As we barrel toward the first season finale of “Gotham,” the show is creating a new sense of tension by exploring the intent and impact of a new character, the serial killer known as “the Ogre” (played by Milo Ventimiglia). As a result, some of the more regular subplots of the season, like Fish Mooney’s rivalry with Carmine Falcone and Penguin, has been pushed off to the side.
That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t plenty to keep things interesting, though. With Gordon and Bullock being directly threatened by the Ogre and with the two detectives making more progress into investigating him than anyone else before them, the killer has sought out a loved one of Gordon’s to teach him a lesson: namely, his ex-girlfriend, Barbara Kean (played by Erin Richards). Upon meeting the Ogre, Barbara clearly finds him fascinating, but ultimately dismisses him when the killer finds out that she’s no longer attached to Gordon, the man he wants to make suffer. Things take quite a turn, though, and we’re left on a cliffhanger to see how they might play out in the few remaining episodes.
The other major subplot concerned Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle taking it upon themselves to investigate the corruption in Wayne Enterprises. Bruce enlists Selina’s help at a Wayne charity ball to try and stel something from one of the company’s prominent executives, so that he can dig deeper into his family’s company and root out the parasitic corruption growing inside of it. Bruce also attempts to confront Selina over the events of last week’s episode, which saw Bruce tempted to commit murder, and Selina acting on Bruce’s temptation. While it seems a little too early for the future Batman to develop his “one rule” for his future war on crime, the way that the scene ultimately played out was more satisfying then I initially thought it would be. Still, though, this is evidence of the show’s potential overreach on the established Batman mythology, and hopefully they’ll tone it down a little bit by next season.
Perhaps the most shocking moment of the episode came at the hands of Edward Nygma, the future Riddler. In other media adaptations outside of the comics and the Batman: Arkham games, Riddler has been a tricky character to try and pull off. Even in the 1990’s “Animated Series” that featured John Glover as his primary vocal performer, Riddler didn’t make as much of an impact as other characters like the Penguin, Harley Quinn, or the Scarecrow. That said, Cory Michael Smith is portraying a vulnerable side to Edward Nygma that just had its first taste of criminality.
Nygma’s obsessiveness with riddles on this show has led to an extreme level of social awkwardness, making his adoration for a fellow GCPD office worker a difficult thing to try and process. This version of Nygma feels very strongly, though, and when the object of his affection is being mistreated by her current boyfriend, Nygma reacts strongly enough to push him toward a very serious crime. The reaction on Nygma’s face as he’s committing it is layered and nuanced: shock, followed by fear, quickly followed by anger and excitement. It’s unsettling, and could prove to be a pivotal point in Nygma’s slide toward becoming one of the city’s most notorious villains.
This week’s focus on the Ogre, though will likely be the main thread that’s picked up as we await the final few episodes of the season. It’s always good to hope that a season ends on a high note, and thankfully, “Gotham” is trending in that direction in its debut year.
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