Review: Gotham 1.14- “The Fearsome Dr. Crane”

Okay, okay, Gotham lately has been finding it’s own special groove, but unfortunately, this episode, “The Fearsome Dr. Crane,” hits a roadblock. Awash with plot holes and uncharacteristic behavior, I found myself shaking my head and asking, “Why?” to my cat. Perhaps suspending disbelief and accepting the “world” of Gotham a little more would help?

***** SPOILERS BELOW *****

It’s another “villain-of-the-week” episode (which are always weaker in terms of overall story progress). Dr. Crane (Julian Sands), or the future Scarecrow’s father for you comic book nerds, is wrecking havoc on his phobia bound support group. He kills his fellow members by subjecting them to their worst fears: heights, swimming pools, and even pigs. I’m not making that up. Why he is doing this? And why now? Who knows! But he is! Harvey and Captain Essen are on the case of the first murder atop a roof. The victim, who feared heights, was left to hang off the top of the building. Ed Nygma, forensics, is also there and discovered something in the body, but Harvey quickly and assuredly shushes him. Must be tough for him, since apparently all the other cops are shunning him? Not too clear.

Gotham 1.14 CatCaughtJim isn’t present for once because he goes to Barbara’s empty apartment to drop off her keys. Young Selina Kyle has been shacking up there, eating cereal and looking pretty fly in her “street” clothes. Her makeup on point, her hair perfectly coiffed, dang, it’s good to be a homeless child in Gotham. Anyways, Jim catches her and she tells him that she lied about seeing who killed the Waynes. So, Jim visits young Bruce, who confirms this, and then angrily lets Jim off of his promise to find the killer. He is going to investigate himself. Jim tries to protest but Alfred is all like ‘Back off my child master, bro!’ And so, maybe Bruce/Selina/Alfred will be off screen for a while, growing up. Thank you.

Back at the station, Harvey gets a visit from Scottie Mullen (Maria Thayer), a Jessica Chastain lookalike, whose number was in the dead guy’s pocket. Harvey is blown back and is reduced to being creepy and flirty with Scottie. They banter and she tells him about her phobia support group. He asks her if she is Irish (for odd reasons) and then watches her as she walks away, not listening to Jim, who has a lead taking them to ANOTHER warehouse. I swear, Gotham is a city of creepy abandoned warehouses. Maybe if they got rid of all the warehouses, then criminals would stop showing up to hide/murder/kidnap/make bombs in the city.

Welp, Jim and Harvey arrive just in time to find the second victim being tortured by a guy in a pig mask surround by pigs. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Harvey shoots the pig-masked man dead and that settles it, right? Nope. Also, the scene with Dr. Crane carrying a baby pig on the street was laugh out loud ridiculous. Back at the station, Harvey and Essen believe they caught the guy and the case is done. But you know who doesn’t believe that? Jim freaking Gordon, because he always is right and KNOWS something else is up. Essen tells him to let it go, but we all know Jim NEVER let’s things go.

Gotham 1.14 DateNightSo during all this kerfuffle (what a fun word!), Jim invites Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) to dinner. Appropriate timing. She thinks it’s a date, but he asks for her advice on the case. She is confused, but then he says he did want to go on a date. Um, okay? When did he become so awkward? Unfortunately, the “date” gets cut short by a phone call, there’s another killer out there. He was right again. Dr. Thompkins is all too okay with Jim leaving. She is almost too cool for school.

Harvey, who earlier told Jim to forget about Barbara and make some moves on Thompkins, is making some moves himself, on Scottie Mullen, who reveals her fear of drowning in a swimming pool. Harvey says he is scared all the time and wants to join their support group for the night. So, he shares with the group, the group where no one seems upset/worried/sad about the killer who is killing off their members. And, oh, hey look, the killer, Todd Crane, is still there. He shares his fear of failure before rushing off, Scottie follows. He, of course, kidnaps her, right under the nose of Harvey. It pains me so much how this show can pull stuff like this. I mean, come on. Gotham City Police Department is probably the worst police force in all of fictional media.

