Gotham Episode 21: The Anvil or the Hammer Review

Season One of Gotham is almost over. After this episode, just one remains. Yet Gotham still has a lot of plot points and character arcs to wrap up in the space of a single forty minute episode. There’s Bruce’s investigation into Wayne Enterprises, Fish Mooney’s return to Gotham, Penguin’s quest for power and Nygma’s still has a dead body to dispose of. Not to mention, The Ogre case still has yet to reach its end. Will it play into the finale or end here? Resolving all these conflicts in such a short time is no simple undertaking. Are Gotham’s writers up to the task? Or will we be left woefully dissatisfied? Let’s find out!

This episode marked the end of The Ogre arc just in time for the Season One finale and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I liked the much more threatening nature of the villain. He wasn’t just some small, seemingly dangerous criminal who was caught and never heard from again within the space of a forty-minute episode. The Ogre was rich, powerful and overpoweringly menacing, managing to evade Gordon and Bullock for a total of three episodes. Not only that, but he forced Jim to take actions massively darker than what he’s usually willing to resort to. For the first time, we got to see Gordon crack; beating up a pimp he was interrogating, threatening Penguin and eventually shooting The Ogre without a second thought. His actions throughout the past three episodes, but especially this one, are hugely uncharacteristic for him. And with Penguin’s recent actions, it looks like it is going to be a while before Gordon manages to rise out of the darkness he’s up to his neck in.

On the other hand, however, Barbara. I’ve already ranted about her several times already but in this episode, she’s at her absolute worst. After being tortured throughout most of the episode, Barbara tells The Ogre to kill her own parentsĀ to save her own skin. Why did she have to pick her parents? The Ogre asks her who she wants him to kill so why didn’t she just say Jim Gordon as he was prepped for a conflict with The Ogre anyway. She seems quite disturbed at her parents’ deaths and then completely disappears at the end of the episode. Jim saves her and suddenly she’s gone. No talk with Barbara or anything, he just saves her and that’s it. Talk about a character just being a plot device. As well as that, The Ogre didn’t really go out with a bang or have a dramatic death. Harvey surprises him and Jim shoots him in the head while he’s distracted. For how much focus he, and this whole arc got, the payoff was massively disappointing.

As you can probably guess by the featured image, Nygma was a highlight of this episode for me. I’ve got over his sudden descent into madness in the last episode and now I’m just happy watching him continue to be a socially awkward scientist who also just so happens to be a murderer. Ed’s job in the GCPD is the medical examination of dead bodies for clues, so it only makes sense he knows a thing or two about disposing them. It was gruesome, yet also sort of funny when Kringle came in, saw the dead body and was completely unaware that it was her boyfriend, thinking it was just another corpse assigned to Ed to be investigated. Although I did wince a little at Ed bashing Officer Dougherty’s skull in, you have to admit, he was kind of an asshole. There are better people Nygma could of murdered.

After the fairly carefree previous episode arc for Bruce, he is faced with the consequences of his actions, or lack thereof. Firstly, after tripping a fire alarm and attempting to get some secrets out of Bunderslaw’s safe, he is caught red-handed and soon finds out Bunderslaw anticipated Bruce doing this. He tries to persuade Bruce to stop trying to find incriminating evidence on Wayne Enterprises and tells him that his father ceased trying to stop them after a while. After, he is taken out by none other than Lucius Fox! Lucius then tells Bruce that his father was a good man but he kept his best parts hidden. This doesn’t stop Bruce from getting angry at his father and eventually telling Alfred that he and Selina killed Reggie. Not that it matters. Alfred is surprisingly fine with the fact that Bruce assisted Selina in a murder and even tries to reassure him about his father. Alfred is a cool and tolerant character but even I didn’t expect him to have little to no reaction to this revelation. If Reggie’s death wasn’t bad enough, he know seems to be a trivial, almost pointless character which is sad because I really liked him in the few scenes he got.

Overall, the penultimate episode of Gotham did a decent job setting everything up for the finale. Penguin double-crossed some assassins and used them to set off a war between Maroni and Falcone in a shocking turn of events. The Ogre is now dead leaving Gordon and Bullock to focus their attention on this gang war; honestly, I’m glad The Ogre isn’t going to play a part in the final episode of Season One. Barbara is safe, unfortunately, and Nygma is descending into madness. All the chips are down and the stakes are the highest they can be. There’s just one question, lounging in the back of everyone’s minds. Where the hell is Fish Mooney?


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