If meeting the future Two-Face and Poison Ivy hasn’t been enough for you on Gotham, say hello to another villain Batman will one day face: the Scarecrow. He, however, isn’t the bad guy in this episode, “The Fearsome Dr. Crane.” He’s the son of the bad guy. For right now, Jonathan Crane, aka the future Scarecrow, seems like a mopey teenager working alongside a psychopathic father.
Along with that, there are a lot of other plotlines to deal with. Two of them are vaguely interesting, and of those two, neither involves Jim Gordon.
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Gordon Fights the Future Scarecrow’s Father
The episode opens with Gerald Crane lowering a man strapped to a chair over the side of a building with a — pun most likely very intended — crane. Crane places a noose around his neck and, after checking his pulse, cuts him loose and lets the man die by hanging, half a dozen floors below.
Later, Bullock and Nygma are at the crime scene. Nygma tells the Chief that there’s a hole in the victim’s abdomen after he died, as if the killer took something from him.
And then, just in case we didn’t understand the Chief when she told Bullock to be careful after the arrest of Flass in the last episode, we get some really awkward shots of people staring at Bullock.
Back at the precinct, the victim’s sponsor comes to see Bullock. Apparently, they were in a group for people with phobias and the dead victim’s was heights. Bullock then proceeds to basically flirt with and hit on the sponsor, Scottie Mullen, as a way to get an invite to the next group session. It’s awkward and kind of icky, but I guess we should expect that kind of behavior from Bullock.
Crane, meanwhile, goes after his next victim. To capture someone who is apparently scared of pigs, he calmly walks toward the man while holding a pig, while another man knocks him out and throws him into a van.
Bullock and Gordon are able to find the second victim, albeit a bit late. When they arrive at the warehouse where he’s being kept, they hear screaming and find the victim tied to a chair, with pigs wandering around his feet while the henchman tortures him while wearing a pig mask. It all looks pretty ridiculous. Bullock and Gordon shoot the pig masked man dead.
Later on, Gordon asks the Chief for Nygma to take a look, but the Chief says he’s been suspended. (More on that below.) Gordon doesn’t trust the medical examiner, however, after that “suicide” he declared in the last episode. Now that, that is interesting. The idea that the corrupt cops and system work against Gordon everywhere he turns. Unfortunately, the show quickly pivots away from that idea when the Chief simply says she’s glad they took down Flass, but now everyone is being watched.
(Hey, speaking of, what happened to Delaware after the previous episode’s ending?)
Since he can’t go to the medical examiner, Gordon decides to ask Leslie for help. He asks her out on a date — and wow, she looks great — but Leslie is quickly disappointed to realize Gordon just wants her help. He then admits that it was a pretext and “I’m a little rusty.” So it is a date.
Unfortunately, it’s a quick one as Gordon has to go when he receives a call that the second victim has woken up and said he was abducted by two men. Leslie says she’ll look into the case as Gordon kisses her goodbye.
Bullock, meanwhile, meets Crane at the support group and learns Scottie’s phobia: swimming pools. During the group session, Bullock says he’s afraid of dying in an alley and gives a great little monologue about what he’s most afraid of. Crane goes next. He says his name is Todd and that he inherited an illness from his father and he’s afraid of passing it on to his son. He doesn’t go into details, and when his emotions get the best of him, he walks out.
Crane uses this as an opportunity to abduct Scottie. Bullock and Gordon realize he’s going to take Scottie to the place she almost drowned at as a kid, figuring that’s where he’s planning to kill her.
At the swimming pool, Crane’s son, Jonathan (the man who will be Scarecrow), comes running in. He looks disgusted by what his dad is doing, but he’s not surprised by it and he’s not doing anything to stop him. (I hope they have a good reason on why the heck this relationship is the way it is.)
“It’s for humanity,” the elder Crane tells his son. “I know,” says Jonathan.
Crane throws Scottie in the pool after Jonathan leaves and she starts to drown. Bullock and Gordon come in and engage in a shoot-out with Crane. Gordon chases Crane, while Bullock frees Scottie, who survives. Crane, however, gets away.
