GOTHAM Recap: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

     April 27, 2015

gotham-recap

When last we left Miss Keane, she was in the clutches of The Ogre … who revealed his S&M/torture den to her the night before. Apparently she rather enjoyed it since the two of them only got one hour of sleep. Since he’s done pretty well by Barbara so far, he also admits that he had planned to kill her the night they met, but she turned out to be the woman he’s been searching for. He’ll have to search a little harder because Barbara tries to flee, and ends up hoodwinked for her trouble. Whatever rough stuff they got up to the night before pales in comparison to what he has in store for her now. (Fox is really not afraid of playing up the domestic violence angle of this sordid situation, are they?)

gotham-recap

Image via Fox

Once he’s in full control of Barbara, he shows her photographs of his previous victims. The shock of seeing them, and the drugs in her water, cause her to pass out. When she wakes up, the Ogre asks her just who she wants him to kill, in order to awaken her true self. He threatens her own life if she doesn’t play along, and she whispers a name into his ear. Whoever could it be?

Gordon’s Quest

At the GCPD, Gordon is doing his best robot impression: not eating, not sleeping, and not giving up on tracking the Ogre and saving Barbara. Leslie tries to relieve him of his guilt, but it’s no use.

Bullock brings a street pimp in for interrogation with the hopes that he’s got some news on the Ogre’s whereabouts. After roughing him up, they get a lead on one of the Ogre’s hangouts: an upscale club/brothel called the Foxglove.

Gordon visits Penguin and Butch at their club to ask about the Foxglove’s location. Penguin wants another favor from the straight cop, but Gordon’s not messing around. He threatens the up-and-coming crimeboss and holds Butch at gunpoint until Penguin concedes. Gordon scores a ticket and offers it up to Bullock because, let’s face it, he’ll fit in a lot more easily than Gordon will.

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Image via Fox

At Foxglove, the leather-clad clubgoers are engaged in all sorts of weirdness, to the point that Bullock is actually looking overdressed in his ill-gotten Italian suit. It’s one setting in Gotham that’s got more character than the rest of the city, looking like a scene from Se7en, but it’s even too much for Bullock. He pulls out the badge and shuts the place down.

Gordon shows up with that laughable sketch of The Ogre and starts asking around. One of the girls working at the brothel is sure she knows Jason Lennon, because she bears the facial scar from their only date, nine years earlier. She’s one of the only victims to escape his clutches. Her info gives them a lead to Lennon’s apartment. Bullock and Gordon investigate, but all they find is Lennon’s torture chamber. Lennon, however, calls them up to gloat, though he gives up a hint to his location that the cops pick up on. It seems like Barbara is taking her new beau home to meet the parents. Oh, and then to kill them.

gotham-recap

Image via Fox

Gordon and Bullock show up too late to save the Keanes or their hired help. The Ogre has staged the murdered bodies so that they rest against each other, seated on the couch, appearing as if they’re enjoying some peaceful crooning playing on the record player. A blood-stained and bewildered Barbara walks out to talk to Gordon while the Ogre clubs Bullock over the head, knocking him down the spiral staircase. Lennon nearly gets the drop on Gordon and the two struggle, with the cop taking a slice to the hand but getting a stab in on the Ogre in the process. Knowing he’s outmatched, Lennon takes Barbara hostage and threatens to cut her throat. It’s a pretty tense scene … until Bullock yells, “Hey Jerko!” and Gordon puts the serial killer down with a bullet in the forehead. Barbara is nicked up but alive, though the cheese may have slid off her cracker a bit.

Bruce’s Coming of Age 

Alfred delivers a message to Bruce before heading out to identify Reggie’s body. Bruce offers to tag along, but Alfred aims to do this alone, giving his old friend the proper send-off. With Alfred occupied, Bruce opens the message from Cat; it’s the key they lifted from Bunderslaw.

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Image via Fox


 
At his company’s headquarters, Bruce gets up to a bit of sleuthing (and juvenile delinquency) by sneaking around after he pulls the fire alarm. He gains access to Bunderslaw’s corner office and makes for the executive’s safe, but finds it empty. As the alarms go silent, Bunderslaw himself catches Bruce in the act. (You just don’t mess around with Michael Potts, Bruce.) Bunderslaw has “the talk” with Bruce … and by “the talk” I mean he admits to the company’s deceitful practices which account for their success, a fact that he claims Bruce’s father was well aware of.

