GOTHAM Recap: “Beasts of Prey”

     April 13, 2015

gotham-recap

Fish Mooney, the one main character not pulled from Batman lore, has somehow ended up as the most interesting player in the series, a testament to the fact that Gotham has lost its bearings. In this hour, Fish pretends to be pleased with her new appointment as Dr. Dulmacher’s assistant, but she soon makes an escape attempt and runs afoul of a steely-eyed hunter who escorts her back inside at the barrel of a gun. Undeterred, she enlists help from her associates in the prison basement, with a plan to  get them all out via boat (or perhaps that nifty helicopter that’s parked just outside the gates). While attempting to snag the keys from the doctor’s office, Dulmacher himself walks in on her. Disappointed in her dishonesty, he holds her at gunpoint until she tearfully confesses her fear of the doctor’s stitched-together creation, and her greater concern that he’ll make her into one of his dolls.

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Image via Fox

These fears aren’t enough to keep her from making a break for it, or rather using some of the prisoners as a diversion while she attempts to let the rest of the inmates out of their cage. Dulmacher arrives in time to interfere, but the inmates take him down instead. Topside, the team of hunters arrive and follow the escapees on their way to the boat. In true Fish fashion, her diversion group is now trapped between a locked gate and heavily armed men, while she escorts the others to the helicopter. Though she gets the bird airborne, she takes a rifle shot to the stomach before putting a safe distance between herself and the island. Will Fish flop in the water? Will this bird fly the coop? Tune in next time, same Bat-time…wait, wrong show.

Gordon’s Quest

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Image via Fox

Bruce is congratulating Gordon about his new position as President of the Police Union, but Jim isn’t interested in celebrating. He accuses Bruce and Alfred of lying about who put the caretaker in the hospital, then warns the lad not to get caught up in Alfred’s quest for vengeance. That’s all, just stopped by for a glass of fizzy water and a PSA. Now back to policing!

Back at HQ, a bright and shiny young officer named Len Moore brings a worthy case to Gordon’s attention. His story is that he and his fellow squeaky-clean brothers-in-arms look up to the straight-arrow and hope that they can help him brighten up the city. Gordon takes on the cold homicide case of Grace Fairchild, and brings it to Dr. Thompkins’ attention. He also runs the case by Bullock (with a little bonus help from Nygma), who reluctantly agrees to help him out.

They hit a few of the local watering holes frequented by their brutal killer and get a hit at their first stop. A bartender remembers the dead girl and her hot date (Milo Ventimiglia), which dovetails nicely into a flashback featuring the two of them on a date, which follows below:

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Image via Fox

Turns out that this murderous guy with a handsome face is just looking for love, which we totally believe, right? Though we see the two of them entering his swanky, upscale apartment, we leave the flashback before anything murderous can happen. Cut to the morning after the young lovers’ date. When Grace tries to leave, Jason turns ugly and holds her against her will. They try to have a nice dinner together, but Grace can’t keep up with Jason’s impossible standards. When she inevitably disappoints him, he preps her for his own particular brand of torture and murder.

In the present, the body of Grace Fairchild is wheeled out, but her wounds don’t match their current explanation of her death. Gordon theorizes that her killer kept her prisoner until he was ready to end her life. Nygma digs up a piece of evidence that triggers Bullock’s memory of a serial killer. This nasty piece of work was known for brutally going after any cop (along with his friends and family) who had the nerve to investigate him. It’s at this point that Gordon figures out that perhaps the ambitious young officer wasn’t exactly what he claimed to be.

After a bit of roughing up, Moore admits that Loeb put him up to it and intentionally brought the case to Gordon in order to remove him as a thorn in the Commissioner’s side. Bullock tries to convince Gordon to just drop the case and let the Ogre go. In true fashion of his character’s arc so far, Gordon sticks to his guns and commits to not only hunting down the Ogre, but also makes a very public announcement that he’s going after Loeb at the same time. And thus, your setup for the final few episodes.

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Image via Fox

Wayne’s Coming of Age

Alfred’s looking pretty well considering his current health. He still plans to go after Reggie, and Bruce is pretty adamant that he’s coming along. All well and good until Alfred tears his stitches open and starts bleeding from the belly. Bruce takes it upon himself to track Reggie down, and starts by visiting a local gun range (and nearly gets spotted by the Penguin). Back outside in an alley in a rundown section of the already rundown town, Cat quite literally drops in on Bruce. She quickly schools him in the differences between a gun range and a shooting gallery (Hint: the latter is a drug pun), and leads him off in search of Reggie.

They find him squatting in an abandoned factory building and Bruce interrogates him. Reggie inquires about Alfred, but it’s hard to tell if he’s sincere or if he only cares about getting his “medicine” back. Reggie gives up a couple of names of the people who wanted to scare Bruce, and begs him to let Alfred handle them. When Cat tosses his medicine out the window, Reggie threatens to tell this “Mr. Bunderslaugh” that Bruce is on to him. But when Reggie reaches for his meds on the ledge, Bruce nearly pushes him to his death, and when he restrains himself from committing murder, Cat does it for him instead.

Penguin’s Rise to Power

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Image via Fox

The up-and-coming mob boss is negotiating with a local bar owner (and mother of one of his heavies) to sell him her establishment, though she can stay on as the face. She’s not interested, but she wants Penguin to rescue her niece from the clutches of a seedy guitar player. Always one to help a lady out, Penguin and his goon find the crooner, who ends up shackled to a post and short a few fingers, because such is the price of love in Gotham. Penguin makes good on his promise and makes a deal for the place, but to what end? As it turns out, the place was once a favorite haunt of Don Maroni, and if Penguin’s plan works out, it will be the place of his death.

I don’t know much about the Ogre from the Batman lore, suffice it to say that he was either an experimentally strength-enhanced brother of a super-intelligent ape, an acronym for an armored mechanical suit, or the acronym for a criminal organization. Gotham’s Ogre is none of these. While I’m happy to see the show pulling from the comics, for the love of cape and cowl, I’m pleading with the writers to do better than slapping a tired serial killer plot onto a villain’s name that was plucked out of a hat. There is so much more potential that’s going untapped, and comicbook show audiences have proven themselves willing to accept the absurd and run with it. Gotham needs to take a look around at its competitors or risk being left behind in season two.

Rating: ★★ Fair

Miscellanea:

Bullock: “Some call him the ‘Don Juan Killer'; most call him ‘The Ogre.'” Yeah those two things go together so smoothly.

Hang in there. Only three more episodes.

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Image via Fox 

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