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Gotham: Under the Knife – Episode 20

Turns out the Ogre wasn’t a one-off villain. He’s back in this episode and seems like he’ll be in at least one more.

Recap

After the last few episodes, the characters in Gotham are starting to take action in their individual story arcs. Most of these actions seem pretty minor based on what’s likely to come, but a couple of them will probably have larger implications. Despite silencing Reggie, Bruce and Selina are still knee deep in this Wayne Enterprises mystery. They know that Sid Bunderslaw is out to get them, but they need to know exactly why. Bruce suggests that they break into his company safe to see if anything’s in there. In typical Bruce Wayne fashion, the way to get to that safe involves getting dressed up and going to a charity ball. Admittedly, this leads to a few cute moments with Selina getting dressed up like a girl and Bruce seeing her dolled up for the first time. Bruce also finally admits to Alfred that he might have a thing for Selina when he’s trying to convince him to let them go in alone. In between the cute moments, most of their time is spent arguing about whether or not killing Reggie was necessary or the right thing to do. Bruce is forming his code of not killing people while Selina is sticking to her philosophy that he was too chicken to do what was necessary. Other than arguing about killing a man within earshot of everyone at the ball, they don’t really accomplish much in the way of getting incriminating information on Bunderslaw. Selina steals his safe key and makes a print of it, but they don’t do anything with it just yet.

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Gordon is making headway in his investigation into the Ogre. Having figured out that the Ogre will likely target Leslie, he rushes to her house to make sure she’s safe. In contrast to his earlier behavior, he’s completely upfront with Leslie about what’s going on and the fact that she’s in danger. Understanding all that, she encourages Gordon to continue his investigation despite the danger. The Ogre finds out that Jim is on his trail when he visits a plastic surgeon that another detective had linked the Ogre to. That prompts him to send Jim a warning by trying to hit him with a car and then calling to tell him to stop. Jim responds by having a press conference to let everyone, including the Ogre know, that he’s coming after him. Jim does all of this with Leslie’s approval, because she’s awesome. The investigation uncovers a lot of background information about Jason (aka the Ogre). Jason grew up thinking that he’s the son of an prominent Gotham family that’s wealthy with old money. However, he was born deformed and grew up used to people being afraid of the real him. His parents also seemed like they were a bit looney, but I guess that’s to be expected when you raise a kid who turns out that way. His father allowed the rich woman to pretend to be his mother. When Jason confronted her about it, she laughed at him; so Jason killed her. Now the Ogre’s constantly searching for “the one” who can love the real him. To help him with that, he went to a plastic surgeon to have his face reconstructed.

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He’s also very good at keeping his word. Before making contact with Jim, he had already found Barbara. Based on a newspaper article with an old photo, he believed that she was still Gordon’s girlfriend. Before he can do anything, she reveals that she’s alone. More importantly, Barbara makes Jason feel like she might be the one for him. She says that people run screaming when they see the real her, the exact emotion that the Ogre feels. He ends up leaving Barbara alone, but he becomes fascinated with her and crashes the Wayne charity ball to see her again. He tells Barbara that she’s like him and that he can help her become a new person. Granted, he doesn’t give her all the details. They head back to his place where he lets Barbara freely walk in to his 50 Shades of Grey style torture chamber before walking in to stand beside her. Around this time, Gordon realizes that the Ogre doesn’t realize that he’s with Leslie now and that the Ogre might’ve gone after Barbara. He races to the loft where he finds Selina. When he shows her a sketch of the Ogre’s new face, Selina confirms that she saw Barbara leave the ball with a guy who looked like that.

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The best part of this episode was Edward Nygma. First we see him stabbing a bunch of watermelons psycho-style, as a sight gag. He goes to bring Ms. Kringle some of the stabbed watermelon but walks in on her with officer Dougherty, her boyfriend. When he gets closer to Ms. Kringle he sees that she’s got bruises on her. Realizing that Dougherty has been beating her, Nygma goes to confront him. After listening to a riddle about love, Dougherty basically blows off the “Riddle Man”, as he calls him. He gives some stereotypical chauvinist reasoning about women needing a firm hand and goes about his day. Later that night, Nygma confronts Dougherty at home. When Dougherty realizes that Nygma’s got a thing for Kringle he decides that he’s got to beat him up. In self-defense, Nygma stabs Dougherty with a knife. After the initial stab, he goes to work on Dougherty like he’s one of the watermelons from earlier in the episode. With Dougherty lying in the street, Nygma just keeps repeating the phrase “oh dear” and runs off with the bloody knife still in his hand.

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Other Stuff

  • Selina pulls a knife on a guy to protect Bruce; because killing one guy for him wasn’t enough.
  • Selina: “Everyone’s staring at us.”
    Bruce: “Well, I am Bruce Wayne.”
  • There’s a great Tim Burton style musical cue that happens when they show Jason’s real face on screen for the first time.
  • After the Penguin tries to hire men to kill Maroni, Maroni gets close to the Penguin’s mother. Maroni lets the old woman know that her son is actually a violent criminal and not just a club owner. The revelation sends her into shock and Penguin promises Maroni will pay for it. Later, Penguin reassures his mother that he’s just a club owner. Maroni sends flowers to her to mock Penguin, but the Penguin ends up killing the messenger…literally.
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Commentary

This is the most that I’ve ever liked Barbara in an episode. I think she plays much better off of the Ogre than she does off of Jim. That’s just from a chemistry standpoint. I’m still not sure if she’s completely on board with what the Ogre is doing. Especially because he hasn’t actually explained the extent of what he does to her. At this point she seems down for whatever. The only other explanation I can think of is that, after seeing that torture room she thought, “don’t do anything that might set this guy off before you can get out of here”. I’m kind of hoping that she’s going to maybe become an accomplice of the Ogre. If I’m being honest, it’s because I don’t like her character and I’d rather see her as a villain than a foil, but that’s just me being greedy. I liked the way they played this episode, with Gordon racing to catch up to the Ogre, while the Ogre was making a discovery of his own. The middle-end of the episode had some especially good musical cues that played whenever something was revealed. Not just in this story line, but the others as well.

I did think that Nygma’s story, while short, was the best part of the episode. His quirky behavior is always a lighter moment for the episodes, so I thought it was interesting how they had him try to go a little darker here. They softened the blow a bit by using certain effects in his scenes. Actually several things about the way that those scenes were shot and scored reminded me of the earlier Tim Burton Batman movies. Like the lightning flash effects that were going off when Nygma and Dougherty were in the alley. Nygma’s just such a campy character, it makes perfect sense to shoot his scenes that way.

I didn’t care as much for the Bruce/Selina or the Penguin/Maroni scenes. Not because they were bad, just because they didn’t have as much going on. There were some cute moments with Bruce and Selina but those two become a bit tiresome when they become avatars for their character’s ideologies. The argument of “never kill” vs. “do what it takes to survive” is a central theme of the Batman mythos. I don’t think that we need to continue to drive it home by having two kids arguing about it. It makes even less sense for them to keep yelling at each other about killing a man while they’re clearly within earshot of other people. Especially after Bruce points out that it’s normal for people to pay attention to him. The Penguin story is something that no one was paying attention to. The end result of that is just the Penguin being mad, but he already wanted to kill Maroni when the episode started. So, it’s not like anything really changed there. That part of the episode just confirmed that the Penguin’s mother is a bit of a loon and a weak spot for Cobblepot.

 

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