Last week on Gotham, the Penguin ended up coming out on top in his struggle versus Fish Mooney. She was forced to get outta town (with the help of Harvey B) and he got to take over her club. We also had the chance to see Gordon learning the woes of compromise when he made a deal with Penguin in order to catch a crooked, murdering cop. Still, he was trying to fight the good fight. This week, ‘The Fearsome Dr. Crane’ gives a nod to the classic Batman villain, The Scarecrow. Though it may not be the same guy that Batman fans have grown to know and love.
The story begins ominously, with a man tied to a chair with a hood on his head. He gets lowered over the side of a building by some sort of black hat creeper and eventually hanged by the neck until dead. Thus begins Gordon and Harvey’s latest case.
Gordon has a few things to do, so Harvey takes lead on this one. He finds out that the dead guy in question had a phobia of heights. Coincidence? I think not. They follow the trail to a second victim – some guy that has a fear of pigs. All these phobia things start to add up and Harvey eventually finds himself at a phobia support group. There, he encounters a strange dude named Todd (AKA Dr. Crane). Todd also happens to run off with the lady that Harvey is interested in. And so the chase begins.
When Todd tries to take his latest victim to a pool to drown her (she has a fear of pools, naturally), he’s a bit too slow to accomplish his task. Harvey and Gordon show up to save the day. Unfortunately for them, he manages to escape. We also get a little cameo from Dr. Crane Jr. in this one, though only enough to whet our appetites. The entire episode ends with the revelation that Todd has been extracting the adrenaline glands of his victims after frightening them to death. Now that’s a bit curious, eh?
On the Penguin side of things, we see him celebrating his victory over Fish with his employer Marconi. They both think that Fish is dead, but a phone call wakes Marconi up to the truth of the matter. What’s worse (for The Penguin, anyways), is that Fish is trying to tell Marconi that his little buddy has been screwing with him all along. So it’s a car ride to a log cabin in the wilderness for Marconi and The Penguin with an uncertain outcome.
Penguin suspects the worst (and for good reason), so he’s ready to kill his boss if the need arises. But Marconi seems content to let The Penguin be open and honest, so they play a fun little game. This ends with The Penguin becoming aware that Fish is alive and Marconi knowing that his former employee isn’t who he thought he was. Thus, The Penguin ends up in a car crusher. Only a bit of quick thinking saves the poor little bird and now we have the makings of a final showdown between employer and employee.
In the meanwhile, we see Nigma doing several things to improve his position in life. After being suspended for messing with corpses, he frames the resident coroner and gets him kicked off the force via a bizarre sort of practical joke. He also continues his strange little courtship with Mr. Kringle. We also see lil Catwoman as Gordon discovers that she’s been crashing at his place. She finally tells him the same thing that she told Bruce – that she isn’t really a witness to the Wayne murders. And though Gordon heads over to Bruce’s house to let him know what’s going on, the future police commissioner doesn’t believe what the little girl is saying.
And then there’s Fish. She’s out on a boat, trying to get revenge on The Penguin and, eventually, fighting for her life.
So what did Gotham do right this week? Nearly everything, to be honest. The Harvey and Gordon vs. Dr. Crane storyline was solid without being overwhelming. There was still time left for a few small developments with Selina and Nigma as well as the long-awaited showdown between The Penguin and Marconi.
The Penguin’s journey has, since the beginning, been one of the most interesting elements of the show. This time around we got to see him push forward just a little more while at the same time failing and then just barely surviving. This version of The Penguin may not be what most people remember from the Batman comic books, but I can honestly say that Robin Lord Taylor has impressed me as the best incarnation of The Penguin that we’ve seen on television or in the movies to-date. Gotham has done a brilliant job of making him both powerful and incompetent at the same time, setting forth the character that a future Batman shall be forced to face time and again.
We also saw an unusual development in the form of Harvey Bullock. Gotham hss finally decided to expand upon Harvey in more than just a superficial manner and the character really benefits from it. It’s nice to see a deeper look at a character who has, so far, been little more than Gordon’s foil and ally in the GCPD.
All-in-all, another solid installation of Gotham. I thought that the show might collapse during the mid-season, but ever since Ben Edlund put his writing skills into the mix, we’ve been seeing a steady incline in quality. Characters are moving forward even as the plot thickens. All that adds up to a truly excellent Gotham experience from week-to-week.
Next Week, Gotham presents us with ‘The Scarecrow’. It’s a ride into Dr. Crane Sr.’s head along with some long-awaited developments that will likely have a serious impact on the way that the show pans out. Check it out below: