Same Geek Channel Review ‘Gotham’ Episode 115 “The Scarecrow”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Mordechai: No. Just no. Forget it. I’m out. Gotham has charming moments and good acting at times, but this episode was too painful to watch. I made it halfway in, but I can’t get past the stilted storytelling and the need to give every single villain an origin that ties back to Jim.

Corrina:  It can be painful to watch at times, especially when it wants to show the origin of every Batman foe ever! But as kids! Cool, right?

No.

On the good side, Gotham managed to make Fish Mooney interesting this episode.

And it’s an odd episode where Fish Mooney is the best thing about it. Heck, I didn’t even write down any great Harvey Bullock one-liners. Boo!

Mordechai: The entire prison set up was nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before. I didn’t see it play out, but I kinda didn’t need to.

Corrina: What else was wasted this episode? A chance for a psychological examination of Jim Gordon via Crane’s fear-dosing, a chance for Bruce’s quest in the woods to be about something, and, well, a chance for the episode to be more than “the origin of Jonathan Crane” as Scarecrow.

Mordechai: Which is just irritating. The Scarecrow had a brilliant, simple origin. Mucking it up with daddy issues and linking him to some larger tapestry is just lazy, stupid writing.

Corrina: I guess the show wanted a huge amount of Julian Sands because he’s a well-know guest star. I liked the interaction between Crane and his son but at no point did anyone question his methods.

His friend the principal had a paper he did about fear and adrenal glands but she didn’t say anything about it being weird science because I’m pretty sure science doesn’t quite work that way. Or maybe it does, in which case Gotham could’ve explained it. But no one thinks “hey, you know, fear sometimes keeps us safe” Like maybe prevent us from from standing out in the open while firing at two police officers. Gerald Crane went out like a chump. What a way to waste the whole “fear” thing. All that results is that now Batman fans know how the Scarecrow came to be. It has nothing to do with the overall story Gotham is telling or, trying to tell. Or telling badly.

Mordechai: Batman: The Animated Series managed to do the “fear keeps us safe story” way back in the 1990s, and did so excellently. Yet more proof that B:TAS is the best Batman.

Really, it all goes back to Gotham having way too many plates in the air. It doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up.

Corrina: I’ve come to conclusion that what it wants to be is just the show that tells villain origins. I’ve noticed some of the comic book sites loved this episode because of the villain origins. But they’re not full stories, just vignettes.

Searching for interesting stuff, we see what Gordon’s like to date, and he has more chemistry with Lee than he did with Barbara. That’s nice, except Lee is the new medical examiner and she wants to still cuddle at the precinct. But why is the medical examiner’s office at the precinct? Is this the only one in Gotham? Is she assigned to this one? This makes no logical sense to me.

If the ME’s office was somewhere different, then Gordon wouldn’t have to worry about Lee wanting to kiss in the precinct. On this, I’m with Gordon. The precinct isn’t a romantic place, especially when you’re busy putting your hands in dead bodies. And, hey, what about wanting to help the poor patients in Arkham, Lee?

Mordechai: I didn’t get as far as that, but the scene where she comes to work there and Bullock basically goes “dames, am I right?” was just painful.

Corrina:  Also, no follow-up on Bullock and Scottie Mullins. Boo!

Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, it appears Thomas and Bruce Wayne used to go on hikes in the woods around Wayne Manor once a year to watch the sunrise? Bruce heads out on his own, destroy a pile of rocks he and his father had gathered over the years and twists his ankle when he tumbles down a hill. I thought this might be the discovery of the eventual Batcave, which might have been cool. Instead, it’s just a chance to show off Bruce’s determination to move past pain, climb up the hill and discover that Alfred was watching over him after all. Tough love, there, Alfred. The kid could have really messed up his ankle.

Mordechai: The Alfred on this show makes me ill. No relationship to any Alfred portrayal, ever. He’s a brute and a cad.

Corrina: Back to Fish: She’s stuck in a prison where the guards apparently grab random inmates for body parts. Fish quickly sizes up the competition, sidles up to the guy with the knife, kills him, and takes over. That was easy. And the most bad-ass thing she’s done all season. Nice.

Mordechai: Also easily the most cliche thing.

Corrina: Hey, I take what I can get.

Oh, Oswald is in this episode, re-opening Fish’s club as his own. He brings an invite personally to Jim Gordon, who turns it down. Doesn’t Oswald know Jim frowns on flirting in the precinc? Nygma and Oswald also encounter and don’t like each other, a wasted few minutes only meant to invoke their future selves.

The show is far too obsessed with the whole future villains thing.

Mordechai:  I admit, I liked the Nygma/Cobblepot moment. It had energy. I also loved the scene with Falcone and Oswald in the club as well as Oswald’s man-crush on Jim.
But that doesn’t change the fact, that as you note, the show is way too obsessed with showing the roots of different bad guys. The principal players, Jim and Bruce, have little to no growth, and the ancillary characters are just there to spout the occasional cute line.
It’s all about showing where the bad guys come from. That’s all.
And they all are tying back to Jim Gordon, making him the specialist snowflake in the universe. Forget that. I’m done. This is the last week I waste any time on Gotham. While I will gladly point out the flaws in the other shows we watch (Flash, Arrow, Sleepy Hollow), at the end of the day those shows are actually funGotham is many things – dreary, directionless, dumb – but fun moments are way too rare. Life’s too short to waste on bad genre TV.
Corrina: And so ends our Same Geek Channel on Gotham. No more next week, at least not on this show. 

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