Corrina: Welcome to Same Geek Channel’s look at episode fourteen of Gotham. Has it been fourteen episodes already? Because while I do enjoy this show on its own crazy terms, it does seem like the plots are running in circles. I wonder if a more condensed season would have worked better?
Mordechai: I’m just about ready to give up. This episode bugged the hell out of me. Let me start with my biggest issue: the titular villain. Doctor Crane, in this case, refers not to the classic Batman bady The Scarecrow, but to his father. This makes the umpteenth future Batman villain whose father was eeeevil. Not only that, but Doctor Crane senior has the same fixation as his son, fear.
Corrina: Yes, that part is getting a bit old. As I pointed out in my recap at Criiminal Element, at this point the children of villains need their own support group. Or else they’d qualify for admission into Marvel’s Runaways. (Except this group turns out evil, so maybe not.)
Mordechai: The classic Scarecrow origin was perfect. Unlike some (The Penguin, for one), it didn’t need updating. A psych professor brings a gun to class, freaks out his students by setting it off, and keeps trying to scare people because he essentially gets off on it. Instead, he’s now a legacy. Bah! Better to not use him at all. What’s next? KIller Croc is revealed to have a dad named Gnarly Gator? Clayface as a child actor with a shapeshifting stagemom? C’mon.
Corrina: Ah, so are you more upset at the changing villain origins or the reliance on the same plot device?
I’m upset with the overall problem: the seeming need to jam some version of every Batman villain into this show, which makes for a distinct lack of focus. I don’t know if the network is ordering them to include the villains or not but it’s impinging on the good storylines already in play. It needs to stop.
Mordechai: A little from column “A” and some from column “B”. Nygma and Cobblepot work for me. Tying them in feels “right”. Scarecrow and Poison Ivy feel forced, like square pegs made to fit a round hole. Having every single bad guy connect, in some way, to Gordon or Bruce is part of a larger trope I’ll rant about some other day. Not everyone needs to be connected.
Speaking of the Penguin, we get some movement on that front, with Oswald finally found out by Maroni.
It’s nice to have him lampshade his own cluelessness (“How did I fall for this for so long”) but the whole thing feels dragged out. Especially since we know that Penguin is going to come out on top. There’s zero risk. I admit to being puzzled on how he was going to get out of the car crusher, but I knew he would.
Corrina: I found their scene in the cabin compelling and it reminded me of similar scenes in The Sopranos. Alas, the Sopranos scenes always had an resolution, usually a violent one. This one lacks that climax because we can’t kill Penguin. Still, I was hoping for Maroni being taken off the board. That would leave Oswald versus Falcone, and that’s a mind game I want to see.
Mordechai: Maroni can’t go off the board either; he’s the one who scars Harvey Dent, after all.
Little Bruce and Young Selina both make appearances, the former to let Gordon out of his oath (yeah, that’s gonna work) and the latter to get busted in the Kean loft. No sign of Barbara, by the way. You could have easily cut both scenes with little impact on the overall hour.
Corrina: Idina Mentzel could sing “Let It Go” to Gordon fifty billion times and he never would.
Mordechai: We do get some nice banter with Essen and Bullock at the opening crime scene, I will say that. I think this is the first time we see Essen outside the office. She’s solely there to warn Bullock to stay away from the edge. Of the building, because they’re on a roof, and she wants him to realize they made major enemies. Stay away from the edge, Harv. Seriously, this scene could not be less subtle.
Corrina: But it did lead to Harvey’s snarky line about not drinking until noon. I took it that as Essen wanting to keep an eye on the detective most likely to be killed next in the line of duty. Or that she might have wanted to get out of the office. I can’t say the scene bothered me.
Mordechai: The highlight of the show this week for me though, was Nygma. We see more of his complete lack of social awareness and obsession with puzzles and being right. His need to solve causes him to cross a line and examine a body after being expressly told not to. This gets him suspended. Which he gets around by stuffing the guy’s locker with limbs. Ew? Of course, there is the fact Nygma messed with the evidence but c’mon, it’s Gotham.
Corrina: For once, the writers walk the tightrope properly. Nygma is creepy but, at this point, he’s also shown as socially clueless and not necessarily harmful, something Miss Kringle herself has come to realize. However, that doesn’t mean she’s interested in Nygma romantically, it only means she sees the social cluelessness for what it is. (At least, what we think it is.) I’m not sure why a prank with body parts gets the medical examiner fired when outright lying on autopsy reports doesn’t but, hey, Gotham.
Also getting a romance plotline this episode is one Harvey Bullock. That’s an interesting choice but I liked the implication that Gordon, Bullock and Nygma are all similarly romantically clueless.
Mordechai: I’m deliberately avoiding talking about Gordon’s love life.
Oh, and Fish is on a boat and there are pirates and I just don’t care anymore. Go away already, Fish.
Corrina: I’ve heard rumblings that the pirates come from Santa Prisca, the land of Bane. If so, that could prove interesting.
Mordechai: If by “interesting” you mean “vomit inducing”. Oh hey, maybe Fish will be Bane’s mom or something.
The episode really brings home my overall problem with Gotham. Too many plates in the air. There are too many characters, too many plotl ines, and just too much. Tighten things up. I know Gotham will be back for a second season, but unless they blow me away, I won’t be.
Corrina: On that, we’re in complete agreement. Except that I’ll keep watching Gotham next year just for Bullock snark.
Mordechai: Not gonna lie, Nygma and Bullock do make it tempting to stay. But everything else? And now on top of everything, we’ll apparently get a look at the Joker before the finale. No no no no. Do Joker your last season, not before. Never before.
Besides, who am I kidding? I like snarking about the show too much to quit.
Join us next week, same geek time, same geek channel!