We’ve seen hints of future Batman villains on Gotham before. Sometimes, we’ve seen them fully formed, as is the case with Penguin. Other times, we’ve seen (a bit too much of) their future personalities, as we saw a very anger Harvey Dent years before he’ll become Two-Face.
In this episode, “The Scarecrow,” we see the future Scarecrow actually get created. While he’s years away from fighting Batman, he now exists and will one day conquer his fear, only to inflect it on others.
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The Scarecrow is Born
Even though he’s technically on the run from the police, Gerald Crane wastes no time going after his next victim — who happens to have taught at the same school he does. If you’re running from the cops, perhaps you choose victims not so close to home?
But Crane is desperate. We find out quickly that he is turning the adrenal glands he’s harvesting from his victims into something he can inject into himself. The first time we see him do so in this episode, he hallucinates a fire and a woman asking why he won’t help her.
Because Gerald kills so close to home, Bullock and Gordon quickly learn his real name and head to the school where he taught. One of Gerald’s co-workers tells them that Crane’s wife died in a car accident. She suddenly is concerned when she learns all the victims had phobias.
She shows them a paper Gerald wrote saying that fear was an evolutionary flaw and he was obsessed with it. He is trying to cure himself of it through inoculation — that’s what the injections are for.
Back at GCPD, Bullock and Gordon are discussing this theory with Nygma. As Gordon continues to read Gerald’s paper, he realizes that Crane was working on two inoculations — one for himself and one for someone else. Not surprisingly, that other person is Gerald’s son, Jonathan. As Gordon and Bullock decide what to do next, Crane is back at his house taking another inoculation. This time, he doesn’t collapse on the floor and is able to stare down the woman he’s hallucinating.
Later, Gerald gives another injection to Jonathan, who doesn’t want it but also doesn’t protest. Jonathan screams and panics as the hallucinations start.
Bullock and Gordon are still looking for their next lead and locate a newspaper article that tells the audience what we already knew — the woman from Gerald’s hallucinations was his wife and she died in a house fire, not a car accident.
(Why did that co-worker lie? Who knows? It’s never explained in the episode.)
Bullock and Gordon surmise that Gerald couldn’t save her in the fire because of fear and now he’s trying to cure himself (and his son) of fear permanently.
At the Crane house, Gerald is now easily able to face the hallucination of his wife and the house fire, but Jonathan has to run away from similar hallucinations. Gerald chases after him and finds Jonathan standing in front of their scarecrow — because of course he is. Jonathan refuses to continue the injections, but Gerald says he wants to help him and mankind. He convinces him to come back inside.
Bullock and Gordon eventually arrive at the Crane house. Gerald wants to complete the protocol first, but Jonathan wants to escape. They run out and hide in the hay and Gerald gives Jonathan a giant dose of the inoculation with the little time they have left. As he starts to hallucinate, Jonathan is staring right at the scarecrow and sees it as a monster. He starts to scream, and Bullock and Gordon catch up to them. They engage in a shoot-out with Gerald and kill him.
Gordon goes to see Jonathan in the hospital at the end of the episode. He’s now in a constant state of terror and the doctor warns Gordon that Jonathan might stay that way. Jonathan will only continue to see the thing that terrifies him every waking hour.
And what is it? We then see, from Jonathan’s point of view, a scary Scarecrow monster hovering around his hospital bed. Even if this seems really early in the show to “create” the Scarecrow, the effects look really, really cool.
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Fish Takes Over
Want to know who that man was that attacked Fish during the awesome ending in the previous episode? Tough. We don’t seem him this time. Fish is now kidnapped and held prisoner underground somewhere with what looks like someone who used to be a business man (named Kelly) and a bunch of other inmates who like to fight each other.
Within five minutes of being there, Fish is somehow able to scare away not one, but two guys who are bigger than her just by threatening them with words. Okay, sure.
Fish learns that someone named Mace is in charge inside this makeshift prison. I thought at first he was the guy that lunged at Fish at the end of the last episode, but he’s someone new. He also has the only weapon in the entire prison, so Fish quickly kills him after promising to be on his side. She then declares herself as the new person in charge to all who surround her.
And then someone new is brought in. A woman with her eyes cut out. I haven’t been able to determine if she’s a future Batman rogue … has anyone else? Leave a suggestion in the comments.
Bruce Goes On a Journey
After being one of the best parts of any episode before, Bruce is stuck with a boring plotline that sees him carrying on a father/son tradition of walking through the woods and … collecting rocks in a pile? Yes, this is a thing apparently — at least it was for Bruce and his father.
Alfred asks him not to go on his own, but he does. And after having a freak-out at the pile of rocks, Bruce trips and falls down a hill. For a second, I thought he’d fall into a cave filled with bats, but even the producers know better than to rush that storyline …
Bruce gets up and it looks like he broke his ankle. He makes something for his leg and prepares to hobble home when he stumbles upon Alfred, waiting for him at a campsite with a fire already going. Bruce wants to go home, but Alfred suggests staying for the sunrise, like he used to do with his dad.
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Maroni Forgives Penguin — For Now
A begging Penguin can often be a funny Penguin, as he is in the start of the episode when he’s begging Falcone to stop Maroni from coming after him.
Falcone answers that request by convincing him to fix up the club and even re-design it so it doesn’t “reek of Fish.” Falcone says Penguin can have the club, he’ll back him publically and he’ll take care of Maroni.
Falcone takes Maroni out for lunch and then a walk in the forest. Maroni is insistent that nothing will keep him from killing Penguin. Later, Maroni offers to leave Penguin alone for $200,000 and the head of a local judge Maroni hates. Falcone anticipated that and leads Maroni to a room where the judge is being framed for the murder of a young boy he was out with the night before. That seems awfully easy…
Maroni goes to see Penguin at his new club later. He tells Penguin everything is fine between them — except, as soon as Falcone is out of the picture, so is he.
Other Odds and Ends
— Despite Gordon’s sudden uneasiness with Leslie now working at the GCPD — even though it was his idea — they are, for all intents and purposes, a couple. Even if I know they’re not destined to end up as a couple despite the two actors’ chemistry, if this keeps Barbara off the show for the time being, I say roll with it.
— In yet another example of the producers rushing things, Penguin re-opens the club, now called Oswald’s, in the same episode Falcone requests it. Sigh.
— After deciding to re-open the club, Penguin decides to hand-deliver an invitation to Gordon, who refuses it and tells them they’re not friends. It’s a tense conversation — fairly well-written and acted too. The scene between Penguin and the future Riddler, however? Snore. They hate each other already. But it’s a clumsily written scene that’s over-hyped, and at the end of the day, it’s also unfortunately a scene between the show’s best future villain and the worst.
— Leslie invites Gordon to see the circus. So … we’re meeting Robin’s parents in the next episode then? I have to imagine we’ll see their death since this show loves to rush things.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)