It’s been a while since the last episode of Gotham. About five weeks, in fact. So what exactly happened before the break? Well, little Bruce Wayne had teamed up with little Selina Kyle and they were out on the hunt for the guy that stabbed poor Alfred. Alfred was, of course, laid out in the hospital. Gordon and Bullock managed to get some dirt on Commissioner Loeb and stop a power play (thanks to The Penguin), though at some cost to Gordon’s idealism and morality. And old fish Mooney was now working for The Dollmaker, helping him keep his human organ donors in line. The previews for the last four episode of the season have been promising some big changes. The question is, did ‘Beasts of Prey‘ deliver?
After Gordon’s small victory over the corrupt Commissioner Loeb, he’s back to business as usual. When a seemingly idealistic young officer approaches him and asks him to check out an old murder case, naturally Gordon agrees. So, after grabbing up an always-reluctant Harvey Bullock, off they go to follow what little trail they have. The search doesn’t go well, but our buddy Edward Nigma finds a clue that has been hidden away – a calling card that marks the murder as the work of a serial killer affectionately referred to as The Ogre. The cops have been keeping it under wraps, as the killer in question has been known to target the loved ones of whomever tries to come after him. The idealistic officer that gave Gordon the case was actually trying to set him up. Why, you ask? Because Loeb is still at war with Gordon, of course, and he was hoping that perhaps Gordon would learn some sort of lesson. So Gordon has to make a choice – either let the killer roam free or hunt him down and possibly have him come after his girlfriend.
On Bruce’s side of the story, we find little Batman still hunting for Reggie – the guy that stabbed Alfred. The butler in question wants to go himself, but he’s still in pretty bad shape. So it’s up to Bruce and his partner in crime, Selina to do the footwork. When they finally do track down Reggie, they find him doped up in a drug den. A little coercion leads him to drop the name of the person that sent him along with the information as to why he was stealing Bruce’s documents – because someone is scared. In the end, Reggie threatens to let his employer know that Bruce is coming after him, thus ensuring the young billionaire’s death. When Bruce gets the chance to push Reggie to his doom, he can’t do it. That doesn’t mean that Selina feels quite the same way, however.
Back on Dollmaker Island, Fish is playing her new employer’s game while trying to find a way to escape. The Dollmaker, however, always seems one step ahead of her. So she sends some of her prisoner allies off to snatch a boat so that at least a small group of them can flee. But nothing is quite as it seems. Fish has a different plan, one that has her flying away in a chopper, though she does take a potentially fatal bullet wound on the way out.
And in the background, we see The Penguin making a new power play. He’s cutting deals like a true businessman and leaving casualties in his wake. He’s learned a few lessons while dealing with all of his mob buddies and decides that it’s finally time to make a big move against Don Maroni.
I love Gotham to death and am impressed with what they’ve managed to do with the series thus far, but this episode was clearly a set-up for the final three of the season. Selina’s actions were a big turning point for her as well as a moment for Bruce where the revelation of their differences is starting to become obvious. We’re seeing the “never kill” policy form within his character – something that will come to be one of the future Batman’s defining moral traits. And, as always, the development of The Penguin was nice to watch. His push and pull struggle against the underworld powers he hopes to one day conquer has been one of the highlights of the show.
The main complaint I had was in the style they chose to use to tell the story of Gotham’s latest serial killer, The Ogre. The flashbacks were something that Gotham hasn’t used before and they felt a bit awkward. It also felt a bit like yet another generic enemy for Gordon to face off against, though I suspect they’ll be using the confrontation to develop his character in some important way.
I’m also a bit confused as to the entire Fish Mooney subplot. She’s messing around at the Dollmaker’s place, forming alliances with her fellow prisoners and then finally getting out, but it’s taken the show many episodes to execute whatever it is that they’re trying to do. Again, if there’s no payoff here, then the writers have wasted a good hour or so of my time with something that doesn’t even matter. Since Jada Pinkett Smith hasn’t signed up to do another season, I’m guessing we’ll know exactly what the plan is over the course of the next few weeks. I was also a bit disappointed that they virtually retconned Gordon’s moral dilemma. He’s right back at Loeb’s throat and just as much the good guy as always. I was hoping to see more development there, as it would have made Gordon a much more interesting character in the long run.
All-in-all, not a bad episode, but definitely not one of Gotham’s best. Only the final three will tell exactly how essential it was for them to use this bridging episode in the ways that they did. Speaking of next week’s episode, check out the trailer for ‘Under the Knife’ below.