Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gotham Recap: The Scarecrow

It’s time for the second installment of the Scarecrow two-parter on Gotham! We’d like to remind readers that Gotham contains adult content and viewer discretion is advised. Spoilers ahead!

Jim Gordon is on his third date with Lee. As they’re leaving the restaurant, she gives him some exciting news — she’s going to be working at the GCPD as their new medical examiner. Jim, however, does not look too excited about this prospect, despite the fact that he was the one to suggest she try for the job in the first place. Once she’s at work, Eddie becomes quite fond of Lee. Harvey, however, seems to share Jim’s fear that her working at the station is not the best idea. It turns out these fears are not unfounded. Lee starts kissing Jim at work, which he feels is unprofessional. Not only does she get upset when he confronts her on this, she doesn’t seem willing to stop, instead saying she’ll just be more discreet.

For the first time since his parents’ death, Bruce is hiking alone to a spot where he and his dad used to camp and watch the sunrise. Once there, the memories cause him to become angry. He accidentally falls down the hill, spraining his ankle. He makes a splint for his ankle and slowly climbs back up the hill. At the top, he sees Alfred waiting for him at a campfire. The two stay together and watch the sun come up.


Oswald tells Falcone about the events that transpired between him and Maroni. With Maroni set on killing the Penguin, Oswald begs Falcone for his protection. Falcone, however, only seems interested in discussing the club Fish left behind. Oswald panics at first, thinking Falcone is unwilling to help him. But Falcone reveals he plans on giving the club to him. He says since Oswald is working for him publicly now, he’ll take care of Maroni.

Oswald begins redecorating the club and getting it ready for his grand opening. He orders Gabe to send out the invitation cards, except for one special one he wants to give in person — Jim Gordon’s. Oswald heads to the station. He’s disappointed to find Jim isn’t there at the moment, so he decides to wait for him to return. During the wait, he notices that Eddie is watching him, and becomes suspicious.


Eddie, who has heard of the Penguin before, approaches him and tries to get him to solve one of his riddles. Oswald doesn’t trust Eddie and orders him to leave him alone.

Finally, Jim returns. To Oswald’s disappointment, however, he is not interested in the invitation. He alsoasks if Jim needs any help solving his case, but Jim tells him he never wants help from Oswald again. Oswald gets very upset at this.


He asks Jim to reconsider, but the detective instead throws his invitation away.

Falcone takes Maroni out for lunch and a walk as part of his plan to stop him from killing Oswald. Maroni tells him it won’t work, and asks why Falcone is so intent on keeping the Penguin alive. Falcone replies that it’s because Oswald is clever —  clever enough to know he’ll never be the boss or try to usurp his power. Falcone offers Maroni a judge by the name of Chief Judge Stanley Turnbull. Turnbull once put down friends of Maroni; and, in exchange for agreeing not to kill Penguin,  Falcone will give the judge freely to Maroni to torture. He accepts the offer.

Maroni visits Oswald’s club. He says that, as long as Oswald doesn’t tell Falcone any of his secrets, Maroni will leave him alone. That is, as long as Falcone stays alive to protect him.


Meanwhile, the GCPD is still working to catch the killer from Scottie’s support group. Yet another victim, this time a man by the name of Todd English, has appeared missing his adrenal glands. Harvey is searching English’s yearbook for familiar faces, when he finds a photo of the killer — a biology teacher by the name of Gerald Crane. At the school, they talk with the woman in charge, and discover Crane has not been seen at the school or his house for some time now. They ask her to tell them more about Crane. She says he was a very somber man ever since his wife died in a car accident years ago.

The detectives ask if he ever mentioned phobias. This question seems to stand out to her, and she asks them if any phobics have been killed and their adrenal glands taken. It turns out Crane wrote an academic paper he asked her to proof which discussed his theory that fear was an evolutionary flaw and the cause of all crime. He wanted to create a vaccination that would erase fear from people forever, starting with himself and his son. Thus his desire to obtain the hormones inside his victims’ adrenal glands.

Harvey wants to get Oswald’s help with the case, but Jim refuses. Instead he suggests their next step be to try to understand Crane’s motivation better. They research the death of Crane’s wife and discover she didn’t die in a car accident after all. She died in a house fire. They also discover that Dr. Crane and his son were both in the house at the time of the fire, and no one had been brave enough to go upstairs and save her in time.


At the remains of the old house, Gerald Crane is mixing his serums and injecting himself with them, facing hallucinations of his wife’s death as he tries to cure himself of the fear of his own failure. Finally, the cure seems to have worked, as he faces a vision of his wife begging for help with complete apathy. He then turns to his son Jon, telling him it’s his turn now. Crane begins a series of vaccinations on Jon, which his son finds extremely traumatic. He begs his father not to give him any more injections, since he never suffered from fear like his father did anyway. Crane replies that all people suffer from fear, and all people need to be cured of it.

Jim and Harvey find the address of the old house and arrive just as Crane is about to give Jon another injection. The Cranes hear the detectives coming and evacuate the house, taking the serum with them. Outside, Dr. Crane injects all of the serum into his son, despite the fact that it is meant to be injected in small doses over a period of time. As the serum takes over his body, all Jon can see is the scarecrow kept on the grounds looming over him.


With his son writhing on the ground, Dr. Crane faces off the two detectives. Jim and Harvey threaten to shoot Crane; but since he can no longer experience fear, he threatens to shoot them instead. The detectives have no choice but to kill Crane. They then call an ambulance for his son.

Jim visits the hospital to check on Jon. The doctor says the boy was given a massive dose of the serum, which included some compound they are still trying to identify. He’ll live, but his brain was deeply affected by the serum, perhaps permanently. Jon now exists in a constant state of extreme terror, every minute hallucinating that he’s being attacked by possessed scarecrows.


