Gotham Recap And Review – S01E21 – The Anvil Or The Hammer


Gotham ended the Ogre storyline with its penultimate twenty-first episode, The Anvil or the Hammer.  As Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock desperately search for Barbara Kean, Gotham City’s underworld is being played by Oswald Cobblepot.  This episode had some good ideas and situations to allow them to refresh Barbara.  But like always, the writers squandered that opportunity and further confirmed her uselessness.

Spoilerific Recap

Barbara Kean wakes up the next morning in Jason Lennon’s apartment.  Barbara is prepared to leave, but Jason is adamant in her staying.  He finally admits to her that he originally wanted to kill her, but now knows that she’s his true love.  Barbara attempts to make a run for it, but is overpowered by Jason.

At GCPD, Jim Gordon blames himself for Barbara’s disappearance.   Harvey Bullock brings in an uncooperative pimp who is known to have ties with the Ogre, Jason.

Edward Nygma wheels two large trunks into the morgue where they’re revealed to contain the dismembered body of Tom Dougherty.

In the interrogation room, the pimp is questioned by Gordon and Bullock, but remains uncooperative.  He tries to ask for payment for the information which pushes Gordon over the edge.  Bullock leaves Gordon alone to do what’s necessary.  In a matter of moments, Gordon exits and tells Bullock that the pimp worked at a high-end brothel known as the Fox Club — a place where the Ogre frequented.  Because the location changes, Gordon and Bullock go to the only person who may know — Oswald Cobblepot.

At the Ogre’s apartment, Barbara is gagged and shackled in his torture room.

At Wayne Manor, Alfred Pennyworth prepares to leave to identify Reggie’s body.  A letter arrives for Bruce Wayne.  Opening the letter, he finds Bunderslaw’s duplicate key that Selina made.

Butch Gilzean arrives at the bar recently purchased by Oswald.  Following orders from Oswald, Butch quickly hides a pistol and automatic rifle in strategic locations at the counter.

Gordon meets with Oswald to get an invitation to the Fox Club.  When Oswald plays around with Gordon owing him another favor, Gordon draws his weapon and threatens Oswald.  A fearful Oswald complies, but not before reinforcing the fact that Gordon still owes him.

At Wayne Enterprises, Bruce gets a tour of the company.  Faking to go to the restroom, Bruce pulls the building’s fire alarm.

Gordon is able to get one invitation to the Fox Club.  Bullock volunteers himself since he’ll blend in better.

In the torture room, the Ogre releases a fighting Barbara and gives her what seems like water.  Dehydrated, Barbara downs the water quickly.  Threaten to brutally kill her if she tries to escape, the Ogre forces Barbara to look at his collection of Polaroids of the women he murdered.  The contents of the water take effect and Barbara falls to the floor in a catatonic state.

Bruce makes his way into Bunderslaw’s office and opens the safe to find it empty.  He’s quickly interrupted by Bunderslaw himself.  The executive has been expecting Bruce and was well-aware of Selina taking his key the night of the ball.  Bunderslaw reasons to Bruce that he only sent Reggie to Wayne Manor to see how far Bruce’s investigation has gone.  Bunderslaw then tells Bruce that both Bruce’s father and grandfather were complicit in the company’s corruption — something Bruce doesn’t believe.  The two are quickly interrupted by junior executive Lucius Fox who tells them that people are looking for Bruce.  Escorting Bruce to the elevators, Fox tells him that he knew Thomas Wayne to be a good man, and that Thomas only pretended to give in to the company’s corruption.

At the morgue, Nygma prepares to dissolve the remains of Dougherty.  He’s interrupted by Ms. Kringle looking for a file.  When she enters, she sees Dougherty’s body, not knowing it’s him.  Nygma lies and claims that the body belongs to an accident victim.  Before leaving, Ms. Kringle inquires the whereabouts of Dougherty.  Nygma claims to know nothing and hurries Ms. Kringle out.

Oswald meets with Connor and instructs him on how to kill Maroni.  Connor questions how Oswald would even know that Maroni would be at the bar at that specific time.  Oswald knows that Maroni would be celebrating the release of his old friend — Tommy Bones.

Bullock makes his way into the Fox Club.  Due to the main show at the club being extremely perverse, Bullock quickly reveals himself to be a cop and puts a stop to it.

The Ogre wakes up Barbara and asks her to tell him who to kill.  When she refuses, he puts a knife to her throat and forces her to tell him.  In tears, she gives in.

Back at the club, Gordon forces the madame to answer his questions.  She directs him to Sally, the club’s hostess.  She reveals her knowledge of Jason because she had escaped his wrath ten years ago, but not before leaving her disfigured.  As Sally describes the landmarks near Jason’s apartment, Gordon and Bullock pinpoint the location of his home.

