TV Review: Gotham - Season 1 Episode 14 "The Fearsome Dr. Crane"

Episode 14: "The Fearsome Dr. Crane"

Synopsis: Fish Mooney reveals a secret of Oswald Cobblepot's, prompting Maroni to take him on a trip to test his loyalty. Meanwhile, Gordon and Bullock hunt down a killer who targets victims with severe phobias and Bruce Wayne confronts Gordon for failing to make progress on his parents' murder case

Recap: Fourteen episodes into GOTHAM's debut season and we have met quite a large number of foes, minor and major, from the world of Batman.  While I still find the original character of Fish Mooney and her connection to the Gotham underworld to be the most interesting aspect of this DC Comics inspired series, the show has done a nice job of developing Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot into worthy versions of The Riddler and The Penguin.  Tonight, the show tries to give us a new take on the villainous Scarecrow.

The episode opens with a very comic book teaser.  A mysterious man (Julian Sands) ties a man to a chair with a noose around his neck.  Checking his vitals, he pushes him to his death.  The next morning, Harvey Bullock is on the scene where he is informed by Nygma (via a riddle, of course) that the victim had something surgically removed post-mortem.  Nygma mentions that he needs to examine the body but Captain Essen cuts him off, citing formal complaints from the medical examiner in regards to Nygma's eargerness to perform autopsies.  This little tidbit is a very intriguing development for Nygma, a character who has begun to grow on me despite starting the season as one of my least favorite interpretations.

Gordon, taking care of some personal business, returns to Barbara Kean's penthouse.  Investigating who may have been there, Gordon finds Selina Kyle who admits to have been using the place and hasn't seen Barbara.  Gordon learns from Selina, just as she escapes off the balcony, that she told Bruce Wayne she lied about seeing his parents murderer.  Gordon takes a trip out to Wayne Manor where Bruce releases the detective from his promise to find the Waynes' killer.  Gordon seems adamant he will not give up, but I really wish he would.  This Batman origin story seems to be better off without Batman at this point.

The Penguin's storyline takes him outside of Gotham this week as Fish Mooney makes an impromptu call to Sal Maroni, advising him that Penguin is truly working for Falcone.  Maroni, skeptical since Penguin slipped up a few episodes back, decides to take him upstate with no warning to test whether Fish is being honest.  Penguin awakens after a long drive to find himself in the middle of the country at a cabin where Maroni makes a meal and questions Cobblepot about the Indian Hill land trade, the death of henchman Nicolai, and other questionable elements from their past.  Penguin doesn't flinch but he definitely senses something is off.

Back at the GCPD, Bullock meets Scottie Mullen, the sponsor for the hanging victim.  Turns out that the victim was in a support group for people with phobias, his coincidentally a fear of heights.  Bullock definitely shines in his scenes here with cute Mullen who doesn't cave under the cop's flirting and half agrees to dinner with him.  Gordon arrives with the news the victim was tied to a chair from a defunct company in The Narrows and Bullock jumps at the weak lead, determined to solve the case for Mullen.

Next time we see the mysterious killer, he is approaching a man on the sidewalk while holding a miniature pig.  The man, terrified of the pig, turns to run but is taken down by a thug with a tazer and loaded into the back of a van.  LIke any good comic book adaptation, GOTHAM does not shy away from the use of nameless henchmen for the bad guys.

Despite warnings, Edward Nygma decides he just needs to perform an autopsy but is caught red-handed, literally, by the medical examiner and Captain Essen.  Essen, without any choice, suspends Nygma from the GCPD.  Nygma weakly says he found something, but no one is left to hear him.  Nygma goes to Ms. Kringle to tell her he has been suspended and finds her crying but she does not tell him why.  He returns a pencil he borrowed from her, now just a nub.  I like the budding relationship between these two as it feels more organic and realistic than either of Jim Gordon's love interests.  Nygma later sneaks back into the GCPD and picks a lock. When the medical examiner arrives, he finds his locker full of severed limbs

At the abandoned factory, Bullock and Gordon discuss their love lives.  Bullock warns Gordon not to screw things up with Dr..Thompkins when they suddenly hear a scream.  Guns drawn, they find a man tied to a chair, gagged, surrounded by pigs.  There is also a man in a butcher's apron, wielding a knife and wearing a pig mask who lunges at the detectives who shoot him.  Turns out the man in the chair was a part of the same phobia support group but the masked man is unknown.  Bullock quickly tries to write off the guy in the pig mask as working alone so he can give Scottie Mullen good news, but of course Gordon thinks there is more to it.  Essen warns Gordon to let the case go since the arrest of Flass has shaken things up.

Back with Maroni, Penguin looks for possible escape routes in case he needs a quick getaway.  Maroni returns and tells Penguin they need to find a real trust between them if they are to keep working closely.  Maroni admits they are not at the cabin to meet a guy while Penguin says he has no secrets from Maroni aside from not liking oatmeal.  Maroni next reveals Fish Mooney is alive and that Penguin has been working fo Falcone.  Penguin pulls out Maroni's gun and points it at the mob boss who says he treated Cobblepot like a friend.  Pennguin cocks the gun but Maroni says it is loaded with blanks.   Penguin unloads the gun and finds Maroni was tellling the truth before being promptly knocked out.

