk about Nygma. I often go back and forth on where I end up describing the appearances of Edward. He usually gets relegated to the show notes at the end, but this week we get to see plenty of him. First the show gives us a giant foreshadowing of things to come, as he tests out a weapon on a watermelon. This is followed by the shoehorning in of domestic abuse, which has us both worried for Ms. Kringle and understanding of Nygma’s reaction. Unfortunately, Nygma is too socially awkward to understand the best way to handle things, so his threats to Detective BeatsAGirl don’t go over well. This is followed by Nygma taking on the Detective outside Kringle’s house and finding himself in a stabby mood.

Was this shocking? A little. You have to understand that the character needs to go down some dark path at some point and the show has certainly kept us in the loop as far as seeing how Ed’s mind works. That said, going to full blown maniacal murder was a bit much and played in the absurdist sort of way that Gotham tends to handle its darker material with. It is fair to say that I am interested in seeing what is basically a mini-Dexter storyline playout, as far as Nygma and his job at the GCPD goes, but I only wish I wasn’t shoved so hard to this territory.

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Speaking of characters I only seem to spend so much time dealing with, Barbara played a big role this week. To say I did not really care about what she had to offer would be an understatement. This show has done nothing to make Barbara Kean a character I have deep sympathy for and if the finale is going to involve Jim Gordon rekindling his relationship with her, after rescuing her from the Ogre, it is going to have to do a lot of retooling next season to really make that stick. That said, perhaps the show takes a different path than I am assuming and the ending of this season goes down a darker route.

Lil’ Bruce and Cat get to follow up their escapades from last week by going to the big charity ball this week. Bruce is still upset that Cat killed Reggie, but that won’t stop him from being flustered around a cleaned-up Selina, as the two make a cute young couple amongst all the rich folk. It’s just too bad some of those rich folk want Bruce out of the picture. What I like about this aspect of the episode is that it actually links up Bruce’s plot with the Ogre storyline, however slightly. Many of the main characters of this episode cross paths at the ball, which was a nice way to keep a sense of focus around this show.

I have not said much about Jimmy and the Bulls and that is mainly because they do not have a whole lot to offer. Sure, we do see a lot of them this episode, as they do plenty of detective work to learn more about the Ogre, but it all feels so routine. If the Ogre is supposed to be a threat worthy of a three episode arc, it’s time to do more to make me feel it. With that in mind, the final shot of this episode does do a good job of establishing that nothing good can come from being in his clutches. Milo Ventimiglia is doing what he can, which is essentially being a hipper version of Christian Grey with nastier habits, so I can only hope he really proves his worth in the final episode involving him, rather than just be a shady figure that tries to run down Jim with his car.

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Unfortunately it is Penguin that gets the short shrift this week. I can go into his story more in the show notes, but there is only so much to expand upon, when it comes to discussing him, his enemies, and his unnecessary mother. That aside, at least this episode had decent focus. While there was only so much fun in the way that Gotham knows how to have it this week, it did enough to let some pieces fall into place. If anything, I guess I may just be numb to the attempts at flashiness, as far as what this series has established. Two episodes left; let’s hope they arrive with a bang.

From Det. Jim Gordon’s Police Files:

  • So Maroni rats out Penguin’s murderous deeds to his mother. She, as a result, cries a lot. Now Penguin is even more murderous than ever…?
  • So I can only imagine there are many times that Leslie has been alarmed by her cat, while in various vulnerable states. She had no reason to be that paranoid, until after Jim told her about the Ogre, so this must be a constant problem.
  • No sign of Fish this week, which was refreshing. Cut all the fat and give us the focus we need.
  • The bit of maniacal laughing Nygma let out was an interesting touch. Riddle me that.
  • This week’s Classic Gordon Clip

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Aaron is a movie fanatic. He is from Orange County, California, but earned a degree or two at UC Santa Barbara. He describes himself as a film reviewer, writer, podcaster, video game player, comic book reader, disc golfer, and a lefty. There are too many films, TV shows, books, etc. for him to list as favorites, but he can assure that the amount of film knowledge within his noggin is ridiculous, though he is always open to learning more. You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else he is up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com, and check out his podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.