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Gotham S1.19 "Beasts Of Prey" Review

Cat kills, Fish is shot, Gordon threatens to bring down Commissioner Loeb in front of the whole station and Penguin smells a bat… It sounds like the ingredients for a classic episode but sadly this is a TV soufflé that sags.

Possibly it tries to do too much and so each storyline feels a little thin. Despite being played by a major guest star, the Ogre – so far – doesn’t feel a substantial or interesting enough threat to justify a multi-episode arc. The most interesting aspect of Gordon’s story this week is actually that he’s once again being stitched up by Loeb; disappointingly, though, the wonderfully loathsome Commissioner only appears briefly and even then it’s only to be ranted at by Gordon. It’s a great rant, for sure, but Loeb would be a more worthy opponent if he were a little more visible on the show.

Fish, meanwhile, escapes the body farm with a bunch of fellow prisoners using a plan that must surely have Dr Dulmacher seriously considering cancelling his contract with his security firm. Quite what we’re supposed to make of the scenes in which Dulmacher finds Fish in his office holding a letter knife is unclear. Does he believe her lie about wanting to kill herself? In which case why would she sneak into his office to nick a letter knife? There must be easier ways, especially in a place full of sharp, pointy medical equipment. So is he, instead, stringing her along? In which case, why let her get so far with her plan?

Either way, it’s a bizarre scene, apparently mainly inserted just so Dulmacher can make his threat about turning Fish into something the world has never seen. That must be foreshadowing, right? And considering Fish’s name, we’re slightly worried what he might use it for inspiration.

Heart-To-Heart

The Ogre leaves a broken heart as his calling card after he kills. Which is probably why, in one of his flashbacks, he appears to be drinking a cocktail known as a “Broken Heart”.

Then we have Bruce’s search for Reggie, a plot line that, until its unexpected conclusion, is about as exciting as waiting for a bus. Cat works out that “shooting gallery” is a euphemism about a week after the audience and immediately they find Reggie, high on his earnings from Wayne Enterprises, easily interrogatable and stupid enough to lean really far out of a window.

The shots of Bruce restraining himself from shoving Reggie out of the window are mildly amusing as David Mazouz looks like someone’s farted while he’s playing a game of blind man’s buff. Luckily Cat is more successful, and the effects of Reggie plummeting to his death are effective, but somehow the deed feels less shocking than the writers clearly mean it to be. Hell, Bruce performing his first roof-to-roof jump a few episodes back felt more momentous.

Penguin is as watchable as ever, though again, his storyline this week feels like so much padding; it’s a means to an end that could have been dealt with in a single scene. Instead we get some random finger-pruning, overacted weeping and broad-strokes cultural stereotypes, which are… okay, but the show can be much more inventive and surprising than this when it wants to be.

It’s by no means a poor episode of Gotham, it simply falls far short of the standards it has rises to recently. There’s a “first draft” feeling to most scenes, as if, this late in the season, there wasn’t time for the showrunner to come in and go, “Yeah, it’s fine, it does the job, but how about doing the job in style?” Then again, said showrunner was hopefully busy making the sure season finale was being done in style.

At least Barbara wasn’t in the episode, which is always a bonus.

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Best Line

Gabe: “You want me to shoot his fingers?”

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It’s Wossisname

Milo Ventimiglia, who here plays the Ogre, is best known for playing Peter Petrelli in Heroes. His previous comic book acting experiences include voicing Wolverine for the English language versions of the Iron Man and Wolverine animes.

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The Catcher

Okay, this is a real stretch but could “the Catcher” be an embryonic version the the Batman comics villain The Ratcatcher (first appearance in Detective Comics #585, 1988)? We only ponder this because “the Catcher” is given slightly more prominence than “just another guest star” and looks like he could reappear at some point. More likely he’s a completely new villain invented for the show, though…

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Patchworks

Whoever the Catcher is, he buys his security guards’ badges from a military surplus supplies company called Rothco.

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52-Spotting

This is something we usually do over on the weekly Flash reviews, where they love inserting little references to DC’s New 52 line of comics. In Gotham it may just be a coincidence but we’d like to think not.

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Best Moment

The episode’s highlight, bizarrely, had nothing to do with any of the storylines and could easily have been edited out without making any difference. But that brief moment when the Penguin and Bruce unknowingly passes with inches of each other was strangely thrilling.

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Ominous Sign

Considering that Jada Pinkett Smith has said that she won’t be in season two of Gotham, are we reading too into the fact that when she’s shot, she’s sitting just above a sign saying, “EXIT”?

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Unexpected Guest Star (Sort Of…)

Was Edward G Betlow cast as the police chief because he does a creditable impression of Chief O’Hara from ’60s Batman?

WriterKen Woodruff
DirectorEagle Egilsson
THE ONE WHEREGordon is tricked by Loeb into investigating The Ogre, a serial killer known to retaliate by killing cops loved ones. Meanwhile, Fish attempts an escape from the Dollmaker and Bruce searches for the man who stabbed Alfred.

More Info

GenreAction
Description

Inexplicably good tie-in to the 1989 Batman film. What a soundtrack!

PlatformNES