Review: Gotham – Season 1, Episode 19 “Beasts of Prey”

When I was about 9 my parents took us to visit family in Boston. During that trip, we all went out to Plymouth to take in Plymouth Plantation and the various other “Colonial American” tourist traps that permeate New England. Out of all the things to see on this trip, I was most excited for Plymouth Rock.  Like any American kid, I had heard about that rock every. single. year. since I started formal schooling. This rock was the rock that the Pilgrims themselves had designated as the marker of their adventure in the new world. In my mind, this rock was bigger than my house. It was so big that it was the first piece of American land the colonists had stood on. This thing had to be MASSIVE. It was the tallest, best rock that had ever rocked!

When we arrived at the viewing area I was quick to note there was no visible rock.

“Where is it?” I asked my father.

“You have to look over that railing,” he said, gesturing to a railing surrounding a square hole. People craned their heads to look down the hole. They snapped pictures with bulky cameras and pointed downward while talking to friends and relatives. Joyously, I dashed to the railing and looked down, eager to finally see a major piece of American history.

The rock was half the size of a love seat and probably didn’t even come up to my hip. I was a tall 9-year-old, but I wasn’t THAT tall. I had expected to be dwarfed by this rock, to stand at its base and gaze up at it, my neck cramping after freezing in a position brought on by unrelenting awe. But the rock was tiny. Worse, it was just a rock! And it had a god damned crack in it from where a bunch of rube townsfolk dropped it 50 years earlier.

“That’s it?” I asked when my father came to stand beside me.

“That’s it,” he said, obviously not as crestfallen as I.

“I thought it would be bigger,” I said, my young mind coming to terms with mental expectations that didn’t live up to the real experience. It was, up until that point, the biggest let down I’d ever experienced. It remains the second most overhyped experience of my life.

Google would have saved me a lot of disappointment as a child.

I relay this story because that Shattered Hope/Everything is Disappointing and Life is Worthless feeling is the same one I had when watching this episode of Gotham.

I’m going to begin by getting two things I don’t care about out of the way: Penguin and Fish.

Penguin
He’s involved in some plot to buy a bar so he can kill Don Maroni in it. The owner (Rosa from Orange is the New Black) is all, “No.” Penguin is all, “Maybe if I horribly mutilate a human being your daughter will call more often and you won’t need the bar?” And she’s all, “Great plan!”

So that happens.

Fish
Fish continues to act like no actual human would ever act by wandering around the Dollmaker’s mansion and looking at everyone like she’s the cat that just ate the canary. She figures out an escape plan, runs a double cross on some dumb guys, has her people beat up the Doctor, and steals a helicopter. Then she gets shot and we get a closeup of her perfectly manicured hand covered in blood. Boring.

Gordon
The Notorious J.I.M. is approached by a young officer who asks him to take a look at a murder case. He feeds Jim a line about how some of the younger officers are really into the AngerFest for Justice thing that Jim has been bringing to the table. Jim believes this shit because who doesn’t love a blow job, right? He agrees to take the case and makes Harvey tag along. In protesting this extra work, Harvey says:

The only reason this works is because Donal Logue has the charm and charisma to pull it off.

The only reason this works is because Donal Logue has the charm and charisma to pull it off.

The “The Riddler is the Riddler Because That Bitch Wouldn’t Fuck Him” storyline already had me hypothesize that there is one really angry dude in that writer’s room who just wants to make sure WOMEN UNDERSTAND THAT MEN ARE OWED SEX BECAUSE PENISES AND VAGINAS AND :FART NOISE:, OK??????? This is just more evidence for that theory. You think you’re a good detective, Bruce? MARVEL AT MY SKILLS!!!

Jim and Harvey investigate the murder with the help of dreamy flashbacks. This is the first time they’ve used the flashback device to examine the Crime of the Week. it’s a little odd because the characters we’re watching aren’t any of our regular characters. It’s also nice because we’re getting more than Harvey and Jim info dumping all over each other’s sweaty, coffee-stained faces.

