Gotham, Season 1 Episode 15 Review: “The Scarecrow”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

As per last week, our Gotham reviews and recaps are always pretty long, so skip to the last two paragraphs if you’re just interested in the review. We continue on from our two-parter of sorts where we continue following Dr Crane, who seems to have already taken on his next victim. Fish Mooney is shown to be still alive in some underground hovel and manages to stay unscathed via sheer tenacity. Jim is doing a decent job with Dr Tompkins, who announces to Jim she’s coming to work at the GCPD as the new Medical Examiner. Next morning, Jim shows up at the case of the crime and we also get a sneak peek at exactly what it is that Dr Crane is doing with the adrenal glands of his victims. Penguin is informing Falcone of all that has transpired and Falcone orders Penguin to redecorate under his ownership. Falcone informs Penguin the club is his and that he’ll deal with Moroni himself.

Fish tries to find out where they are ad she finds out that a tough guy names Mace is in charge. Bruce goes solo on a walking trip that he always used to do with his father. Jim and Harvey goes to visit the school which Dr Crane used to teach and they find out that he’s trying to inoculate himself against fear. The detectives get help from Nygma since they’re trying to work out how many more people he needs to kill in order for his fear to be gone. Crane’s paper shows that there’s a second subject, and the doctor wants to cure his son.

Fish decides to talk to Mace and tries to bargain with him for his protection. Meanwhile in her old club Oswald decides to deliver an invitation to Jim and Nygma meets the Penguin properly for the first time. When Jim finally meets Oswald the meeting is tense and he pushes him away, eventually throwing the invitation in the bin. Elsewhere, Dr Crane inoculates his son for the first time whilst Bruce continues his journey, where we see him and his father used to collect pebbles together. In anger he kicks away the collection and breaks down, right before he trips over and falls violently down a hill. As drama would dictate it, the fall injures Bruce just as thunder is heard ominously on the horizon.

Falcone and Moroni talk together, with the latter making a deal for a judge that Moroni hates so that Penguin can stay alive. Harvey asks Jim to consider going to Penguin for help on the Crane case and find out that Crane’s fear was the reason his wife died in the first place. They figure that that’s the motive for his obsession with fear. In Crane’s house his son Jonathan is still in pain over his first inoculation but his father convinces him to carry on the procedure until its very end, and a scarecrow looms ominously in the background. As the night sets in, young Bruce is still stuck in the woods and struggling to make his way home.

Fish manages to kill Mace and take charge of the prison, killing him using the only blade in the area. Crane is about to inoculate his son for the last time when Jim and Harvey show up. Crane shoots up his son with too strong of a dose because there’s no time and he’s desperate to finish the procedure. The duo kills Dr Crane since he starts shooting them and paramedics are just about able to stabilise his son. As Bruce crawls his way up the hill he suddenly sees Alfred at the top, who’s been there since Bruce started crawling his way up. Both Alfred and Bruce sit together until the sun rises. The opening of Penguin’s new club is quite a little lacklustre… when Moroni shows up. Penguin’s very nervous but Moroni assures him that the relations between them are just right: that is, until the second Falcone dies.

Jim goes to see Tompkins, and they manage to reconcile with one another. Jim learns that the effects of the hormones with Jonathan Crane shows that he might have been permanently damaged, leading him to be in a permanent state of intense fear where all he’ll see is the thing he fears most – scarecrows. In her prison Fish makes it clear that now she’s top dog she’s going to install some order but just as she’s about to begin her speech a woman gets thrown back into the prison, sans eyes…

The creation of the scarecrow was front and centre this episode and with the meeting of Oswald and Nygma the show is really building up some of the biggest future Gotham villains. Whilst we’ve been only shown how Falcone and Moroni are adversaries so far it was nice to see them cooperating for once, a constant and subtle truce riddled with both ulterior motive and a need to keep in power. Less interesting this time round was once again Jim Gordon’s love life, and whatever it is Bruce is up to. I’m hoping that at least in Bruce’s case we’re talking about a slow burn for some great defining moment by the end of the season: if this doesn’t occur I’m sure I won’t be the only one wondering what all these scenes were for.

Fish’s place in Gotham has always been a odd one – she’s a female badass, a current representative of what Penguin could become and a symbol of what Gotham turns people into.This episode if any, shows why she’s worthy of our screentime despite being one of the few characters not knee deep in Batman mythos. Jada Pinkett Smith practically chews and manipulates the scenery as Fish. If there was any doubt before that Fish got near the top of the food chain due to sheer luck, some of those doubts can be brushed away. Ironically, her easy overthrowing of the prison hierarchy to charge herself lies in contrast with her struggle to usurp Falcone. She’s the smartest dog in an underground prison where she’s captive. She’s now overlording the downtrodden and filthy: overthrowing a man with a blade might have been easy, but her assumption that Falcone was anything like that is what got her in this mess in the first place. In a place with no opponents she might be able to win, but Gotham is no such place. Fifteen episodes on and I was enthralled by this week’s episode. Of course there were the odd eyebrow raising sections which were less compelling than others, but I give the show casting credit for making the (honestly) pointless meeting scene between Penguin and Nygma turn into a witty back and forth that I genuinely wanted to continue for a tad longer than it did. I’m gladly intrigued, and I look forward to visiting our favourite messed up city again next week.

(photo credit:


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