Gotham, Season 1 Episode 21 Review: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

This week on Gotham Barbara tries to leave The Ogre’s apartment but he tells her the truth. He confesses that he was going to kill her but that she’s now the woman he was searching for and when she tries to flee he puts a hood over her head. At the GCPD Jim is angry because of what’s happened to her. Nygma wheels in his latest kill, who he has dismembered and intends to get rid of it.

Jim manages to find out where the Ogre might hang out and realises that he needs to go to Penguin to ask for help with access to the club. In Wayne Manor Bruce is guilty because Alfred is going to identify Reggie’s body but Selina’s key has shown up. Butch helps Penguin set up for his war with Moroni and Jim shows up asking for an invitation to the Foxglove. When Penguin tries to wheedle his way out Jim threatens him and Oswald begrudgingly accommodates his request.

Back at The Ogre’s Barbara spits in his face and slaps him but she crosses a line when she mentions Jim. He shows her his box of all the other murdered women and she collapses. At Wayne Enterprises Bruce has set off the alarm so that he can snoop around in Bunderslaw’s office. He manages to get into the safe but Bunderslaw himself shows up. Bunderslaw confesses that the company is not being honest in his practices and that his father came to accept it. Bruce doesn’t believe him but then Lucius Fox shows up and when he takes Bruce to the elevator he tells him that his father ‘kept his true self hidden’.

In the GCPD Miss Kringle shows up as Nygma is about to get rid of the body and comes close to learning the truth, but he brushes it off easy. At the Foxglove Harvey shows up and makes his move. The Ogre comforts Barbara and asks her who to kill that’s been holding her back. She says she can’t but eventually gives him a name. At the Foxglove Jim talks to a girl who was scarred by the Ogre and she gives him a lead.

Moroni’s murder doesn’t work, and the boss is angry with Falcone – this was the Penguin’s plan all along. Jim and Harvey manage to find the Ogre’s apartment and when he calls Jim realises he’s heading upstate… to murder Barbara’s parents. Barbara reveals herself there too, but something is wrong with her. Just then The Ogre shows up and him an Jim fight. When Harvey shows up he manages to kill the Ogre but Barbara’s throat ends up being slit anyway.

At Wayne Manor Bruce finally confesses the truth to Alfred. Jim is congratulated when he returns back to the GCPD and he Lee confesses that she feared of their relationship in case Barbara died. Nygma shows up to see Kristen as she’s angry over the ‘note’ he left her saying that he’s left town. In Falcone’s he receives the assassin’s head in a box as Moroni starts shooting up the place and the GCPD announces the beginning of a shooting war. The Penguin laughs. This is exactly what he wanted.

The Fish-less episode of Gotham was very much a stop-gap to the season finale. Barbara returned to her classic role of victim whilst both Penguin and Nygma had their characters fleshed out further. I used to the find Nygma’s crush on Miss Kringle really rather adorable, but it’s really getting borderline creepy now. Meanwhile the other characters didn’t have much to do besides what they’ve done the past few episodes, which kept it ticking over nicely despite being not at its most interesting. The Bruce storyline however managed to turn up a few more fun notes, with Lucius Fox making his debut and hinting at whatever big reveal about the Waynes we’ll see come to light next episode. Aside from that this episode is solid Gotham fare. It might not have been one of the show’s best episodes but it’s a good Gotham average, which still manages to score well. I’m not leaving it feeling as pumped about the season finale as I feel I ought to be, but there’s a lot of good material which has the potential to turn into something great it if it hints all the right notes. Bring it on!


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