Though Bruce is stunned by this revelation, audiences are likely more interested in the arrival of Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk). The young exec rescues Bruce from Bunderslaw’s office and restores the boy’s confidence in his father, setting himself up as an ally against the more nefarious agents of the company.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce inquires about Alfred’s state after saying goodbye to Reggie. Bruce then admits that he and Selina found Reggie at the drughouse, and that Cat pushed him out of the window. He also cops to the bits about Bunderslaw, the charity ball, and all of his clandestine actions up to this point. Bruce’s real concern is that his grandfather and father knew about the company’s illicit activities, a revelation that haunts him. Cementing that fact, we see Bruce cutting himself out of a photograph with his father, and then pinning the remaining half of the picture up on his big crime board.

Penguin’s Rise to Power

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Image via Fox

Butch is planting weapons in Penguin’s newest acquisition in preparation for their execution of Don Maroni. Penguin meets up with his hired hitmen to be sure they’re in position to assassinate the mob boss when he and his felonious friend shows up for a traditional post-prison dinner. The Irish hitmen show up bearing supposed gifts from Don Falcone. Though the assassins pull their guns, both of them jam as they try to ice Maroni and his thugs. Maroni and his pal Tommy Bones turn the tables on the hitmen and kill them instead. Was it simple bad luck, or did someone plan it this way? As Butch breaks the news to Penguin, the slick gangster reveals that it was he who took the firing pins out of the guns as a means to get out from under Falcone’s thumb. Falcone gets the hitmen’s head in a box, adding fuel to the mob war once again.

Meanwhile, Nygma wheels two conspicuously large suitcases through the police station, and since the bags are full of the chopped-up body of his recent murder victim, Officer Dougherty, it’s a good thing no one pays him much attention. Only Kristen Kringle pays him a visit, and finds the dismembered body in the slop sink waiting for Nygma to dissolve it. Either she’s not very bright or Nygma’s story is just that convincing because she doesn’t seem to suspect that anything is amiss. Just to get the point across that Nygma has gone off the deep end, he talks to Dougherty’s nicely polished skull before smashing it to bits with a hammer. Later, Kringle receives a stiffly worded letter from “Dougherty” breaking up with her. Nygma suggests that she, “read between the lines,” revealing that the first letter of each of the lines of text adds up to spell N-Y-G-M-A.

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Image via Fox

“The Anvil or the Hammer” might have been the most coherent episode of Gotham in weeks, which is pretty impressive considering it tied up a lot of multi-episode plot arcs while leading into the conclusion of a season-long storyline centering on the mob war. This hour still had the series’ odd quirks, however: Gordon’s instantaneous cognition, Bullock’s terrible one-liners, and characters that seem to disappear for long stretches at a time *ahem* Fish Mooney. Milo Ventimiglia added some much-needed venom and tension to the show, but his departure was sadly anticlimactic. Still, this is the most excited I’ve been for Gotham in a while so let’s hope they end it all on an upswing.

Rating: ★★★ Good

Miscellanea:

The Ogre: “You hungry? I have quiche.”

Gordon: “Harvey, I’m about to violate departmental policy on interrogation techniques.” Bullock: “I think I saw some donuts outside.”

The Ogre: “Barbara, I love you, I love you like noone has ever loved you, but if you try to escape, I will chain you to the ceiling and gut you, now come … here.”

gotham-recap

Image via Fox

Sid Bunderslaw: “Bruce, don’t forget your cookie.”

Kristen Kringle: “What happened to him?” Nygma: “Ax … accidental death, at a sheet metal factory.”

The Ogre: “It won’t be me that slits her throat detective, that’s going to be you.”

Bullock: “Hey, jerko!”

Alfred: “Your father was a good man.” Bruce: “I know, but even good men have secrets.”

Gordon: “I grabbed a knife by the blade.” Leslie: “Of course you did.”

Captain Essen: “We’re in a shooting war, people.”


 

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