Gotham Review – S01E14 – The Fearsome Dr. Crane


Tonight’s episode of Gotham, titled The Fearsome Dr. Crane, moves along smoothly, but is sometimes hampered by convenient plot choices and unbelievable scenarios.  Predictable outcomes prevented what could’ve been a compelling episode.

Spoilerific Recap

A man drags his victim, Adam Jodowsky, who’s tied up in a chair, onto the ledge of a building rooftop.  The man ties a noose, connected to a pulley, around Jodowsky’s neck and quickly examines his heartbeat.  When Jodowsky wakes up, the man releases him, where he falls a short distance and is hanged.

Oswald Cobblepot celebrates with Sal Maroni the ousting of Fish Mooney.  Maroni soon receives a surprising phone call from Mooney, who reveals to him that Oswald has been Falcone’s man all this time.  Mooney tells Maroni to do a little digging himself if he doesn’t believe her.  Hanging up, Maroni fakes a business trip upstate and invites Oswald.

Harvey Bullock and Captain Sarah Essen are on the scene of the hanging.  Edward Nygma reveals that the victim had a post-mortem incision in his abdomen.  Essen orders the body to be checked by GCPD’s medical examiner.  Wrapping up their visit, Essen warns Bullock to watch his back because Flass (see Welcome Back, Jim Gordon) had a lot of friends.

James Gordon catches Selina Kyle taking up residence in Barbara Kean’s apartment.  Gordon offers to find Selina new shelter since she’s still a protected witness.  She tells him she lied about being a witness and runs.  Gordon tries to go after her, but she proves to be too quick.

Gordon visits Bruce Wayne and learns that Selina had already visited him, telling him she lied.  Bruce has lost faith in Gordon’s ability to catch the murderer, and releases Gordon from his promise.  Bruce will continue the investigation on his own.  Gordon tries to go after Bruce to change his mind, but is invited to leave by Alfred Pennyworth.

Oswald and Maroni reach their destination.  Over a meal, Maroni starts to question all the various events that had inconsistencies since the arrival of Oswald.  The conversation grows uncomfortable as Oswald gets hints that Maroni is on to him.

Scottie Mullen, Jodowsky’s phobia support group sponsor, arrives at GCPD to talk to Bullock.  Learning that Jodowsky had a fear of heights, Bullock suspects someone in the group may have been the perpetrator.  Throughout the conversation, Bullock, in his own awkward way, attempts to flirt and ask Mullen on a date.  Gordon arrives with a thin lead for the case.  Bullock, wanting to impress Mullen, jumps on it.

An elderly man exits his home and is immediately confronted by the murderer, now holding a piglet.  As the elderly man shows fear for the piglet, he tries to escape.  He’s quickly tasered by another man.  Unconscious, the elderly man is thrown into the back of a van.

Nygma is caught performing an unauthorized autopsy on Jodowsky by Essen and the medical examiner.  Infuriated that Essen never disciplines Nygma, the medical examiner threatens to go above her head.  Left with no options, Essen suspends Nygma.

Following the lead, Gordon and Bullock arrive at a chair factory.  As the two investigate the building, they have a humorous conversation about relationships.  Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream is heard.  The two run into a room where they’re confronted with a knife-wielding assailant in a pig mask about to kill the elderly man.  The assailant lunges towards them and Gordon and Bullock open fire, killing him.

On a barge leaving Gotham City, Mooney has been hiding out in comfort.

In a meeting with Essen, Gordon and Bullock reveal the latest victim to be from the same support group as Jodowsky.  The suspect they killed had no identity, but Bullock wants to break the good news to Mullen.  Gordon believes that the real killer is still out there because the abdominal incisions were extremely suspicious.  He wants Nygma to reexamine all clues because he doesn’t trust the medical examiner.  Essen tells Gordon that she’s unable to pull any strings and get Nygma on the case — because of Gordon’s actions in rooting out corruption, they’re all being watched.

Nygma goes to the records annex to say goodbye to Ms. Kringle and finds her crying.  He’s unable to find out why, so he proceeds to return a pencil he had borrowed from her — which has now been widdled down to a nub.

Oswald rummages through Maroni’s duffle bag and retrieves his gun.  Maroni enters and wants to have a talk with Oswald.  The conversation starts out lighthearted, but quickly becomes tense when Maroni reveals that Mooney is still alive.  When Oswald aims his gun at Maroni, Maroni tells him that the gun is actually loaded with blanks.  Calling him on his bluff, Oswald fires — only to reveal that Maroni was telling the truth.  Maroni chases Oswald down and beats him.

Gordon meets Leslie Thompkins at a bar.  Thompkins thinks it’s a social all at first until Gordon presents a file on the most recent case.  Disappointed, Thompkins tells Gordon that he gives out confusing signals.  Gordon admits that he actually wanted to see her on a romantic level.  Nonetheless, she agrees to look at the file.  Gordon is quickly interrupted by a phone call.  Hanging up, he leaves a message on Bullock’s voicemail — now conscious, the elderly man remembers two assailants.

Bullock talks with Mullen before the start of the support group session.  Joking at first, he reveals to her that he’s scared all the time, and agrees to voice his fears during their session.  While getting coffee, Bullock runs into the assailant, not known who he is.

At a junkyard, Maroni prepares to carry out his execution of Oswald.  Begging for his life, Oswald attempts to make a deal.  Maroni ignores him and locks him inside a car that’s set to be crushed.

Nygma enters the men’s locker room with a large wheeled container.  He proceeds to break into someone’s locker.

