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Gotham: The Anvil or the Hammer – Episode 21

The penultimate episode of season 1 wraps up the Ogre storyline and sees the Penguin finally make his move.

Recap

Turns out that Barbara really was into Jason. She spends the night with him and is ready to write it off as a one-night stand. When Jason reveals that he was planning to kill Barbara, she realizes the mistake she made but is subdued by force. In his own psychotic way, he insists that he’s in love with Barbara and is determined to win her over in his own way. He’s convinced that she’s a monster like him and she’s convinced that he’s crazy. After chaining her up in his torture chamber for a while, he tries to convince her that what he’s doing is to bring out the real her. The Ogre wants Barbara to tell him who to kill. She resits at first but, in the end, sicks the Ogre on her parents. Gordon is on a rampage trying to get to the Ogre now that he knows Barbara is in danger. Despite Leslie and Bullock warning him to take it down a couple of notches and rest, Gordon won’t stop until he gets a lead. Gordon beats up a low level thug and threatens the Penguin to get a lead on a brothel that the Ogre was known to frequent. That lead ends up sending Harvey into the Foxglove. It’s a particularly weird kind of brothel that seems to be a lot, even for him. After shutting down some kind of show that seemed to involve farm animals and power tools, they’re able to get the Ogre’s location.

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Back in Bruce Wayne world, Alfred is taking the death of his friend Reggie, pretty hard and is preoccupied with handling the funeral arrangements. The distraction gives Bruce the opportunity to continue investigating Wayne Enterprises. Selina sends him the key to Bunderslaw’s safe and he heads to Wayne Enterprises alone to try to find the evidence he needs. He gets into Bunderslaw’s office, but the executive knew that his key had been lifted and had been waiting for Bruce to show up. Bunderslaw admits to Bruce that the company is knee deep in illegal activity and that his father knew about it. He introduces him to Lucius Fox, who escorts Bruce out. Before putting him in the elevator, Lucius tells Bruce that his father hid his true self from other people. The cryptic message just suggests to Bruce that he has to keep digging in order to find out how his father was really handling what was going on at Wayne Enterprises. When Alfred gets back, Bruce comes clean about everything that’s happened up until now.

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Bullock and Gordon arrive at her parents place to find the Keanes dead and Barbara covered in their blood. The Ogre ambushes the detectives and gets the drop on Bullock. A struggle ensues and Gordon’s able to wound the Ogre which causes him to use Barbara as a shield. The Ogre and Gordon have a standoff with Jason threatening Barbara’s life. Barbara actually tells Gordon to just leave them alone. It’s clear that she’s pretty much lost it at this point, thanks to the Ogre working her over. Bullock gets the drop on the Ogre, which gives Gordon the chance to shoot the Ogre in the head. Barbara is safe but seems to be more concerned about whether or not Jason is dead. We don’t really see what happens with Barbara because Gordon rushes back to the precinct and into Leslie’s arms. They can’t relax too long though, because the chief has just gotten word of an all out shooting war between Maroni and Falcone. Aside from being threatened by Gordon, the Penguin was working on enacting his plan to “kill” Maroni. He sent Falcone’s hitmen to a bar that Maroni will be at but he sabotaged their guns. Maroni kills the guys to send a message to Falcone and then starts shooting up Falcone’s turf. Turns out that the Penguin’s idea was to enrage Maroni and have him and Falcone take each other out. His plan works and Maroni starts an all out war against Falcone, which is going to put the GCPD right in the thick of things.

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Other Stuff

  • Bruce: “Wayne Enterprises is committing serious crimes.”
    Bunderslaw: “Oh my, yes!”
    Gotta love it when someone’s so dedicated to doing the wrong thing.
  • Edward has gone all Dexter Morgan on agent Dougherty’s body. In order to cover up the kill, he’s disassembled the body and brought it into the office in a suitcase of full of bloody bags. He disposes of the body and sends Ms. Kringle a dismissive “dear john” letter from Dougherty. The letter is also a puzzle that lets her know who the letter is really from.

    Gotham-s1e21-nygma-breaking-bad-kill-suit Gotham-s1e21-nygma-letter-riddle

Commentary

You know what, just let Barbara die already. I can’t believe how arrogant/stupid that character can be. I was actually kind of hoping that she was going to willingly go with the Ogre because that would’ve made her more interesting. Instead, she was completely clueless that all his talk about inner demons was something deeper than just having boyfriend or mommy/daddy issues. Maybe if she’d paid attention she would’ve realized that she should’ve been afraid of him earlier. I just goes to show how shallow she really is, even when she thinks she’s having some kind of existential quandry. Now we’ve got a shell shocked Barbara floating around who’s just going to serve to make things more complicated for Gordon in the future. This episode also explains why there was a random scene with Barbara’s home during an earlier episode. It’s because the show needed to establish that they were bad people before killing them off.

I give the show credit for having someone besides Leslie for the Ogre to go after and I enjoy any chance to see Jim Gordon go on a rampage in his pseudo-Batman voice. It’s just that featuring Barbara in this season of the show has been a big negative for me. She’s the damsel in distress that I don’t want to see saved. I would’ve much rather seen more about this gang war between Maroni and Falcone. The first 1/3 of the season did so much to make it look like there was going to be this epic gang war but that story line has been buried for most of the back half of the season. Now, it’s suddenly going to be thrust back front-and-center at the end of the season. Better late than never I guess. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the return of Fish Mooney before this all wraps up. I’d hate for the season to end with her flying off bleeding in a helicopter and being left as a loose end.

Maybe it’s because of the Barbara thing, but I didn’t mind Bruce Wayne in this episode. There’s not very much suspense in his story because we know how it will ultimately turn out. It’s just a matter of who he has to take down on his way to the top. Still, I really liked Bunderslaw’s matter-of-fact admission that the company was performing illegal acts. The fact that Bruce now believes that his father and grandfather were complicit in these acts was a nice little twist. Then there was the addition of a young Lucius Fox to the show. I was a little surprised that they went with him being an apparent cohort of Thomas Wayne, but it doesn’t hurt to give that character something to do in the show. Like Dr. Thompkins and Gordon, Fox becomes a major supporter of Batman in his adult life.

Aside from the gang war, I think the most interesting thing going on in the show right now is the descent of Edward Nygma. A lot of my thoughts about the path he would take to become the Riddler seem to have been off base. I thought that he was going to turn into a villain all at once, but it seems like he’s going to descend more slowly. I thought that rejection would be the thing that opened the door to his dark side but it was actually chivalry. The note that he left for Ms. Kringle was great. Those carefully crafted signatures are a big trademark of most variations of the Riddler and they’re just fun little reveals as well. Now it is clear that there’s something already a little off about Nygma, but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to him the farther he falls. Ms. Kringle had better watch out unless she’s going to become an associate of the Riddler.

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