Later, Leslie tells Gordon what Crane was removing from his victims — their adrenal glands, which produce the hormone that gives us “fight or flight.” Basically, he wants to scare people during their death so he can manufacture the chemical, which I’m assuming his son will one day use as his main weapon as the Scarecrow.
Gordon then offers Leslie a possible new job at the precinct and Leslie makes Gordon kiss her in front of his co-workers.
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Maroni and Penguin Square Off
At the beginning of the episode, Maroni and Penguin are actually enjoying each other’s company. They’re having some champagne and celebrating the downfall of Fish, even if Maroni is unhappy that Penguin took her club without permission. Fish ruins their meal by calling Maroni from a phone booth and telling him that Penguin has been working for Falcone all along.
Maroni doesn’t believe her at first, but she’s able to eventually convince him enough that he decides he and Penguin should take a trip upstate. They enjoy a meal together and Maroni eventually goes out for firewood. When he returns, he tells Penguin he wants to talk and he wants them to be honest with each other. They play a secret telling game, but Penguin gives up only lame secrets like disliking oatmeal.
What starts off as a horribly-written scene that even brings up the lame zookeeper remark from Maroni a few episodes ago suddenly became an incredibly tense one as Penguin reveals one good secret: “I took your gun.” Maroni’s last secret, however, is the best: “That gun is loaded with blanks.”
Penguin opens fire on Maroni, and it turns out he was telling the truth. Maroni then knocks Penguin out, ending one of the best scenes on the show to date.
When Penguin awakens in a trash yard, Maroni wants him to beg for his life. Penguin promises to find out what Falcone wants with Indian Hill, the toxic dump that’s been mentioned in past episodes. But Maroni doesn’t want to hear it and puts Penguin in a car that’s to be crushed.
Just as the car is about to be crushed fully, Penguin calls Maroni and continues to offer up intel on Arkham and Indian Hill. Maroni refuses, so Penguin spots a billboard for the salvage yard and calls the owner, who is the one operating the machine currently crushing him.
Penguin tells him he works for Falcone and that he called Falcone — not true — and that if Penguin dies, Falcone will kill him and his family. The salvage yard owner believes him, stops the machine and runs off. Maroni, instead of going after Penguin, chases the owner and fails to kill him. By the time he gets back to the crushed car, Penguin has, of course, escaped.
He is awoken by an African American church group in a park and hitches a ride back with them to Gotham.
Bruce is Going to Investigate His Parent’s Murder
Selina is still hanging out in Gordon’s apartment apparently, but in this episode, he actually catches her. She tells Gordon what she told Bruce in the last episode: namely, that she didn’t actually see anything relevant at the Wayne murder.
Gordon goes to see Bruce, who tells him that he believes Selina when she says she didn’t see the killer. Bruce even releases Gordon from his promise to find the killer and says, “I’ll pursue the matter on my own.”
If he had said that line in the first episode or two, I would have groaned. But given that Bruce and Alfred, inexplicably, are often linked to some of the best scenes of any episode, I’m actually intrigued to see where this goes.
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Nygma Takes a Step Closer to Becoming the Riddler
Nygma remains one of the show’s clumsiest interpretations of a future Batman villain. In this episode, we see him find just a little too much happiness in doing autopsies, something neither the Chief nor the medical examiner want him to do. Nygma even gets suspended after performing an illegal autopsy.
Nygma goes to see Kringle, who was crying and won’t say why. (We never learn in this episode why. I wonder if that will actually be an ongoing mystery.)
He tells her he was suspended and that he stole a pencil from her office. He wants to return it. He’s trying to come off sweet, but as usual, he comes off creepy.
And then … the plot takes a crazy left turn. Nygma breaks into the medical examiner’s locker to hide spare body parts. What?!
The plan works and Nygma is reinstated, while the medical examiner is asked to leave. Kringle celebrates this news with a smile and asks Nygma for a new pencil. Ewww.
Fish Faces a New Enemy
Fish isn’t in the episode much, aside from warning Maroni about Penguin. She’s on a boat, heading out of Gotham.
That is, until she’s awoken by gunfire. She gets out of her bed and faces off against an African American guy who looks like some kind of military officer. The episode ends with him and Fish lunging at each other.
I have zero idea who he might be from the Batman mythos. Anyone want to wager any guesses?
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)