Last week on Gotham, the show did little in the way of epic climaxes, but it did set up quite a bit for future episodes. Bruce and Selina had a little adventure that ended in murder. Fish finally made it out of the Rambling Subplot Hospital, though she took a bullet in the process. The Penguin was setting up for a major move against his chief rival, Maroni. And Gordon was lured into becoming the target of a dangerous serial killer who goes by the name of The Ogre. Will ‘Under the Knife’ bring us closer to the stunning conclusion that they’ve been promising us for these last four episodes?
The main plotline, of course, revolves around Gordon trying to find The Ogre before said villain kills someone that our hero loves. Gordon, having forgotten the nightmare that is Barbara, naturally assumes that it’s Thompkins who will be under threat. The Ogre has different plans and decides he likes the old girlfriend more than the new one. He picks Barbara up at a bar and she takes him home with her. But The Ogre doesn’t like that she’s no longer Gordon’s main squeeze. He does seem to like her for other reasons though, and even seems ready to have her join him in his merry murder lifestyle. I’m guessing that has something to do with them both being nuts.
With no idea what’s going on, Gordon goes fishing into the case files of previous police investigations into The Ogre. He follows a lead to a plastic surgeon, almost gets run over by The Ogre and eventually finds out who the bad guy’s dad is. All this culminates in Gordon discovering that the man they’re hunting has had a face remodel, because he used to look like a hot mess. In order to show The Ogre that he’s not going to back down, Gordon elects to make a public announcement, and thus a public challenge, and lets the city know that there’s a killer in their midst. And in the end, Gordon finally makes the connection that The Ogre is going for Barbara and not Thompkins.
On the Bruce Wayne side of the story, future Batman is not dealing well with the fact that his under aged girlfriend-to-be killed someone. That doesn’t stop him from pursuing his investigation into Bunderslaw, the Wayne Enterprises employee that almost had Alfred killed. He figures the best way to do that is the steal the key to Bunderslaw’s safe and see if there’s anything interesting in it. In order to execute their master plan, Bruce and Selina dress up and head to the Wayne Enterprises charity ball. A quick pickpocket from Selina and they’re in business.
In the meanwhile, we get to see a short showdown between Maroni and The Penguin. Penguin is setting up a hit on his former boss, but Maroni one-ups him and takes a visit to the nightclub. There, he reveals to Penguin’s dear mother that her son is nothing more than a murdering criminal. Penguin is not happy with this and sends Maroni a rather forceful message in reply.
And, perhaps the best part of this week’s episode, we finally get to see Edward Nigma take his first steps toward being the psychotic mastermind that we all know and love. When he finds out that Miss Kringle – his unrequited love interest – is being manhandled by her douchebag officer boyfriend, he takes steps to intervene. He even goes so far as to confront his rival in front of Kringle’s house. Things end up going poorly, to say the least.
The pacing this week was definitely better than last episode. They did a very good job of jumping between the stories while keeping everything moving. There’s also a steady build-up of tension that Gotham tends to lack, for the most part. They’ve plotted the end of the season over four episodes, so they have a lot of room to make sure everything is in place. They’ve also left behind the villain of the week cliché – something they really should have tried to do much earlier.
It was also fun to watch Nigma finally have his meltdown. We all knew it was coming, but we didn’t know exactly how it would play out. Nigma’s loss of control and subsequent panic lends well to hinting at the villain he will eventually become. I only hope we get to see lots more of him come season two.
On the bad side, we have Barbara. She’s just as shallow and unlikeable as ever, though given her bizarre connection with The Ogre, one has to wonder if the writers did it on purpose. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she’s going to end up being the next villain. Of course, that can’t possibly happen. So we just have to accept the fact that Barbara is indeed an annoying and mostly worthless character.
Oh, and there was no Fish Mooney this episode! No silly hospital subplot and no grating performance by Jada Pinkett Smith. So that’s a good thing, right? Though I am eager to see if she’s going to die and whether or not she’ll take someone with her in the process of going down.
All-in-all, a pretty decent episode that sets the stage for even more progress during the final two. Next week, ‘The Anvil or the Hammer’ looks to be bringing us some Gordon-hunting-Barbara action, an Edward Nigma trying to cover up his crime, Bruce digging deeper into the corruption of Wayne Enterprises and The Penguin on a rampage and out for blood. Check out the trailer for that one below.