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GOTHAM’s Fear Factor

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GOTHAM: Logo.
Episode 114 “The Fearsome Dr. Crane”

[Photos: Jessica Miglio/FOX]

Well, I’m not sure how I missed an episode, but it appears I missed an episode. Hm. I saw it. I know I saw it. This white hair isn’t here for nothing, folks….

Moving on.

First: about last week — Butch is in a whole mess o’ trouble. And having corrupt cop Arnold Flass in this world? I was wondering when he’d show up, since Bullock has essentially taken his Batman: Year One job for the run of the show. And with Gordon going after corrupt cops, where are Allen and Montoya? Really, show?

OK. This week: Fish is on a boat. Probably not Commodore Schmidlapp’s boat, although that would have been a fun touch in keeping with the more tongue-in-cheek elements of the show.

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Now, we don’t get much with Fish this week; nor do we get anything with Butch, so we’re left to speculate what’s going on with him (is he maybe in that same place Penguin stashed Preppy College Boy?). But the implication is that he’s going to be taken back to Falcone for questioning before getting tortured and killed by Victor Zsasz.

Fish, meanwhile, calls Maroni from the boat and tells him that Penguin is in Falcone’s pocket. This prompts Maroni to take Penguin to the cabin in the woods, where they’re going to meet a guy about a thing. Only there is no guy. There is no thing.

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The scene between Maroni and Penguin works on several levels, both from a story aspect and a performance factor. David Zayaz and Robin Taylor are in fine form here, verbally fencing while maneuvering for advantage over the other. It’s a fun bit to watch. And when Maroni puts Penguin in the car crusher, only for Oswald to call the crusher operator from inside the car, is classic Penguin (at least for this show).

No scenes with Barbara this week, either. And she’s not missed.

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But Montoya and Allen are still nowhere in sight, and this is starting to get a little ridiculous after all of the effort made on their behalf at the beginning of the season. If they’re still the only two honest cops in Gotham, why haven’t we seen them investigating Flass? Why weren’t they around when Gordon confronted Commissioner Loeb? Why weren’t they involved when a witness conveniently stabbed himself in the back? Where were they when Gordon and Bullock are working a serial killer case? Aren’t any of these “major” crime?

Gordon and Bullock, for their part, handle the case as well as they handle everything else: with a bit of luck and Gordon’s bullheaded approach to his case work. Harvey, however, shows that he can actually adapt to circumstances, taking it upon himself to infiltrate the phobia support group where our serial killer is finding his victims. Yes, he’s doing it to impress the hot redhead in charge of the group, but it’s a decent bit of police work. And he thought of it all on his own.

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Red has a fear of drowning in a pool, which is where Gordon and Bullock find her after Dr. Todd Crane throws her in. Crane is the second generation researcher looking into fear and its effect on the human body. Getting his victims up to a state of total panic, he removes their adrenal glands immediately after death. It’s something that Ed Nygma, who is not the medical examiner, finds when he examines one of the bodies. This gets him suspended, of course, because Essen just can’t cover for his eccentricities anymore. He’s CSI, something the captain has to repeatedly remind him, and now he’s finally gone too far and crossed into someone else’s purview one too many times.

Only Nygma has the last laugh, as he makes it seem as if said coroner has been stealing body parts.

This build-up of Nygma seems odd in the grand scheme of Gotham, which is essentially an origin story for Jim Gordon and the Penguin. The crime thriller and cop procedural dominate the show, and occasionally we’ll have this bit with Nygma. It’s an odd bit of writing, as it’s hardly connected to anything else in the show, and only intersects on occasion. The potential romance between Nygma and Miss Kringle (and really, who is she?) serves as a counterpoint to everything else, but it’s not always a clean fit. It works in this episode, but it doesn’t always.

The introduction of Crane as a second-generation serial killer makes for an interesting story choice, as we get the beginning threads of another Batman villain without the actual Batman villain. Todd Crane is not the Scarecrow, and while we see Jonathan Crane in one brief bit, he doesn’t have anything to do with this sequence of events outside of putting change in the parking meter.

Bruce, back from his trip to Switzerland (maybe that’s where Montoya and Allen have gone…), is figuring out new ways to investigate the murder of his parents. He releases Gordon from his promise of solving the case, and we see even more how this kid could grow up into the stone cold manhunter we know as the Dark Knight Detective.

The hour wraps up back on Commodore Schmidlapp’s boat, which comes under attack from … persons unknown. And we’re left with Fish and an armed assailant going MMA on each other.

Next week: more with the Crane Family Band.

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[Show Web Site at FOX]     [Previous Recap: 112 “What A Little Bird Told Him”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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