Gotham Guest Review

Gotham 1×21 – The Anvil or the Hammer

“If you get any deeper with that clown, he will own you.”

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Well, that was certainly much better than I expected. Then again, how low were my expectations?

In all seriousness though, this was a pretty decent hour. Milo Ventimiglia proved to be one of the show’s most intriguing villains so far, but I would have preferred to see him much earlier on in the season. The Ogre arc turned out to be exactly the kind of storyline I want to see on Gotham, and I’m glad the show didn’t mess it up as the case came to an end.

We all knew Barbara was going to make it (because she kinda looked like she was enjoying her time?), and that’s one of the things that weighed this episode down. Had Barbara been a more likable and better-written character, we would have cared enough to feel like the stakes are high with her being captive. But because the writers did an atrocious job with her, giving her a useless storyline with Montoya (remember her?) and making her disappear and then reappear every now and then, I never felt like I would have been mad if she were to die. In fact, at one point, I was even rooting for the Ogre. I just don’t like Barbara. Enough said.

Another thing that continues to make this show look ridiculous is the tacky and predictable dialogue. The sad thing is that Ben McKenzie hasn’t been delivering the kind of performance that would overshadow the horrible writing. There’s something about this dude’s face that’s really annoying sometimes and makes me cringe every time he’s about to deliver a “it’s all my fault, we need to catch this guy” speech. Plus, Jim and Bullock’s investigations are becoming extremely difficult to watch. I usually nod off mid-episode, waiting for them to get to the bad guy by hour’s end because nothing before that is innovative or even worth watching.

But for what it’s worth, I did like this episode. Bruce and Alfred shared a truly poignant scene after Bruce told him everything he had been doing behind his back. I’m glad to see that a young kid wasn’t able to trick the big guys at Wayne Enterprises because that would have been contrived and unrealistic. His story has been the show’s most compelling arc, and Bruce being skeptical about his company’s morals sounds like a perfect setting for a city as corrupt as Gotham. Sadly, it’s all a little late now.

Same goes for our criminal this week. Not just did the Ogre prove to be a villain powerful and dark enough for this show, but Oswald is also turning into the ruthless baddie I’ve been waiting for all year. There’s no telling what Jim asking for Penguin’s help will do to the city, but I hope the season ends in a bang next week. Otherwise, it will be tricky to get me to come back next year.

Bat Bits

– I loved the teaser with the Ogre threatening Barbara and all, but didn’t she already figure out he’s a bit psycho when she walked into what looked like the Red Room last time?

– The only time I actually loved Barbara is when she chose the Ogre to kill her parents. I was expecting this to take a very soapy turn and have Leslie or Jim be the victims instead, but thankfully Barbara made a truly realistic (for her character) and sound decision. I am not sad to see them die. They were jerks.

– But seriously, Jim and Bullock running around investigating is just awful. Did you listen to their conversation about the train they overheard from the Ogre’s call? I nearly threw food at my TV. The show needs to get rid of its procedural format.

– Ed didn’t have much to do except be a creepy murderer. But I was surprisingly entertained by his “read between the lines” scene.

– Lucius Fox makes his first appearance on the show and no it’s not Morgan Freeman. I’m not too excited because this is Gotham after all, but Chris Chalk did a fine job with the cameo appearance. I hope Bruce’s new ally returns for the finale.

– Loved that pulse-pounding ending scene. I really, really want next week to live up to the hype.

– Seriously, no one cares where Fish is?

Cracks From Gotham

Ogre: Barbara, I love you. I love you like no one has ever loved you. But if you try to escape, I will chain you to the ceiling and gut you.

Lucius: I’m going to tell you something, and I’d appreciate if you kept your face perfectly still. There’s cameras everywhere. I know because I put them there. What I’m about to say must be a deep secret between you and me. I knew your father well, he was a good man. He wasn’t the man the company thought he was.
Bruce: I don’t understand you.
Lucius: Bruce, your father was a true stoic. He kept his best self hidden. That’s all I’ll say.

Conclusion
The penultimate episode proved to be an interesting and entertaining hour, one that is much better than what we’ve gotten accustomed to. If only the show is willing to divest itself of its procedural format more often.

Chris Rating
B-

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