Episode Title: The Scarecrow
Original Airdate: 2-9-15
After a string of episodes that I’ve really enjoyed, this episode goes right back down into more territory that I don’t quite find as appealing. While they had some good ideas with Jonathan Crane’s father, they turned it into a very not-subtle and ridiculous origin for Batman’s Scarecrow. Meanwhile Fish Mooney apparently lost that anime battle teased at the end of last week’s episode and is now in a weird prison, though apparently unharmed. There’s also the perils of an office romance, a new club owner, and a traditional hike in the woods that have various moments of their ups and downs.
Initially, I was actually on board with where they were going in Gerald Crane’s story. Throughout the episode we come to find out that he’s a man hiding from his own fear, as well as his guilt when his fear prevented him from saving the life of his wife during a house fire. He has spent the last several years trying to get past his fear, and has come to think of it as a disease that can be cured, or more specifically vaccinated against. He uses his fear vaccine to get over his own fear and guilt over the house fire, and wants to use it on his son to proactively cure him of fear for the rest of his life. Unfortunately this is where things take a turn for the worse, as the show decides to forego the subtle and hit you on the head with the Scarecrow foreshadowing, with the visual of the scarecrow itself, and how the fear vaccine goes wrong and now Jonathan Crane is in a constant state of terror. Seriously, apparently now the origin of the Scarecrow is someone who is constantly in a state of terror and probably spends the rest of his life trying to find a cure for his own ailment which causes him to go insane. It’s just a ridiculous concept that annoys me to no end.
And then there’s Fish Mooney in what I imagine is a prison belonging to the Dollmaker which was teased in an early episode and has officially been cast. She immediately goes into her training as a mob boss in order to take over this weird prison system. I honestly can’t really say too much about it, it was just weird for the most part and had Jada Pinkett hamming it up as usual. Then there’s the fledgling romance between Leslie Thomkins and Gordon which has already hit its first pitfall as James no longer wants to show any affection in the police station as it wouldn’t be professional. While I don’t expect this relationship to last very long considering the continuity, it had a very promising start in the last couple episodes. And unfortunately it seems to have already lost most of its zing as Gordon gets embarrassed and cold feet in a very awkward way.
The high point of the episode of course falls with one of my favorite characters. While Bruce goes on a traditional hiking trip for the first time without his father, he has a great moment with Alfred. I wasn’t expecting too much from the trip, as it started out nicely enough with him picking up a stone, as well as another one in honor of his father. But when he gets to the stone pile he has a fit of grief rage and ends up falling down a large hill, hurting his ankle. While I did think his makeshift split was a little far fetched as to how well it might have worked, he still ends up crawling all the way back up the hill to find Alfred waiting for him with a fire going, drinking tea. It’s just such a great character moment for Alfred on so many levels, it shows him stepping up to be more of a father figure as he takes Thomas’s place with Bruce to stay and watch the sunrise, but he’s also invested in making Bruce grow up strong as he watched him crawl up the hill instead of coming down to help him up, and he called Bruce a “cheeky monkey”, how can you not like that man? The biggest bright spot in an otherwise unsatisfying episode.