Episode Title: Beasts of Prey
Original Airdate: 4-13-15
After another brief hiatus, Gotham is back to finish up the season with its last four episodes. And while it once again has some rather eye-rolling moments, I did quite enjoy much of this episode, especially the way it handed some nice parallels with its multiple storylines. It has quite a few things to juggle as it returns, but it doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of things with Gordon playing boy scout detective and Little Bruce playing plain old boy scout. The biggest point of contention which it often is would be the entire Fish Mooney arc which plays up to ridiculous heights as it appears to be coming to some sort of conclusion. It was also unfortunate that the best part of the episode which involved the serial killer played by Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia was shown through a bit of an odd choice of flashback.
I have to start out with Fish Mooney, I just have to. First off, I completely don’t understand why she’s taken to wearing this bathrobe outfit constantly. When she first wore it, it seemed like an alright choice for just after surgery, but it makes less sense that she continues to wear it afterwards. Besides that, she appears to have the complete run of the Dollmaker’s island as she plots her escape, but since this is Fish Mooney we’re talking about, we don’t get anything resembling the Great Escape or anything. Instead she plays off her escape attempt in one of the most ridiculous acting-within-acting moments where she recalls nightmares of the Dollmaker’s creation. There were only two moments within her mini arc in this episode that I enjoyed, the first was how she used the thug prisoners as bait, playing them for a fool shortly before we realize that Gordon was also being used as bait by the officer who put him onto the serial killer’s case which in turn will risk the lives of anyone close to him. The second part that I enjoyed was when she got shot, because it just may be a fatal wound and the end of her character. Sorry Fish fans.
But the main arc of this episode surrounds the serial killer known as the Ogre. It combines a couple of the things that I do still enjoy about this show, one is the procedural aspect of it where Gordon and Bullock do some actual investigative work to track down this killer. The other is the psyche behind the villains, Ventimiglia does a great job playing both the suave ladykiller who picks up a cute woman at a bar, as well as the psycho ladykiller wearing rubber gloves and taking a picture of his next victim. It’s these kinds of villains that are perfect for this show, he is slightly larger than life and theatrical, but there is also an element of realism to him. To me, the Ogre strikes that perfect balance of someone who isn’t quite a Batman villain, but is more interesting than any killer that would show up on a CSI or Law and Order. It also plays up nicely into his mini-war with Commissioner Loeb when he flat out confronts him in the middle of the police station, though it’s unclear why he was there in the first place.
And to wrap things up we also get to spend a little time with the Cat, Bat, and Bird. Penguin’s part was the weakest and really only existed to keep him as a part of the episode, and to reveal that his plan is to ultimately kill Don Maroni. On the other side of things, Baby Bruce gets a little help from Cat to track down Reggie or the man who stabbed Alfred. It was a little disappointing on a couple fronts, first off is that it kicked Alfred to the sidelines with his not-fully-healed knife wound, it also played up Bruce naivety where he didn’t understand Alfred’s reference to Reggie’s alcoholism. But what it really did that I don’t fully agree with is that it brought Bruce face to face with his urge to kill. He and Cat had Reggie dead to rights, bending out the window for an incredibly unreasonable amount of time while Bruce struggles with his desire to push him out the window before Cat takes the initiative from him and does it herself. It’s another one of those things that walks a fine line between being a perfect setup for Batman’s ideologies and going too far with it. I think it went just a little too far with it by making Cat into a killer this early and putting Bruce into this situation in the first place. The upside is that he does get the information about how he was on the right track, and those people who he is investigating are onto him, but they are also worried about him. It makes me very curious where Bruce will end up at the end of this season.