The Neurotic Nerd Reviews: Gotham- The Fearsome Dr. Crane

I want to thank you guys for reading my reviews. Hopefully you guys like them, despite my ranting and apparent A.D.D. To make them a bit more centric, I’m gonna be testing out a new rating system: The Nerdit! Let me know what you guys think!

Yikes! Okay, I love this show overall. Ben McKenzie is owning the role of Jim Gordon better than any actor before him- which is saying something, since the role was previously handled by the one and only Gary Oldman. The character development is nice and slow and they have put some characters in places we might not have originally thought of. Most of the time, the writing is deep and filled with meaning. Often the episode’s director will use the stark scenery and dreary atmosphere of Gotham to their advantage.

wait for it

This was not one of those episodes. It was a disjointed mish-mash of ideas seemingly thrown together that really did not work well together. Oh sure, there may have been some truly nice scenes. But you can’t bake lasagna with a good sauce and good onions only to have all the other ingredients suck (Do you put onions in lasagna?). Okay, maybe I should stick to metaphors I know, but you get the point. It kind of felt like I was watching what should have been about 3 different episodes.

And the really crappy part is the premise is a great one- Scarecrow! Or at least his dad, but I digress. The exploitation of our fears. Confronting the things that haunt us the most. Scarecrow (i.e. Dr. Jonathan Crane) is one of the seminal baddie in Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery. Though he is only the son of the main villain in this episode, the basic framework is still there. And while the episode starts out great with a truly terrifying scene, it peters out after that and- I can’t believe I’m saying this for Gotham- becomes formulaic. Bad guy is established; bad guy is weird; Jim gets reminded he’s going against the grain; Penguin plays with fire on both sides of the stick; They find a thin lead on the bad-guy and get him. I mean really, don’t commit crimes at the same factory you used to work at, that’s like Evil 101.

As is the fact that wearing a rubber mask is a great way to gift wrap your DNA.
As is the fact that wearing a rubber mask is a great way to gift wrap your DNA.

I don’t like to just bash anything, and this episode has a few shining rays of light. About 70% of the Penguin/Maroni subplot is very well done- a terse, tense metaphorical fencing contest after Maroni finds out from Mooney that Penguin has been playing him to the tune of favor with Falcone. One scene in particular stands out, where Maroni basically plays a game of truth or dare, only the truths are the dares. But the award for best scene of the episode goes to the brief but absolutely fucking brutal scene between Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon. While maintaining his upper class poise and temperament, Bruce essentially tells Jim he has failed at catching his parents killers. Jim uses a tired police line- “investigations of this nature usually take some time”- and Bruce totally calls him out on it. It is a remarkable scene in that, with just a few lines of dialogue, it shows not only Bruce’s inherent distrust of the system but also Alfred’s absolute loyalty to him.

This is not the face of a man who opens up in group therapy
This is not the face of a man who opens up in group therapy

Most of the rest of the episode either makes little to no sense or seems a bit forced. Though I still love the awkward dynamic of Ed Nygma and Ms. Cringle, they need to advance it a little more. It’s stagnated for a few episodes now and makes for repetitive viewing (though there is a great series of scenes where Ed gets his revenge on the M.E. as only he can). A good chunk of this episode was meant to soften up Harvey Bullock’s character, but the transitions from hard-edged, grizzly detective to sensitive and love lorn guy just don’t seem to fit well.

The last two things I’ll harp about are the villain and Fish Mooney. In this one it’s a guy by the name of Gerald Crane, a regular at a support group for people with crippling phobias. He never is presented as a real threat and, well…this part sums up the worst of this episode- he used freakin pigs. A guy had a phobia of pigs. And they used it. Pigs. That’s right, there’s no typo there- pigs. Now, I get it, having a phobia of pigs may be a real and truly frightening thing- I’m not knocking those people. But it is absolutely horrible on a show like Gotham that revels in its darkness and mystery. It was really just laughable.

I'm sorry, how can you be afraid of these cute wittle guys!
I’m sorry, how can you be afraid of these cute wittle guys!

As for Fish Mooney…ah, Fish, Fish, Fish…what can I say. I don’t like her character. There, I said it. It’s overacted by Jada Pinket Smith, the character herself is just all over the place and really, really unlikeable. In the first scene, she’s in a phone booth on a highway…even though when we left her last episode she was being taken to the docks by Detective Bullock. Next scene she is in the middle of the ocean on a cargo vessel (I think) and…and it just doesn’t make any sense to the rest of the story. The final scene, however, is the worst offender- the vessel gets taken over by pirates. The pirate captain see’s Fish and, instead of shooting her like any good pirate would do, meets her in a charge that is, simply put, bad. He has a gun. She doesn’t. They scream at each other and then run like their gonna butt heads mountain goat style. Considering how well the rest of the episode ended (Dr. Thompkins possibly getting her position as M.E., Bullock maybe having a love interest in support group sponsor Scottie Mullens) it really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Get it? Did you guys get it?
Get it? Did you guys get it?

I’ve actually never really liked the taste of fish, come to think of it…

Overall: A grab bag of episode ideas badly crammed together, mixed in with a few truly well done scenes. 2 out of 5 nerdits.


The Good Leslie-Thompkins

Two scenes with Penguin/Maroni and Jim/Bruce/Alfred that really show how great these writers can be.

Morena Baccarin doesn’t enter into your view- she floats on a ray of light and beams with every movement.

I was really glad to see Ed Nygma finally get his revenge on that douche-baggy M.E.

The Bad

Okay, gosh, where do I begin…:

julian-sands-gotham-foxFlirting with the only person the victim of a murder knew is really tasteless and tacky, Harvey.

Really? A pig phobia? I’m sorry, that’s just too silly!

Fish’s boat scenes made no sense and were poorly done.

Bad villain

Penguin’s escape from near certain death reeked of Deus Ex Machina.

It was too formulaic.

The last scene left a very bad taste in my mouth.

The Neurotic01agood nygma

Okay, I want to take this time to address two commercials, very briefly. First of all- screw you Budweiser. Those “fussy” beer makers are hard working individuals fighting against corporate conglomerates like yourself. Way to piss all over the little man. Secondly…what the hell was weight watchers thinking? ‘Oh lets compare food to a drug and then show the stoners all of munchies that are out there!’ Actually, I really liked that commercial, it just struck me as a bit funny.

Jim. Jim, listen to me. Jim. When Inara freakin Sera is sitting across from you on a romantic dinner for two, you don’t discuss business. You just don’t.

God dammnit Ed Nygma is adorable when he fails horribly at flirting with Ms. Cringle!


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