At the bar, Connor enters pretending to deliver a gift from Carmine Falcone.  Quickly, Connor and his partner pull the hidden guns from the counter.  When they try to fire them, nothing happens.  Maroni executes Connor to send Falcone a message.

At the club, Butch tells Oswald of the unsuccessful assassination.  This was Oswald’s plan, as he removed the firing pins from the guns before Butch hid them.

At the morgue, Nygma has finished dissolving the flesh off of Dougherty’s body.  Playing with Doughtery’s skull, Nygma plans to give Ms. Kringle a fake goodbye letter from Dougherty.  In a show of rage and hatred, Nygma places Dougherty’s skull in a bag and pulverizes it with a mallet.

Gordon and Bullock enter to the Ogre’s abandoned apartment.  In the torture room, they receive a taunting call from the Ogre who tells them that Barbara is alive and well.  From the ambient sounds in the call, Gordon and Bullock are able to deduce the Ogre’s current location.

At the Kean’s mansion, the Ogre holds Barbara’s parents hostage.  The Ogre draws his knife and a seemingly brainwashed Barbara witnesses the murder of her parents.

Hours later, Gordon and Bullock arrive at the Kean’s mansion.  Gordon finds Barbara’s parents dead and posed on a sofa.  Bullock is ambushed by the Ogre and knocked down a flight of stairs.  As Barbara emerges from the hallway, the Ogre attacks Gordon from behind with a knife.  When Gordon gets the upper hand, the Ogre grabs Barbara as a hostage.  As Bullock runs into the room and distracts the Ogre, Gordon is able to shoot the Ogre in the head, killing him.

At Wayne Manor, a guilt-ridden Bruce comes clean to Alfred about Reggie’s death and sneaking into Bunderslaw’s office.  Alfred reassures Bruce that his father was a good man, but Bruce feels there was a side to his father that he never knew.

At GCPD, Gordon enters to applause for closing the Ogre case.  Leslie admits to Gordon that she was afraid he would blame himself for Barbara’s death due to protecting Leslie first.  This would, in turn, end their relationship.  She saw this as a selfish notion.  Gordon quickly proclaims his love for her.

Ms. Kringle receives the fake note from Dougherty and reads it to Nygma.  Angered, she asks why she continues to pick creeps.  Nygma suggests that with men, she needs to read between the lines.  When Ms. Kringle leaves, Nygma gleefully positions the note to reveal a hidden puzzle.  The first word of each line combine to form “NYGMA.”

A quick series of shots: Bruce cuts his father out of a picture and places him on his investigation board.  Falcone receives a parcel.  Opening it, he discovers Connor’s head.  Maroni’s men hit one of Falcone’s businesses.

At GCPD, Captain Sarah Essen puts the department on high alert because Falcone and Maroni are now at war.

Good Moments

  • The introduction of Lucius Fox.
  • Harvey Bullock freaking out over the extremely perverted show at the Fox Club.  His reaction was golden.

Bat Signals (References and Giveaways)

  • The address seen on the envelope mailed to Bruce Wayne was “1007 Mountain Drive.”  This was Wayne Manor’s address in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Nygma demonstrated his irresistible urge to leave clues when he hid “NYGMA” in the fake letter from Dougherty.

Riddle Me This … (Predicting the Past)

  • This has to be a different Barbara Kean than the one Jim Gordon married.  I refuse to believe that this will be the woman who raises the future Batgirl.
  • The Waynes have always run Wayne Enterprises as an ethical company.  There is no way that Thomas Wayne or his father were complicit in its corruption.  Perhaps Bruce’s statement about his father having secrets doesn’t mean that Bruce saw his father as a liar.  Maybe putting his picture on the investigation board meant that he needs to find out what his father was fighting against — something so nefarious that it got him killed.

Final Thoughts

Just when you thought you couldn’t dislike Barbara Kean even more, this episode happens.  Barbara has pretty much cemented herself as one of the weakest characters on Gotham.  From the way she tried to escape from the Ogre, and from the way she didn’t try to escape, Barbara was as boring as ever.

There’s just too many things going wrong with this episode.  The real interesting story was the impending war between Falcone and Maroni.  That’s where Gotham‘s real drama lies.  The Ogre storyline was such a strange shoehorned narrative.  I really don’t know where they were going with that.  The villain appeared for three episodes and was quickly killed.  His presence had zero impact on the main plot.

This episode seemed to be a lot of filler material with very little development.  It was a prime example of how the writers squandered some pretty good opportunities with what they could’ve done with the characters.  Barbara could’ve come into her own had she shown some intelligence and resolve in fighting back.  But no, she had to play the damsel-in-distress.  Also, what was with her complicit nature?  Was the water laced?  Did she get the fastest onset of Stockholm Syndrome in kidnapping history?

This was one of the most ridiculous episodes.  I hope Gotham at least ends on its own version of a high note for the season finale.

Next: Catch up on Gotham with a recap and review of Under the Knife

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