This side effect, they fear, may never go away.

Fish Mooney, meanwhile, wakes up to find herself in a sort of prison where the pirates have brought her. Two men come to give her trouble, but she frightens them off with threats. She also befriends a fellow prisoner, Kelly, who teaches her how things work at the prison. Fish discovers that the head prisoner is a man named Mace, whose power lies in the fact he’s the only one there in possession of a knife. She strikes up a conversation with Mace, insinuating she’ll be his lover in exchange for his protection. When he agrees to this and pulls her onto his lap, she pretends to caress him, only to steal his knife and stab him to death.


A door opens and a former prisoner is thrown back in, only to reveal that her eyes have been stolen from her.

Final Thoughts: 

I thought this episode was really well done. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favorites so far. All the subplots were interesting and well handled. I really like the tension going on right now between Jim and Oswald. Oswald wants Jim to be his friend so badly. And his reaction to Jim’s rejection was even more eerie and threatening than Eddie's ever were after Kristen Kringle’s rejections.


I find it interesting that both Oswald and Eddie seem to have their emotions shaped right now by somehow pining after someone who doesn’t want them back.

And speaking of Oswald and Eddie, the scene between the two of them was well worth the wait. It was very apparent that Oswald did not like Eddie at all. Eddie, on the other hand, was a bit harder for me to read. It seemed at first like he was very interested in the Penguin, maybe even to the point of admiration. He said he had heard of him before. Perhaps he read some file on him at the time Oswald was arrested in “Rogues’ Gallery”. At any rate, I could definitely feel an air of rivalry between the two of them once Oswald told him to leave. Eddie’s friendly attitude left at that point, but I don’t think his admiration did. It wouldn’t surprise me if his just-blossoming inner evil persona has already marked the Penguin down as a worthy opponent.


Of course, I also really loved the scenes between Alfred and Bruce. Their friendship is so impressively portrayed each and every episode. A lot of people suspected that, during the walk, Bruce was going to happen upon the Batcave; especially after he fell down the hill. But I think it’s a bit early in the series for that, and apparently the Gotham showrunners agreed with me.

Jon Crane, I would have to say, is the most tragic figure on the show so far. His new existence — constant terror every second without rest — is unimaginable. And it’s made even more heart-wrenching by the fact that none of this is his fault. There are other villains on the show that are strongly sympathetic, but they are all guilty of something; they have all, on some level, chosen their fate. This isn’t the case with Jon Crane, whose transformation into the Scarecrow so far has been entirely his father’s doing. It can’t even be said that Jon is guilty of being irresponsible or gullible in accepting the serum injections, since he did all he could to fight the injections in the end, but was overpowered.


I really hope we see more of Jon soon. While I don’t expect his life to improve (he does have to become the Scarecrow, after all), I really want to know what the characters around him will do with him now that he is in this state and has no father to care for him.

 The relationship between Jim and Lee, as we know, will ultimately fail. And it looks like this episode gave us our first glimpse at their incompatibility. Both of them have their own idea of what is and isn’t appropriate behavior at work. But Lee, it seems, is unwilling to hold back affection, even when it makes Jim feel uncomfortable.

Interestingly, this is the second episode in a row in which Harvey alluded to some past romantic relationship he had that failed miserably. I wonder if the writers are leading up to something there. Also, where is Scottie? What happened between her and Harvey once he got her to safety? Will we see her again?

I am also curious about the woman whose eyes have been stolen from her. Is she the blind fortuneteller alluded to in the title of next week’s episode? Who took her eyes, and what do they want with them? Could this be the beginning of the Dollmaker subplot?

What’s To Come: 

There’s a ton of stuff to look forward to in the next episode of Gotham. We’ll get another appearance from Oswald’s mother (I’ve heard news that the actress, Carol Kane, has joined another show. Does that mean this will indeed be her last episode of Gotham? Or will we still get to see the relationship between her and her son explored more?), we’ll get to meet the Graysons, and most importantly…Jerome.

What with the preview, and the exciting news being spread everywhere, you may have already heard what’s so special about Jerome. But if you haven’t, it’s rumored that Jerome is the young man destined to become the Joker, Batman’s most infamous foe. The only questions that remains is… Is this really the future Joker? Or is this one of the long-expected red herrings? All of the news about him being the future Joker seems very official so far. But is that part of the trick? Perhaps Jerome is meant to distract us before a glimpse of the true Joker is brought out of the shadows.

At any rate, I hope Jerome does turn out to be the real deal. I haven’t seen the performance yet; but so far, Cameron Monaghan looks like a perfect casting choice. And if the previews are anything to go by, it would be a shame to waste him for a red herring.


So, what else is coming up on the show? We’ll get an appearance from the Red Hood, we’ll meet an old friend of Alfred‘s, and surprisingly, we‘ll see some kind of friendship blossom between Cat and Barbara of all people.

It’s no secret that Barbara is the most hated character among viewers. I can’t imagine how she and Cat get would get along, or what would bring them together in the first place. But it’ll be interesting to see if it redeems Barbara as a character at all.

Also, while this week was exciting due to Oswald finally meeting Eddie, there’s even more excitement to come. From what I’ve read, it’s very likely that Oswald will get to meet yet another interesting character: Bruce Wayne.


 So far, the two characters have been involved in completely separate subplots. I can’t imagine what circumstances would cause them to come in contact. But however it happens, I think it will be far more exciting than even Oswald’s confrontation with Eddie. Bruce, as a child, meeting a villain he’ll grow to fight. The only other villain he’s met so far has been Cat. And since she’s only his age and not yet a villain, meeting her was quite a different situation than meeting the already villainous adult Penguin. I can’t wait!


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