Only one episode remains in the inaugural season of Fox’s “Gotham,” and the stakes have increased considerably as we barrel toward the first season finale for the series.
This week, the story revolving around the serial killer known as the Ogre — played by “Heroes'” Milo Ventimiglia — wraps up in disturbing fashion. With the character sinking his proverbial claws into Jim Gordon’s ex-girlfriend Barbara Kean, Jim and Harvey Bullock are on a perilous and suspenseful quest to find the killer before he turns Barbara into his next victim. The investigation takes both cops to some of the grimiest corners of Gotham City, necessitating Jim to get even deeper in with the Penguin than he already is. This ultimately leads to a confrontation with the Ogre that plays out in a unique and unsettling way.
Also getting service in this episode is Edward Nygma’s act of murder committed against a GCPD officer, showing perhaps the first major push in his slide toward becoming the Riddler, one of the most notorious criminals in Batman’s eventual rogues’ gallery. Nygma reasons pretty clearly that getting rid of the body will help make his crime go away, and since he has access to the medical examiner’s office at the police department, he goes about disposal of the body in a decidedly quirky and interesting way. This all leads to a pretty classic Riddler-esque moment between Edward and the object of his affections, Miss Kringle, and should certainly leave a smirk on the faces of comics fans.
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the episode came when dealing with Bruce Wayne’s ongoing investigation into the corruption of his family’s company. An executive is one step ahead of him on this, and is ready to have something called “the talk” with the young heir to the Wayne fortune. While many popular shows today seem to revel in the underhandedness of many characters, “Gotham” takes a different approach by introducing someone virtuous into the corrupt framework of the company: Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk). Most Batman fans know that Lucius ends up being Bruce Wayne’s most important ally at his family’s company, and in this episode, Lucius is there to assuage the fears of young Bruce, who doesn’t want to believe that his father could be anything less than above-board.
The biggest impact of this episode, though, once again comes at the hands of the Penguin. Using his cunning and skills of manipulation to their full effect, Penguin engineers a new war between the two predominant factions of the mob. The way in which he pulls it off is appropriately clever, since the majority of the episode spends its time in building up an act of crime against Sal Maroni that the up-and-coming crime lord really shouldn’t attempt to try and pull off. The narrative takes an interesting twist, though, when it’s revealed just how Penguin uses the two most powerful criminals in the city as pawns against each other.
Overall, it was a satisfying penultimate episode, and the show is in a solid position to go out on a strong note as we wait for season 2 to arrive in the fall. Whether they deliver is another question entirely, but the stage is set for a finale that should prove to be, at the very least, an eventful one.
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