Season One, Episode Fourteen – “The Fearsome Dr. Crane”
By Jarrod Jones. With the premiere of Gotham‘s fourteenth episode, it dawned on me that there are still eight more weeks left to Bruno Heller’s wildly misguided tour through Gotham City. And with the looming prospect of the Red Hood Gang making their first appearance by the end of Season One – to say nothing of the upcoming first appearance of a certain future sidekick’s acrobat father – Jonathan Crane’s introduction to the world of Gotham almost seemed like a nice, subtle flourish. (Well, no it didn’t, but it’s exhausting to cast this much shade.)
WHAT WORKED: Donal Logue will always be Gotham‘s saving grace. The big lug always conveys just the right amount of saltiness so as to sate my own palpable irritability, and his subplot with Scottie Mullen (Maria Thayer) provided a glimmer of honesty in the ink-black pool of artifice that is Gotham. And though Scottie’s character is ultimately (and unsurprisingly) used as the archaic damsel-in-distress, I look forward to seeing her again, if for nothing else than to provide Bullock with something more to do than hone his already razor-sharp wit.
WHAT DIDN’T: Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) have about the same amount of chemistry as a male and a female gorilla tossed into captivity. The show never bothers with pathos (which, at this point, fine), but when we aren’t given any other reason as to why two people should be attracted to each other than “because the pieces fit”, there’s a serious problem.
BEST LINE: “Get your hand out of that corpse.” – Capt. Essen.
BEST MOMENT: The Game of Truth, as played by Penguin and Sal Maroni. Placing two of the strongest actors on Gotham in a room together is always a great idea, and as the relationship between ‘Boss’ Maroni (David Zayas) and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) quickly deteriorates (thanks to a way-too-perfectly-timed phone call from Fish Mooney), a baffling trip out to the countryside for some instant coffee and oatmeal gives the two men plenty of time to suss out the real problems between them.
Considering that we know Penguin will live to confound the Batman another day, and Sal has a date with destiny alongside Harvey Dent in about a decade or so, is beside the point. When the writing team allows tension to emanate from two great actors who are obviously enjoying themselves, drama occurs naturally. And when that happens (which is not often), Gotham becomes sinful entertainment in spite of itself. This time around, it was all thanks to Taylor and Zayas.
Which, conveniently enough, brings us to our…
EPISODE’S MVP: David Zayas’ Salvatore Maroni is a consistent highlight in a show known to eschew proper characterization and poignancy. Zayas’ performance as ‘Boss’ Maroni – with all the macho, honor-bound masculinity that goes with it – brings gravity to a show that would otherwise swallow it whole.
TO THE BATCAVE:
– Bon voyage, Fish. Don’t let the ocean hit you on the ass on your way out.
– Dr. Crane’s alias is ‘Todd’. There is no such thing as an English person named ‘Todd’. No, prove it. (And “Sweeney” doesn’t count.)
– Still no Barbara Kean this episode. You see me complaining?
– Selina is spotted crunchin’ and munchin’ on Fruit Brute cereal. Tell me I’m not the only person who noticed this.
– “Mr. Nygma? You owe me a pencil.” Now, Ms. Kringle, you are officially toying with poor Eddie.
– “Let’s talk about this new job… over dinner?” – Gordon. Let’s clear a couple of things up: first, Gordon has no game. Second, I’m pretty sure hiring a new forensic scientist for the GCPD would be level-jumping on your already tenuous career, Jimbo.