Gordon, taking Bullock and Essen's advice, meets Leslie Thompkins at a restaurant for a date.  Gordon then launches into the questions he couldn't ask the suspended Nygma about the latest victim.  Thompkins assumed the meeting was for a date and not professional advice to which Gordon stumbles that he hasn't dated in a long time.  Or, as I like to think, there is very little chemistry to be found from the writers when it comes to their main character.   Thankfully, Gordon is called away and leaves Thompkins with a little kiss.  He then calls Bullock to let him know the second victim awoke to say he was taken by two men meaning one is still at large.

At the phobia support group, Bullock admits to Scottie that he is scared all the time and would be willing to share with the group.  He seems honest here but you can never tell with Bullock.  As he gets a cup of coffee, Bullock meets the mysterious killer who says he is a regular at the group. Bullock shares his fears of dying slowly and alone in a gutter.  The killer, we now learn is named Todd, shares in the group that he has a fear of failure.   He says he is afraid he got it from his father and that he may pass it on to his son.  He shares that he came across his son crying and is then overcome with emotion and leaves the room.  After Scottie and Todd are gone for a while, Bullock puts two and two together and goes after them.

Based on her earlier admission to being afraid of swimming pools, Bullock tracks down a possible abandoned pool Todd may have taken Scottie to.  His son Jonathan (the future Scarecrow) arrives and seems a little upset at his father's actions.  But, the senior Crane says this is for the greater good, as they discussed, and sends his son back out to feed the parking meter.  Crane then prepares to drown Scottie and pushes her into the pool.  Bullock and Gordon arrive and exchange shots with Crane.  Gordon goes after Todd while Bullock dives in to rescue Scottie.  Bullock saves Scottie with CPR but Gordon is unable to aprehend Crane.

At a junkyard, Maroni tells Penguin he is going to crush him to death in an abandoned car and send the remains to Falcone as a coffee table which prompts Penguin to beg for his life.  Penguin offers to learn more about Indian Hill for Maroni, but the boss has lost faith and puts the whimpering Penguin in the crusher.  Making a frantic cell call to Maroni, Penguin shares that whoever controls Arkham controls Gotham but Maroni hangs up.  As the car crushes, Penguin calls the crusher operator and threatens him with all the power of Don Falcone.  How Penguin got the guy's number is a mystery but it works and distracts Maroni enough for Penguin to escape.  Penguin is later found by a church bus asleep in leaves on the side of the road who then offer to give him a ride back to Gotham.

At episode's close, Thompkins returns with Gordon's file and reveals the victim had his adrenal glands removed.  With no value on the black market, the two are puzzled why the gland responsible for fear would have been removed.  Thompkins says it must have been a doctor and Gordon suggests she take the vacant medical examiner position as theirs was fired for stealing body parts.  Oh, that Edward Nygma!  What a scamp!  Gordon asks Thompkins out again, much more successfully than before.  Nygma, reinstated, excitedly tells Ms. Kringle he is back.  She doesn't react, to Edward's disdain, but then tells him he owes her a new pencil, putting a smile on his creepy ass face.

Aboard a ship leaving Gotham's harbor, Fish is informed by the captain if she needs anything to let him know.  Later, we find Fish asleep and there is the sound of gunfire.  The captain is killed and Fish is confronted by an armed man.  The two growl and run at each other like animals as the episode cuts to the end title.

Review: What a shame that GOTHAM has introduced yet another villain that we can expect to be gone by next week.  After the two part Electrocutioner episode, I have no faith that the show will keep Dr. Crane on for more than one more episode especially with next week's teaser looking to have Crane inject his son with the fear serum.  The main Gordon storyline this week was pretty weak with the show once again shoving in a Bruce Wayne scene, a Selina Kyle scene, and a Fish Mooney scene where they don't really belong.

But, the show did do a great job with the Penguin and Edward Nygma story arcs.  Next week appears to be the introduction of the two characters but who knows what that will amount to.  GOTHAM continues to tout each episode as event television only to have it delivered with a whimper.  The Falcone/Maroni war is still by far the most intriguing element of the show with Penguin's duplicitious story the most entertaining.  Edward Nygma's increased screen time has also been a welcome and surprise improvement in the recent batch of episodes.  I am actually beginning to think that GOTHAM may work better with no Gordon, Bullock, or GCPD storylines at all.

Despite an improved overall episode this week, story-wise, I am knocking the score down slightly due to the completely awful romantic stylings of Jim Gordon.  I am still baffled at the sheer lack of charisma Ben McKenzie has shown on this show and almost wish he would get killed off, allowing Donal Logue to take the spotlight each week.

Final Verdict:

Next Episode: "The Scarecrow" airs February 9th: Gordon and Bullock set out to stop Gerald Crane, a biology teacher who has been harvesting the glands of his murder victims. Meanwhile, after finding herself in an unusual setting, Mooney continues plotting to gain power, and Falcone attempts to change Maroni’s plan for the Penguin. Then, Bruce takes a treacherous hike.

Source: JoBlo.com



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