Review: Gotham 1.15 – “The Scarecrow”

If the title is any indication, this week on Gotham the focus is on the beginnings of future villain, “The Scarecrow” aka Jonathan Crane. We were barely introduced to him last week, but after this episode, we will know how and why he becomes what he becomes. Gotham certainly is NOT slowing down with their introduction and fleshing out of the many Batman world villains. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s still hard to decide. Anyways, let’s get to the action this week.

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

It was a dark and stormy night in Gotham (which seems to be a norm) and a random old man is mercilessly slaughtered by some creepers, who steal his adrenal “fear” gland. Oh, it must be Dr. Gerald Crane (Julian Sands) and his poor son, Jonathan (Charlie Tahan). Dr. Crane is trying to develop a sort of “fear-serum” to help him defeat his fear, all the while using his son as a test subject, too. Father of the Year award, anyone? He injects himself, as well, continually seeing a woman crying for help while burning. Awesome.

Unluckily for him, first class GCPD cops, Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are on the case. They easily discover Crane was a teacher, go to his school, where the old principal tells them about Crane’s wife’s death and how Crane wrote a paper on “fear being the downfall of humanity” and trying to develop a cure for it.

Gotham 1.05 Scarecrow moreInvestJim also finds time to have his third date with the ever so charming Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Barbara who, anyone? Their chemistry is much better than Jim and Barbara’s ever was. Oh, by the way, it is now snowing in Gotham? And the next day it is just cloudy. What is with the weather in this city?! Anyways, Leslie tells Jim about her new job…at GCPD. He seems confused and weirded out, even though he was the one who suggested it to her last week! Captain Essen introduces Dr. Thompkins to the boys, but it is all a bit weird, since last week Jim and Thompkins full on MADE-OUT in front of everyone. Harvey urges Jim that an office romance is not a good idea. Side note: Harvey is right for once in his life.

Let’s take a moment to check in on all of the side plotlines. Firstly, Fish finds herself in some sort of underground basement dungeon thingy. There are a bunch of thugs and dangerous looking men around. No word on the man who attacked her or whose boat she was on. All Fish knows now is that she is locked in some prison. But don’t count on Fish to lose her bite. She threatens two steroided-out men, finds the head honcho – a man named Mace (Babs Olusanmokun) who carries the only weapon – manipulates him, kills him with said only weapon, and takes the reigns as the woman in charge. She also immediately finds herself a loyal servant and begins giving orders. Fish can’t change her spots. She is thrown for a loop when a woman with no eyes gets thrown in the prison. What is that about?

Gotham 1.05 Scarecrow youngBruceAs for Bruce, he is going on a solo hike as part of some Wayne tradition. He picks up rocks, falls down a hill, and then climbs back up on his hands and knees to find Alfred sitting by the fire waiting, not helping him. I guess this is a lesson for Bruce in his own strength and perseverance or something. Alfred is a great father figure for Bruce, equal parts caring and tough. I thought these scenes were a bit boring and out of place. Let Bruce do his growing up off-screen please.

Gotham 1.05 Scarecrow nightWoodsAnd now thirdly, following the aftermath of escaping Maroni’s clutches, Oswald Cobblepot pleads with Falcone to do something about about it. Falcone basically waves him off, instead telling him to get Fish’s old club in order. Falcone, who we last saw choke Liza to death, is not messing around anymore. He meets with Maroni, making sure Maroni promises not to kill Penguin (because Falcone finds him clever and knows he will never be top dog). In return, Falcone delivers Maroni a judge that Maroni hates. This odd friendship between the two top dogs further proves Falcone is calling the shots, always. Maroni then pays a visit to Penguin, telling him the second Falcone is out of the picture, so is Penguin. Things are pretty uncomfortable when you are so often around people who continue to try to kill you – and that’s basically everyone in Gotham.

Gotham 1.05 Scarecrow NgymaOswald, who has deftly named the new club, “Oswalds,” shouts out orders to the workers like the diva he is. The place is changing from red to purple and the symbol is now the iconic purple umbrella that so suits Penguin. He wants to personally invite Jim Gordon to the club’s reopening, so he takes a trip down to GCPD. What happens is probably the best thing I’ve seen on Gotham yet: a showdown between Oswald and the equally fun, Ed Ngyma. The music, the steeled looks, the banter! It was all perfect and we need to have more scenes between Oswald and Ed. Two future villains squaring off was just the breath of fresh air and fun the episode needed.

Jim rejects Oswald’s invitation, which is good, because he has more important things to do, like make out with Dr. Thompkins. He gets weird and awkward, telling her to keep it profesh at work (even though, once again, they made out hard core in front of the entire station!). Thompkins is such a cool cat that she lets his weirdness roll off her back. And anyways, Harvey and Jim discover that Crane’s wife died in a house fire and they found the address of the old house. GEE, that was super easy! Why didn’t they do that earlier? And really writers, it’s gonna be that easy?!

Crane believes he has overcome his fear finally, perfecting the serum. He tells his son he loves him after Jonathan attempts to run away. Soon enough, Jim and Harvey arrive and all the plans are ruined. Crane injects his son with a too-high dose causing Jonathan to seize in perpetual pain as they hide in some hay underneath a, wait for it, SCARECROW. The scarecrow invades Jonathan’s nightmares. His screams bring out Jim and Harvey who easily shoot down the now fearless Crane senior. Easy peezy!

Gotham 1.05 Scarecrow LesJimBack at GCPD, Jim and Thompkins talk about the case. They try and keep it professional, Thompkins going as far as saying she likes at GCPD. Girl, just wait on that one. Jim tells her they can’t kiss on the job and is all serious and weird again. Maybe Jim is the issue? Luckily for him, Dr. Leslie Thompkins is the coolest.

Later, Jim goes to the hospital to check on Jonathan, but we all know what he is going to find. A young man forever tormented by the thing he fears most, the Scarecrow. He’s going to live, but oh, will he suffer…

Overall, I enjoyed this episode more than last week (except I could have done without the Bruce scenes). The characters continue to change and develop. It’s interesting that we are keeping Fish on screen, not sure where they are going to go with that. If this episode was an indication of anything that worked, it was the Oswald and Ed scene. That was golden. We need more of that. Barbara who? Keep it that way please, curse the canon. Jim and Thompkins, despite his now stern ways, are leagues above Jim and Barbara. And next week, could we get the Joker and the Graysons? Oh my, Gotham SLOW. IT. DOWN. How many villains do we need in one season? Geez. I’d like to see more development on Jim and Harvey and Ed and Oswald, heck, even on Fish. Calm it down.

What do you guys think? Do you want more villains or something else? Let me know in the comments below.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck