Review: Gotham – Season 1, Episode 21 “The Anvil and the Hammer”

…What’s this? A narrative thread driving the action in the episode? Characters acting consistently from one episode to the next? Jim Gordon not blowing his Anger Load all over a superior?

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Oh, Gotham! You are doing show things that I am liking and it makes me want to kiss you (but only if you are wearing a diaper and a bunny mask.)

I’m not the only one who found this episode markedly better than the episodes that preceded it. Watching this episode, even with its hilariously ridiculous parts, felt like a show finally finding its footing. Too bad it came one episode before the season finale!

Donut & Danish (& Barbara) Take Manhattan
Barbara has infinitely enjoyed her night in the Red Room of Pain with Broody The Ogre. While she’s happy to call this what it is (a kinky one night stand that you giggle about when you’re older and remember fondly as a memento to your wild days), Ogre has other plans.

At the station, Donut is all, “I RISKED SO MUCH AND THIS IS ALL MY FAULT AND ANGST ANGST BROOD BROOD!!!” Danish brings in some yahoo who knows who the Ogre is and Donut shows him the generic white guy drawing. The witness is all, “…Jon Hamm? No, wait! it’s Grant Gustin from that TV show about the guy who runs really fast and is in no way connected to this universe and why would he be, right?”

Literally every white man with hair who has ever lived.

Literally every white man with hair who has ever lived.

Donut then beats some information out of the witness because that’s the way to win hearts and minds of the people. The Ogre used to hang out at a brothel called The Foxglove. This is right up Bullock’s alley. He puts on a knockoff Italian suit that got “lost” on the way to evidence and heads to the club. All that’s missing here is a “getting dressed” montage set to ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”.

The Foxglove is, quite possibly, the funniest fucking thing that has ever appeared on Gotham. And that includes that episode where Fish made those two chicks fight in an alley for a “job”. It’s like someone googled the word “fetish” and made sure everything in the first 100 results showed up on-screen. Spikes? Check. PVC clothing? Check! A guy in a diaper wearing a bunny mask getting bottle fed? CHE-wait, what?

Screen shot 2015-04-28 at 8.29.46 PM

I’ve decided this character is named White Rabbit (because anything is better than DC’s actual White Rabbit.) Interestingly, Harvey isn’t into any of this. The man who loves to fuck and drink and partake in all the danishes has limits! He can’t handle whatever is happening offscreen and busts the whole place.

They did, Krusty. They did. 

They find a sex worker who recognizes the Ogre from that Generic White Guy sketch. He slashed her face several years ago, showing an escalation in his behavior. This is a good detail for him. She tells Danish and Donut where to find him.

The Ogre and Barbara are gone – they’ve headed upstate to kill Barbara’s parents. And here we have the first interesting decision that Barbara has ever made! You would guess that Barbara would ask The Ogre to kill Jim. But she doesn’t. She picks her parents. I was still hoping she would get killed during the Ogre/Donut standoff, but I suddenly have a lot more interest in her than I did before.

Donut and Danish find Barbara and kill the Ogre. Bye, Broody. I’ll catch your younger self being a jerk over on the Gilmore Girls!

Penguin
His plan to kill Maroni finally comes to fruition. He has Butch hide guns in that bar run by Rosa from Orange is the New Black. When the hit man goes to kill Maroni, he says Don Falcone’s name, and then his gun jams. Turns out Penguin removed the firing pins from the guns in order to spark a war between Falcone and Maroni. FINALLY. FUCKING FINALLY! This is exactly the kind of scheming and underhanded maneuvering I’ve wanted out of the Penguin since the beginning. This is the cold, calculating man who can run a criminal enterprise that we’ve all be waiting for.

Ngyma
Another great development! Ngyma has cut MeatSlab Cop into pieces and he’s trying to dispose of the body IN THE POLICE STATION. Dude’s either dumb or has some serious balls.

He enjoys destroying the body and delights in smashing the skull like those dudes in Office Space smashed a printer.

Again, this is great. Instead of the heavy-handed question marks on cups or people yelling at him for his riddles, this is a somewhat organic origin. This is a fucked up person getting a taste of power and realizing he LIKES it. This is a turning point for this character (I hope). And when he leaves that note for 1950s Lust Object, it shows the birth of a major part of the Riddler’s MO.

Bruce
Bruce gets a package with a note from Selina (Totally unrelated side note that will make sense to exactly one person – I AM SO HAPPY I FINISHED THAT THING WAY BEFORE THIS EPISODE.) It’s the key. He goes to Wayne Enterprises to break into the safe, and I swear to god he looks taller than he was the in last episode. NOOOO. Stay a kid for as long as possible! Stay innocent and sweet! I don’t want this for you:

I don’t want you to grow old alone and rattle around Wayne Room with no friends! And I especially don’t want you to be such a fucking dick that even Selina leaves your ass in the end!!! BBBRRROOOOOSSSSSEEEEE!!! :sobs:

Is this what it’s like to be a parent? To glance over one day and realize your child is growing? Is it always this sad?

Bunderslaw catches him opening the (empty) safe. Selina’s sleight of hand wasn’t as good as we thought (she’ll have years to perfect it.) He yammers on and on about how Bruce’s grandfather and father knew about all the bullshit Wayne Enterprises was up to but they eventually played ball. Does this mean that Thomas Wayne is not a doctor in this universe but a businessman?

Lucius Fox – yes, THAT Lucius Fox – shows Bruce to the elevator, but not before he tells Bruce that his father kept his real self “hidden”. This better not mean we’re getting fucking Thomas Wayne Batman in season 2.

The best part of Bruce’s arc this week is when he cut himself out of a picture so he could add Thomas Wayne to his Investigation/A Beautiful Mind board.

This episode didn’t do much for Bruce except make sure he was in the right place to be the focus of the cliffhanger at the end of next week’s show. We didn’t get the opening fireplace in this episode (even though it was teased in the preview from last episode), and as soon as the show was over I turned to my husband and told him that would be the last shot we’ll get as we fade to black at the end of the next episode. I’m not the only one who thought this – Rob Bricken from io9.com wrote:

So that shot of the fireplace revealing a secret something-or-other in Stately Wayne Manor that was in the “Next Week On” preview? It was in last week’s preview, too. I’m calling it right now: This is the final shot of next week’s season finale, which ends with Bruce and Alfred looking down the secret passage, but not revealing what’s in it — exactly like the hatch in the Lost season one finale. I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

You’re not wrong, Rob. Sorry.

Next episode – THE RETURN OF FISH MOONEY! She’s alive just to be dead again!

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One thought on “Review: Gotham – Season 1, Episode 21 “The Anvil and the Hammer”

  1. Pingback: Review: Gotham – Season 1, Episode 22 “All Happy Families Are Alike” | Last Ditch Effort

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