Episode 19: “Beasts of Prey”
Fish plots her escape, Gordon takes a dangerous unsolved case.
Gotham has been on hiatus for well over a month, meaning much has changed since the last review. IN an AMA, Ben McKenzie explained that the reasoning for the break is due to the long process necessary for post-production, editing, and the visual effects. This should be taken less as an excuse and more as a promise of fantastic things to come.
Jada Pinkett Smith has announced she will not be returning for Season 2, meaning the end of Fish Mooney is most likely nigh. It’s a shame considering she’s been on a high note in recent episodes (relatively speaking), but frequent readers know I’ve been waiting for her to die for quite some time. Ending her character arc on a high note is probably the best thing that can be done.
A month wouldn’t be considered a long time, but in TV time it can seem like ages. Especially in these days of rampant binge-watching; a month’s time can mean shifting through half a dozen TV programs from start to finish. The question is whether Gotham will be able to grab and thrill the way it was before right out of the gate. From this episode alone, it’s hard to say. As with many, it’s filled with high notes and little details; including Penguin’s little job and a wonderfully fierce performance by Barbara Rosenblat (almost unrecognizable from her last appearance on Orange is the New Black). Yet there remain stretches of time that feel like more could have been done.
Fish Mooney is back to her old tricks; that being fooling people who should see right through her. It should be so simple. Fish promises secondary characters one thing, and then she breaks that promise. It’s like watching a character voluntarily walk into the woods alone during a horror movie to take a leak. There can be no killer introduced, no motivation, and no reason for it to happen, but the moment you see it, you just know it’s going to happen. This episode does feature a couple genuine surprises, though. Foremost being Fish being shot in that most universal of ways. A gut shot that may be mortal, may be fixable, or may be shrugged off, all depending on what the writers want to do with the character.
Then there’s Gordon’s newest case. Rather than taking one out of the DC books, this week’s villain, “The Ogre”, borrows more from Christian Grey of 50 Shades of Grey. Rich, handsome, intense, eerily seductive, controlling; mix in Gotham’s touch of darkness and you have one extreme creep. Or, if you prefer, an ogre. Watching these flashbacks is undoubtedly disturbing and unsettling, certainly not the type of material to bring in new audience members for Gotham’s final episodes. That the episode leaves one wanting more, specifically more involvement from Gordon, says a lot for Ben McKenzie’s magnetism as TV coolest cop.
With only three episodes left, loose ends need to be tied up. The Joker arc re-addressed and further explored. Penguin’s move prepared or put in action. This is not the beginning of the end, but only the beginning of an end. The actual beginning of the end is still to come.
Episode Score: 8.0