Episode 15: “The Scarecrow”
Gordon and Bullock continue the search for Dr. Crane, meanwhile Falcone & Maroni make an agreement regarding Penguin.
Like most Gotham City rogues, the Penguin and the Riddler have had conflicts during the course of the Batman mythos. While there is no defining storyline between them, the general consensus is that they don’t get along with each other. It’s not a matter of conflicting interests or old grudges, but simply two different people going about two different lives. Riddler’s dislike for Penguin stems from his general dislike for most people; believing them to be too narrow-minded in their thinking. Penguin’s disdain similarly stems from his displeasure at the Riddler’s cryptic ways.
Viewers hungry for more fear will find much to love this week. Continuing the Dr. Crane storyline has shed light on certain elements of last week’s episode. Dr. Crane’s actual name, for example, as well as the truth of his actions and fears. There’s some wonderfully dark and creative cinematography in this episode, vintage nightmare fuel. Also of note is the crossing of paths between Penguin and Riddler, a short but intense meeting that is guaranteed to have viewers at the edge of their seats for every moment of it. Creators of Gotham, if you read this, more Penguin and Riddler, please. There is a beautiful chemistry between these characters and actors that demands to be seen.
All the world’s a movie, and the people in it, merely supporting actors. Gotham is, in many ways, a collection of movies spliced together into a continuous storyline. There’s Bruce’s movie, Penguin’s movie, Fish’s movie, Selena’s movie, Nygma’s movie, and of course, Gordon’s movie. If you separated them all, certain things would become apparent. Bruce’s movie starts off rough but finds its way to something meaningful. Penguin’s tale is a perpetual up & down, top-to-bottom tale of success, failure, and struggling to stay one step ahead of the many people trying to kill him. Nygma’s story is of an unappreciated genius who bends rules for the sake of a greater, but somewhat twisted, good. Fish Mooney’s movie is of a cocky, self-indulgent, self-proclaimed baroness whose life never gets so bad she can’t find an easy way out. And Gordon’s movie is Batman; but with more everyman awesome.
One of the biggest issues with Gotham is the often breakneck speed of the storylines. Everything moves along so quickly that one must either keep up or get crushed underneath the wheels. Every scene and every character needs to have an immediate impact or it just does not work. Nygma, Dr. Thompkins, Falcone; these are the characters that make every appearance a glorious one. Fish, Barbara, even Penguin, these are the characters that have a harder time landing their moments. Fish suffers the most from the mad-rush pace, never staying in one place for longer than a couple scenes at most. Good, bad, torture, capture, escape; nothing ever sticks with Fish Mooney. Her methods are based less on cunning and more on everyone apparently losing brain cells when dealing with her. It’s as if she is simply immune to genuine struggle.
With 7 episodes to go, word is circulating that Gotham will see the Joker before this season’s end. Next week’s preview seems to confirm it’s beginning. The question will be, what kind of storyline is it? A possible Joker character was introduced in the very first episodes. A fumbling stand-up comic at Fish’s club, who has not been seen since. The preview showcases a more traditional Joker character, a convicted loony with a goofy grin, maniacal laugh, and no qualms about hurting others for his mad games. This is a questionable choice, but one that must be seen through before judgements can be made.
Episode Score: 8.0