Review: Gotham: ‘The Scarecrow’

Well, it was natural the show’s momentum would eventually have to ease off. You can’t be all acceleration all the time, especially in your first season.

Fortunately, even as a slow down episode, this does pretty well with at least keeping everything and everyone interesting.

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A lot of this week is spent on resolving the loose ends of last time. Naturally, it’s not a full blown clean slate, but it sets the stage for the next step of the story.

First order of business-as the title suggests- is following up on Dr. Crane from last time. Now I see why they cast a relatively well known actor like Sands for the part, since he does get a chance to flex the character a lot more this week.

As Gotham’s ‘case of the week’ antagonists go, he’s actually turned out to be one of the more interesting studies they’ve had so far. For as questionable as a lot of his actions are, he has shaped up to be probably one of the more sympathetic characters to grace this show’s rogue’s gallery.

"I don't think I'm being so unreasonable here, son. I just want to shoot you up with pure liquid fear in the interests of my work. You'd help your father with that, wouldn't you?"

“I don’t think I’m being so unreasonable here, son. I just want to shoot you up with pure liquid fear in the interests of my work. You’d help your father with that, wouldn’t you?”

Well, relatively sympathetic. The fact is, he is still torturing and murdering people whilst doping himself and his son up with pure liquid fear. But we actually get a chance to see what’s driving that, which gives him more of a sense of motive than a lot of the other ‘case of the week’ characters we’ve had to date.

As a nice bonus, the show is finally getting a better handle on their effects budget this week. While the fear serum effects do feel a bit recycled from the Nolan Batman movies, they look a LOT better than the previous effects-heavy foray that was Viper.

For their own part, the GCPD don’t have quite as much going for them this week. Now that Thompkins is the new medical examiner, we do get a few decent moments of Gordon trying to balance his new relationship with keeping up work appearances. It is a nice little bit of characterization and dimension to see Gordon this awkward for a change – plus, there’s always fun to be had in Bullock doling out life advice.

"Ed, I swear to God, if you keep reading those spoilers, you are going to kill our ratings and then what future do we have?"

“Ed, I swear to God, if you keep reading those spoilers, you are going to kill our ratings and then what future do we have?”

This week gave probably one of the better overt nods to future events in a brief but entertaining meeting between Oswald and Nygma. The dialogue itself is pretty good, but what really sells the scene is the instrumental first part, which can be best summed up as a Batman villain version of Duelin’ Banjos before the two finally come face to face.

Speaking of Oswald, I have to admit I’m a little surprised how the show backed off on Maroni’s grudge. It’s abrupt, but at the same time, I’m willing to give the show credit – it does work. Plus, it at least still ends establishing that things aren’t exactly friendly anymore (emphasized with a champagne pouring joke that, while a little on-the-nose is put together well from an editing perspective).

I do stand corrected on Bruce, by the way. We’re still getting a look at him this week, though it seems he’s still taking last week to heart. He spends much of this week on a hike trying to discover his own self-reliance. As a story I’ve been mixed on so far, I will at least concede I liked what this brought to the table.

"...and then there's the alternate timeline where you sound like you smoke a carton of cigarettes a day... and then there's timeline where your costume has nipples, but you really don't want to know what's up with that one."

“…and then there’s the alternate timeline where you sound like you smoke a carton of cigarettes a day…
and then there’s timeline where your costume has nipples, but you really don’t want to know what’s up with that one.”

If nothing else, the heart-to-heart with Alfred at the end of it made it all worthwhile. Also, points to the showrunners for proving me wrong – I was braced for this storyline to end with Bruce finding a cave and being scared by a bat.

Finally, this week is bookended with Fish’s storyline. Right about now, Fish’s story is poised to go one of three ways – pretty damn awesome, ridiculously stupid, or an insane blend of the two. Between the oddity of running into pirates off shore of Gotham and Fish’s ‘Who runs Bartertown?’ style takeover at the end, I’m hedging my bets for the third option.

A lot of this feels pretty ridiculous, even by the standard of what’s been done with Gotham so far, but I’m enjoying the ride all the same.

Now comes the part where I have some misgivings. From the look of the previews, next week’s episode, The Blind Fortune Teller is bringing in a VERY familiar face to the Batman canon. I’m not going to bury it outright, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my reservations that it might be too soon to roll this one out.

We’ll see what happens this time next week.

Till then.

Pros:

-Hanging storylines from last time all brought to pretty satisfying leave off points

-Gerald Crane actually one of the more fleshed out ‘villain of the week’ characters for the show to date

Cons:

-While a logical outcome, the Oswald story still feels like a pretty quick resolution

-Again, the current Fish Mooney story could either turn awesome or too ridiculous depending where it goes from here

Rating: 3.5/5

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This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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Guyinthe3rdrow

This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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