Review: Gotham – Season 1, Episode 20 “Under the Knife”

Watching Gotham is like hanging out with an exhausted toddler who does not want to go to bed. One minute you think everything is going to be fine. The next, that kid is jumping on the couch and smearing peanut butter on the cat while singing Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda*” and you’re like, “How did we get here?”

* I do not have, nor do I ever hang out with, children. 

Donuts & Danishes
Jim (Donuts) and Bullock (Danishes) continue their hunt for The Ogre (AKA BROODY FROM THE GILMORE GIRLS). Donuts is so worried about Leslie. I completely understand – her bathtub is wedged into a tiny hallway near a giant window – she could get seriously hurt trying to get out of that thing!

Without ever asking how The Ogre knows when the police are investigating him OR how he knows which cops are assigned to which case (especially when details of that case has not been released to the media), Jim and Harvey make investigative moves and uncover things, etc. I guess. I assume some of that happens, they just restate things a lot and everyone looks angry.

It’s also funny (not funny ha ha, funny “I’m laughing to make the hurty pain go away!”) that Jim is FREAKING out over Leslie getting hurt by the Ogre but then he has her come outside with him so he can kiss her in front of a bunch of reporters. I SO wanted this to be a trap setup by Gordon/Bullock/Leslie to lure out the Ogre. I thought it would be great if Leslie purposely got “captured” by the Ogre only to overtake him just as Donuts and Danishes arrive. It wasn’t.

Eventually Donuts and Danishes learn that The Ogre is pretending to be the son of a rich lady (even though he’s the Butler’s kid.) Also – he used to be really ugly. Like Arseface from The Preacher ugly. He’s not ugly anymore because he got a new face (I bet The Dollmaker will factor into this before the end of the season.) This is the “before” version of The Ogre:

Honestly? He just looks like a guy who was either injured or born with a skin condition – which happens. Nature is a cruel mistress.

Donuts finally realizes that The Ogre probably saw a picture of him with Barbara in an old newspaper and runs to her apartment. She’s gone. He shows Selina the most hilarious police sketch anyone has ever seen:

Generic white guy sketch!

Generic white guy sketch!

No one tell them that this guy looks like a very rough drawing of any of the men in the Batfamily.

Penguin and the Jets
Maroni shows up at the club just to say hi or borrow a cup of sugar or…actually, I’m not sure why Maroni stops by except to fuck with Penguin by hitting on his mom? After lots of sweet nothing whispered into Penguin Mom’s ear, Maroni is all, “YOUR SON IS A KILLER!” and Penguin’s Mom just sobs like the guy who always cries at the bar when he’s drunk (even though he promises he won’t do it this time.) I wish she had already deduced that he was a killer and she was OK WITH IT. She had done the mental gymnastics necessary, seen that power and money can only be good for them, and then jumped onboard with his scheme to take over Gotham.

Instead, she is the typical weepy mother who needs her son’s assurance that he’s still a “good boy”, which he provides. Then Penguin immediately stabs an innocent flower delivery guy in the neck with a shard of a shattered vase. So he took the whole “Maroni Threatens Penguin’s Mom” thing pretty well.

Pictured: Footage from Gotham’s inevitable Maroni/Penguin confrontation

Riddlers Always Finish Last

As I have discussed in several of my previous Gotham reviews, the Riddler’s origin is a sick wet dream/cautionary tale about how bitches just don’t appreciate the Nice Guy. (No mention is made of how the object of most Nice Guy’s affections are seen as sex vending machines (as opposed to actual people) that are expected to dispense sex once enough friendship coins have been spent.) We see that the Riddler’s Sex Vending Machine is being physically abused by her meatslab of a boyfriend. Because of course she is.

Riddler decides he has to do something (because women need to be saved!) so he sits outside her apartment and waits. Once MeatSlab arrives, they get into a confrontation, and Riddler stabs the guy to death. Not just once. Like a MILLION times. This part was great. I loved the way it was played, I loved how the Riddler’s horror gave way to some sort of sick joy, I loved his little laughsob at the end. This man will become a super villain and I’d rather he get there by discovering a sick part of himself that likes hurting people instead of getting there because he has a bad case of unfulfilled oneitis.

Also – I just want to leave this here. This is a quote from the AV Club’s review of this episode:

The various disconnected storylines also underline the show’s serious problem with portraying female characters. The majority of the show’s female characters are there to be the catalyst for the male protagonists, to move them into action and inspire them to be heroic. Mrs. Kringle is suddenly an abused woman in this episode, and rather than flesh out that story, Gotham lays back on the battered woman trope, letting Nygma step in and be the knight in shining armor that dispatches her abuser. Then there’s Barbara, whose character motivations violently swing from one episode to the next, and Dr. Thompkins, as both tend to serve the purpose of motivating Gordon to be a better detective and man. Women are consistently victims on this show–even Mrs. Cobblepot is merely a dumb woman who can’t help but be seduced by a mobster–which is frustrating and offensive, especially considering that Dr. Leslie Thompkins has the potential to be an equal to Gordon, someone who acts like a partner in the same way Bullock does. The fact that young Selina Kyle is the closest thing Gotham has to a strong female character is evidence of the show’s reductive portrayal of women.

Barbara
She is playing Anastasia Steele to The Ogre’s Christian Grey. I am pulling for her to embrace this new lifestyle and become a villain. Come on, Gotham. Do what Sleepy Hollow couldn’t!

Baby BatCat

Once again, Bruce and Selina prove to be the best part of this damn show.

After Selina explains to Bruce why she became a murderer (BOOO), Bruce figures out that they need to steal a key from Bunderslaw. And what a better place to do it than at the Wayne charity ball?

Bruce asks Alfred if sometimes killing is necessary and Alfred is all, “STAB STAB STAB STAB….I mean, yes Master Bruce. Would you like some poison-free tea?” and Bruce is all, “I’m totally over Selina killing that guy. I’m taking her to the ball and I like that she wears a lot of leather and YES ALFRED IT IS TOTALLY LIKE THAT AND WE’RE NOT STEALING ANYTHING IT IS JUST MY HORMONES OK?????” Alfred accepts this explanation.

Bruce has Alfred send over a bunch of clothes for Selina. He then arrives to pick Selina up for the ball. The look on his face when he sees her for the first time – I literally cannot. He’s bowled over. He’s awe-struck. He’s totally in love. While Bruce was staring open-mouthed, I may have been doing this:

I know they’re kids! And though I am always of the “I like them older” camp, my tiny Grinch Heart grows three sizes whenever they have a nice, sweet moment together. I want to protect them and hug them and keep everything terrible from happening to them. Hearts removed? Backs broken? TALIA? I want to keep them safe from all of it.

At the ball, Bruce and Selina do what they do best – dance in a crowd of people while talking about what’s really going on/the plan. Bruce tells Selina to smile. Usually, this is the correct response to any dude who tells you to smile:

But I give him a pass here – they’re trying to blend in. Scowling little kids talking about killing will sort of give it all away.

Bruce says he’ll never kill. Selina tells him that’s the difference between them. Then they work together to steal the key. Just like last episode, they’re completely in sync. They really are perfect for each other.

Next week on Gotham – A FIREPLACE MOVES! And…Fish? Maybe? She’s probably dead.

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