I don’t know about any of you, but I thought it was pretty clear at the end of last week’s Gotham that Barbara had wandered into the Ogre’s murder room. Apparently she just did not know what to take away from a room with weapons all over the place and a creepy vibe coming from the whole thing. With that in mind, this week begins with what I thought was something promising, only to turn the episode into a race against time concerning Gotham’s most problematic character. Fortunately, there was some good stuff involving the rest of the cast and no fish on an island, which made “The Anvil or the Hammer” a good lead into next week’s season finale.
For the first minute of the episode, I was actually ready to be sold on Barbara turning into a sociopath and becoming a villain who teams up with her lover, the Ogre. Just think of how immediately interesting that could have been, let alone fitting for a show like Gotham. Of course, that was not to be, as Barbara attempted to run away the minute she knew the Ogre was actually a killer, which, once again, felt like something that should have been clear by the end of last week, after Barbara stepped into the murder room.
Given that this is the end of the Ogre, it does seem like a good time to wrap up thoughts on the character. Essentially, all of his backstory meant nothing. The whole episode’s plot involving the character eventually boils down to Jimmy & the Bulls locating the Ogre and shooting him in the head, saving the damsel in distress in the process, regardless of how out of it she seemed. Never mind the backstory that took so much time last week, this week provides us with some other origins involving the one time the Ogre went to a crazy brothel and where we go from there.
Once again, Milo Ventimiglia did what he could to make this Patrick Bateman-like pre-Batman villain work, but a three-episode arc seemed to be either too much or not enough to do the right kind of justice. Perhaps hints at his presence throughout the season could have made him more of a worthwhile foe, but overall, it was just another villain-of-the-weak. The good news for some though is that Barbara is still alive and kicking it. Shame about her parents though.
On the Gordon side of things, there is enough to praise in what Ben McKenzie brings to the character’s conviction this week, as he deals with not realizing that Barbara would have been a target in advance. Mix that with the idea that Harvey Bullock actually proved to be a very useful partner and it at least seems like the show is getting places as far as presenting these two as a stable team.
Elsewhere in the GCPD, we get a follow-up to Nygma and his murderous ways from last week. He arrives on the scene in this episode lugging two big luggage trunks, with no sense of guilt or remorse about his deeds. Given that we know where this character is going, it is not too much of a surprise, but I continue to wonder how far the show plans on taking this aspect of the character. Perhaps next week will bring his arc involving Ms. Kringle to a close, but regardless, we received a good look at how pleased Nygma is to be playing romance games with his crush, rather than worrying about the detective he murdered.
Things pick back up with Wayne Enterprises and lil’ Bruce’s fight for the truth. This week, he has the key and the means to find out something important, only to realize that his presence has been anticipated. Bruce is told about his father and grandfather actually being in on the corruption of Wayne Enterprises, much to his disbelief at first, only to be escorted away by young Lucious Fox. This is where things get tricky for Bruce, as Lucious tells him exactly what he needs to hear, but Bruce does not seem to pick up on what Fox is selling. Perhaps it is because I already know Fox is on the side of good, but we will see where things pick up, as Bruce continues his investigation.
The last plotline to check in on involves Penguin and his shiftiness. I have to say I was impressed with the reveals that took place. Sure, I knew Maroni could not be killed, as the nature of this show just would not allow something like that to take place. That said, the reason of how and why Maroni was able to escape an assassination attempt was a mystery to me, as I was more suspicious of Butch, if anything. Knowing that Penguin rigged the guns was a clever way to bring us back to what he began the series by announcing – a war is coming.
This week’s Gotham closes with Maroni and his goons sending violent messages to Falcone, which puts Falcone in a position to strike back. Fortunately, the series has found a way to clear a way to bring us into what should hopefully be a focused and action-packed finale. I can only hope the show delivers. Gotham does tend to get one really good episode in, after a handful of ones that don’t portray the show at its best. Regardless, it will be nice to see this show finally reach the end of its first season next week, where it can finally have a chance to retool and figure out what will work better next season.
From Det. Jim Gordon’s Police Files: