Saturday, 11 July 2015

Gotham Episode 21 'The Anvil or The Hammer' Review,

With Barbara at the mercy of The Ogre, Gordon and Bullock find themselves racing against the clock to catch him before it’s too late. Meanwhile the Penguin triggers a gang war and Bruce learns some hard truths about his family.

So, much of the episode focusses on The Ogre and Barbara’s blossoming ‘relationship’. The Ogre is convinced that Barbara is his soulmate and is desperate for her to understand that. What puts Barbara aside from the other women he killed is that she is just as mentally disturbed as he is, she understands him. Now ‘Gotham’ really runs with this idea but forgets that recreational drug use and being a bisexual are not quite the same as being a serial killer.

Both actors are good, Milo Ventimiglia in particular shines, but Barbara really isn’t a disturbed enough character for this plot to work. This is a real shame because the execution is really well handled. Barbara being forced to choose The Ogre’s next victim is a really dark idea and one that ‘Gotham’ is brave to see through to its conclusion. At least Barbara legitimately has an excuse to be crazy now. I’m curious if ‘Gotham’ has the nerve to make her a villain?

On the subject of villain origins, we get some good moments with both The Penguin and Nygma this episode. At first it would seem ridiculous that Edward uses the GCPD to dispose of a dead body but it makes a lot of sense for the character. Edward has been established as a man who hides in plain sight, using a police autopsy room to dispose of a body is just an extension of his riddle-like nature. Although it is a fundamental issue that Nygma is playing the GCPD as idiots. It makes it hard to take them seriously when even the show acknowledges they don’t have a clue.

The penguin is also back to his scheming ways, as he successfully starts a gang war between Falcone and Maroni. It’s nice to see the Penguin manipulating those around him again, although by now you would think they’d suspect him from the start.

The moments with Bruce don’t entirely work for me. Bruce seems increasingly like a source for exposition dumps. He exists purely for characters to explain evil schemes to, as they might to Batman. But with Bruce not being Batman, all he can do is pout and leave the room dramatically. He then takes whatever information he was told to Alfred who responds “I see!” or “Did he/she now?”. Hopefully season 2 will develop Bruce further and have him become a bit more dynamic. Either that or they cut out the middle man and just make Alfred talk to the bad guys instead, save himself some time. At least that way he wouldn’t be dealing with second hand information via Chinese whispers either.
"Mr Bruce told me what you said about his parents, purple monkey dishwasher"
So this episode was fairly strong. It had issues, such as Barbara’s somewhat undeveloped mental health problems and the GCPD being its usual comically incompetent self, but was overall an enjoyable watch. ‘Gotham’ has always been at its strongest when dealing more with the gangs of Gotham City and not so much the Psychopaths. With a gang war erupting in the city, the finale promises to be a bit more ‘Gotham’ and a little less ‘True Detective’, we shall see.

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