Luckily, after a call to Scottie’s mother, they find a location on the pool where she almost drowned as a child. Sure enough, Dr. Crane has taken her there, speaking his villain talk to her about fear. His son, Jonathan aka Scarecrow, comes in for money for the parking meter. Like, what? HAHA. His father reassures him this is for the greater good. Why? How? What? Stereotypical villain reasoning. Jim and Harvey arrive just in time. Harvey saves Scottie but Jim loses track of Dr. Crane after a chase/gunfight.

Back at GCPD, Thompkins shows up with the case file. She discovered that the killer has been removing the “fear” gland from his victim’s at the moment of their death for the extra cortisol. Why? No reason yet. Jim then says woodenly, “I have the strong urge to kiss you.” Riiiiight. Leslie goads him into kissing her on the cheek, but pulls a fast one and turns her mouth just in time and the two passionately make out. In the middle of the police station. As everyone, EVERYONE, stares. Totally professional… not.

Ed Nygma has been coming into his own as a nerd and also as a creepy maniac. After being told repeatedly to not dissect the bodies of dead people, he is caught in the autopsy room by Essen and the angry Medical Examiner, who tells Essen she has to do something. So, she suspends Ed, even though he might have had a lead on the whole adrenal gland thing. Ed tells Kristen Kringle, who is crying over Flass (Ew!), that he is leaving and gives her back a tiny pencil. Kristen smiles and I want to warn her not to give even a little hope to Ed cause it could turn bad.

Ed later sneaks into the men’s locker room and hides a bunch of gross body parts in the Medical Examiner’s locker. He is later found with them and promptly fired, creating a new job opportunity for say…perhaps Dr. Leslie Thompkins. How so utterly convenient! Ed also returns to GCPD and makes sure Kristen knows. I can’t wait to see his descent into madness and riddles!

Gotham 1.14 RoadTripIn the main side plot: Maroni receives a call from Fish, who is on some boat in Gotham harbor, telling him that Penguin has been working for Falcone this whole time. Maroni can’t believe it. Penguin was just boasting about Fish’s probable demise. WHY WOULD PENGUIN NOT CHECK TO MAKE SURE FISH WAS DEAD? Because then she could just call and tell Maroni, like she did! Big plot hole.

Anyways, Maroni decides to take Penguin on a road trip upstate to “meet a guy about some stuff.” Wow, great lie. Penguin is already suspicious. Later, at Maroni’s cabin, Maroni starts baiting Penguin about truth, lies, dead Frankie, Indian Hill, etc. But Penguin won’t bite. Maroni steps outside and Penguin quickly secures himself with a gun. When Maroni returns, they continue to play hardball, Maroni admitting what Fish told him. Penguin says its all a lie, but pulls the gun on Maroni and tries to shoot him. Yikes! The gun is filled with blanks. Penguin is screwed. How is he going to get out this one!?

Gotham 1.14 MaroniMashLuckily for Penguin, Maroni decides to crush Penguin in a car crushing machine instead of just shooting him, which once again defies logic! I guess this is based off a comic-book, so I’ll let it go. Penguin, of course, escapes, by threatening the car crusher dude with future death. Ya know what Maroni, you’re an idiot! Penguin wakes up later in a pile of leaves and heads back to Gotham on a church bus full of singing gospel women. Um, okay? Is that supposed to be funny or symbolic or something?

Gotham 1.14 PengPopOh, and Fish has been hanging out on a boat, but suddenly gunshots ring out. The captain gets shot and a large man in what appears to be military garb appears, growls at Fish, and the two race towards each other. The End. Whoa?! That’s quite an ending!

Overall, I enjoyed the episode, despite it’s plot holes and odd character deviations. I keep telling myself that this is a comic book show, so it’s okay if Maroni wants to kill Penguin in a car crusher instead of shooting him. It’s okay for the cops to always show up at just the right time. It was interesting to add young Scarecrow into the mix and I like the buildup they’re giving Ed Nygma. Both Harvey and Jim changed personalities a bit this episode, but all is forgiven. I don’t want to be too critical of anything. Gotham is still finding its footing. The show has cast a wiiiide net and needs to reel it in a little. Where are the other cops? Montoya? Allen? Let’s stop with the introductions of new characters and work on the old ones, please.

Let me know what you guys thought of the episode in the comments below!

That ending though. Who else is excited for next week?

Gotham airs on FOX, Mondays at 8/9c. Watch full episodes on FOX.com.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck