Last week on Gotham, things started to heat up a bit. We saw Gordon getting closer to The Ogre with, unbeknownst to him, the life of his former love, Barbara, in the mix. The Penguin was gearing up to take on Maroni in a fight to the finish. Little Bruce and Little Selina were delving deeper into their investigation of the corruption in Wayne Enterprises. And Mr. Edward Nigma lost his shit and stabbed his non-girlfriend’s beau to death right in front of her apartment. With only two episodes to go, can Gotham shut down the season with a bang? Or, more importantly, can they keep people interested enough to get signed on for a second season? Read on to see if ‘The Anvil or the Hammer’ was the episode that Gotham fans deserved.
The main story arc revolves, naturally, around Gordon’s battle with The Ogre as he tries to save Barbara from certain death. As it turns out, he doesn’t have too much to worry about. Ogre-man is happy with his new girlfriend and, after revealing to her that he was originally going to kill her and dealing with the subsequent freak-out, he even gives her the chance to help him on his merry quest for blood. She is his perfect mate and as such gets to make the next call on who he kills. So who does she choose? Those parents of hers that we saw in an episode back some time ago.
On the other side of things, Gordon finally manages to find someone who might be able to give him a lead on The Ogre. One questionably legal interrogation later, he has something to go on. The problem there is that he’s looking for an exclusive nightclub that moves from place to place. So it’s back to The Penguin for a little help. Our favorite Cobblepot offers his assistance, though not without some degree of resistance and, it would seem, a slight grudge that will likely grow into something much more dangerous in the future.
Since Gordon looks too much like a boy scout, the plan is to send Bullock into the club and find someone that’s supposedly dealt with The Ogre before. Bondage clubs with kinky stage acts don’t sit well with Harvey, however, so he just ends up breaking up the party and doing things the old-fashioned way. They find a girl who was scared up by The Ogre several years back, before he was killing, and she gives them enough info so that they are able to find his apartment. Unfortunately, their nemesis finds out they’re coming and bails. But he does have the courtesy to give them a telephone call. A call that inevitably provides enough clues that they can further pursue him.
So then it’s Gordon and Bullock, off to Barbara’s parents’ house where they finally face down their enemy once and for all. They’re too late to save the parents, but they do manage to keep Barbara from dying and put a bullet in the head of The Ogre to boot. I’m guessing that Barbara is going to have some serious trauma issues after this one though.
Over at the Wayne household, Bruce gets his hands on the key that Selina stole from Bunderslaw – the man what had poor Alfred stabbed in the name of getting his hands on Bruce’s detective research. Bruce heads down to Wayne Enterprises to crack a safe, but Bunderslaw is one step ahead of him. They finally have a little heart-to-heart talk, with the corrupt businessman trying to convince Bruce that even his father was part of the shady dealings of the company. That’s just the way it is and Bruce best get onboard before something bad happens. Luckily for Bruce, a certain Lucius Fox shows up. He provides the junior detective with some new clues as to who Bruce’s father really was. And in the end, Bruce finally breaks down and tells Alfred the truth about what happened to his friend Reggie.
So how are the super villains doing this week? Well, The Penguin is having a ball. He sends his men to hit Maroni and finish off his rival… or does he? In fact, he sets the poor bastards up so that he can make it look like it was Falcone that tried to kill Maroni. The end result? A gang war that sets the streets of Gotham on fire. And The Penguin gets to presumably sit back and reap the rewards of his rivals’ bloodbath.
And the other villain-to-be, Mister Edward Nigma, has to deal with disposing of the person he made into a dead body last episode. It’s a good thing he has access to all those resources at the police morgue. He even manages to convince Miss Kringle that officer numb-nuts ran out on her. Though how long that illusion lasts, we shall see.
Oh, yeah – still no Fish Mooney. But who really cares?
I’ve been impressed during these last few episodes with how much better the show has gotten at jumping from story to story. It’s been clumsy in the past, trying to juggle so many characters, but it feels like the writers finally got their shit together in that regard. With so many things going on, good editing is a must to keep the audience from getting lost, bored or just utterly annoyed.
I’ve also really enjoyed the way they’ve been developing the two iconic villain characters. Just when you think The Penguin is floundering about and being completely inconsequential, he sets a plan in motion. You can tell that his character thinks very much in the long-term and that even emotional crises don’t truly affect him. Nigma’s character is also seeing some good growth. With one murder under his belt, the character has matured. He already seems more confident and in control of his surroundings. It’s almost as if he’s finally found his true calling and is blossoming into a beautiful and psychotic flower of crime.
As far as the bad stuff goes, I can complain some more about the actress that plays Barbara, but that would just be redundant at this point. I do have some beef about her not realizing that her date was a psycho killer after being introduced to his killing room and that only when he told her right to her face did she understand that she might be sleeping with the wrong dude. But then again, maybe she really is that damned stupid. The past development of the character would suggest that, after all.
This is probably one of the best episodes of Gotham thus far. More Penguin, more Nigma, less villain-of-the-week and NO Fish. What more could you ask for? Will the final episode hold up the momentum? Check out the trailer below and see what you think. It looks like blood and secrets galore and, finally, Fish returns to play out her last moments before she gets whacked (or just disappears from the show for whatever reason).