At the support group, Bullock opens up and admits that his biggest fear is dying alone.  Moving onto the next member, the assailant, who gives his name as Todd, divulges that his phobia was inherited from his father, and that he’s worried that he has passed it on to his son.  Breaking down in tears, Todd exits and Mullen chases after him.

As the car is being crushed, Oswald desperately calls Maroni and tries to work out a deal which involves revealing information about Indian Hill and Arkham.  Maroni ignores him and hangs up.  Oswald spots the number of the junkyard and calls the operator of the machine.  Oswald warns the operator that if his execution is carried out, Carmine Falcone will come after the operator and his family.  The operator becomes scared and stops the machine.  Maroni tries to finish the job himself, but finds that Oswald has already escaped.

Bullock grows suspicious when Todd and Mullen haven’t returned.  Outside, Todd has already rendered Mullen unconscious, throwing her in the back of a van.  Bullock runs out just as the van races away.

The medical examiner opens his locker and numerous body parts fall out.  As he tries to gather them, other people enter, catching an awkward moment.

Gordon deduces that the assailant will most likely try and kill Mullen using her biggest fear — drowning.  Bullock gets off the phone and tells Gordon that the most likely location will be a pool that Mullen almost drowned in when she was a child.  The two race to that location.

Next to a pool, the assailant has Mullen bound and gagged.  He measures her fear and is satisfied when it reaches a high level.  The assailant’s son, Jonathan, runs in and has a reluctant look.  The assailant tells Jonathan to go back outside and feed the meter.  The assailant throws Mullen into the pool.  After desperately struggling, she quickly drowns.  Gordon and Bullock enter and a brief shootout ensues.  Gordon runs after the assailant as Bullock dives into the pool to save Mullen.  Gordon chases the assailant into the boiler room and the two have a shootout.  The assailant escapes through a door and locks it.  At the pool, Bullock pulls Mullen out and revives her with CPR.

Oswald is discovered by a group of gospel singers headed to Gotham City.  Feigning being a religious man, he hitches a ride on their bus.

At GCPD, Thompkins reveals her findings after examining the Jodowsky’s body — his adrenal gland was removed.  The assailant wanted the concentrated cortisol that is produced at the moment of death.  Gordon is impressed by Thompkins’s work and asks her to accept the job as the new medical examiner (since the previous one was fired for supposedly stealing body parts).  Thompkins gladly accepts.  Gordon invites her to dinner to celebrate.  Knowing that Gordon wants to kiss her, Thompkins gives Gordon a playful ultimatum: kiss her or she won’t go to dinner with him.  Gordon kiss her with everyone starting at them.

A gleeful Nygma goes to the records annex to tell Mr. Kringle that he’s been reinstated.  Ms. Kringle isn’t as celebratory, but does show a glimmer of interest in him when she tells him that he still owes her a pencil.

On Mooney’s barge, unknown attackers have invaded.  The captain runs in to take Mooney to safety, but is quickly shot.  The shooter soon enters.  Both Mooney and the shooter glare at each other for a moment.  The two then ferociously lunge at each other.

Good Moments

  • The tense interaction between Oswald and Maroni.
  • Bullock hitting on Scottie Mullen.  His awkward approach was the source of a lot of comedy tonight.
  • When Fish Mooney faced off with one of the invaders of her barge.

Bat Signals (References and Giveaways)

  • This one is pretty blatant: Jonathan Crane, who makes an appearance at the pool.
  • The assailant who was wearing a pig mask while torturing the man with the pig phobia could be a reference to Doctor Pyg.

Riddle Me This … (Predicting the Past)

  • Since Gotham is leaning towards giving every future villain a paternal inspiration, I’m willing to bet that Edward Nygma may be the father of the Edward Nygma we will eventually know.  If this Nygma is already in his late twenties to early-thirties when Bruce is only a preteen, the Riddler will be much too old when Bruce finally becomes Batman.  The parents of the Riddler we know could be this Edward Nygma and Kristen Kringle.

Final Thoughts

The Fearsome Dr. Crane is far from being a great episode.  With a lot of its mistakes being fixable, the episode could’ve ended up being semi-decent.  The biggest problem was the way the plot allowed certain characters to easily win.  The most blatant of these is how Oswald Cobblepot escaped his execution.

Why didn’t Maroni just put a bullet in Oswald’s head?  On top of that, Oswald is placed into a car with his cellphone conveniently tucked away in his pockets.  The cellphone isn’t as ridiculous as the fact that the number of the junkyard is the number of the machine operator’s cell phone.  Talk about a convenience that gives evidence to lazy writing.

The list goes on.  After Edward Nygma’s prank, the medical examiner is fired.  Is it really that easy?  They’ve already established that most of GCPD is corrupt, and even the medical examiner is in on it (Sarah Essen keeps alluding to the corruption every five minutes).  If that’s the case, people would easily believe the fact that the medical examiner wasn’t stealing body parts.  Even if he was, everyone else would be happy to cover it up.  They were covering up for Flass for years, and that’s ten times worse.

The ease at which some of the characters were able to pull off their plans was laughable.  It seemed as if the writers were writing up a storm of conflicts and then looked at the page count and said, “Okay, I really need to wrap this up in the next two pages.  Let me just resolve it by sprinkling in some deus ex machina.”

The Fearsome Dr. Crane is another example of how Gotham is relying on famous characters to keep its story alive instead of building interesting ones.  The writers just aren’t digging deep enough in terms of story and conflict.  With a lack of real character growth and new challenges, this became another throwaway episode.

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