The case of the week focuses on a girl who was murdered by a Christian Grey stand in. The guy is a crazy murderer who holds women captive and tries to have the perfect 1950s relationship with her (with some bondage added in). Was this story written because some writer was bored and staring out the window at a 50 Shades of Grey poster plastered on the side of a bus? He had to make deadline so he was all, “Bondage serial killer! I AM BRILLIANT!!!”

As Gordon and Bullock try make sense of the case Nygma (who is strangely normal in this episode) shows them a picture of a broken porcelain heart that was found near the body. Harvey sees this and freaks out – it’s the calling card of a serial killed called “The Ogre.” Whenever a cop investigates The Ogre, The Ogre kills that cop’s family so no one investigates these murders.

Is this where I point out that in order for the Ogre to kill the cop’s family he a) has to be aware that the cops are on to him (and, given the lack of information in the files Nygma looked at it means the cops have no idea who he is) and, b) he has to have a source inside the police department who tips him off.

Learning this information sets Jim off so he does what anyone would do – march across the police station to Anger Rage all over the fucking police commissioner.

Yes, Jim is supposed to be Raging Against the Man and Cleaning Up Gotham and Justicing but the only way he seems to do this is by getting irrationally angry and doing things that hurt his cause. Where’s the Jim that uses his brain to out think the corrupt? Where’s the Jim that gets strategic allies to come over to his side with inspiring words? Where’s the Jim that actually wins over the younger officers? We just get AngryJim to AngerRage at the Angry and the Corrupt and it’s getting really, really boring.

And this is where we leave our “hero.” The previews for next week show The Ogre trying to run game on Barbara. This makes me happy because Barbara is the worst. I’m not usually one to advocate for fridging a female character, but when that character is as useless as Barbara, I will make an exception.

Bruce/Selina

Guys. GUYS! BRUCE AND SELINA WORKING TOGETHER. It’s adorable until it goes off the god damned rails because this show is the Enemy of the Good.

Bruce searches the city for the man who stabbed Alfred after Alfred forgets how recovering from a stab wound works and bleeds all over his nicely starched dress shirt. Using Alfred’s mention of a “shooting gallery,” Bruce goes to every gun range in Gotham.

Oh, Bruce. You are ADORABLE.

He quickly realizes he is not nearly street smart enough to solve this mystery and hits up Selina. She tells him she could have smashed his head in with a brick because this show is fucking stupid and writes stupid dialogue that makes all of us more stupid for having watched said stupid show.

Selina takes Bruce to a “shooting gallery” – which is a place where people go to shoot heroin. (Sorry – I thought Alfred’s friend was only an alcoholic in his last episode. He’s a heroin addict now? ‘K.) Bruce and Selina display that amazing “We don’t need to actually speak to get shit done because we are THAT in tune with each other” teamwork that is was a cornerstone of their relationship in the comics. They get the name of the man who sent him to steal Bruce’s shit. And then…And then.

And then it all goes so fucking wrong.

Selina drops the drugs out the window. The guy gets angry and threatens to tell on both of them, which is obviously a lie. What former elite special forces dude is going to run around town telling people a bunch of fucking kids got the best of him because they grabbed his drugs? He reaches out the window and Bruce tries not to push him. I’d make fun of the shot they use here but I just watched Grimm where they used a shot of obviously fake red hands coming down from the sky to grab a guy in a dream, so…

As soon as Bruce regains himself, Selina pushes the dude out the window.

WHAT THE FUCK, GOTHAM???? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

The need to make this guy go away is understandable. But there are other ways to make this man disappear without turning a 14-year-old girl into a killer! Like, and I’m just spitballing here, if you had to do the window thing – maybe he could have reached out too far trying to grab his drugs, lost his balance, and fallen to his death? No one had to push him. Or maybe he could have OD’d? Or he could have gone to the guy who hired him to spy on Bruce and that guy could have had him killed because Alfred survived? Again, just throwing shit out there that is better than what actually happened.

I just…I just cannot. I’m so disappointed in this show.

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