"Under the Knife" (S1/E20)
Author: Ricky Church (Follow RICHARDCHURCH16)
April 23, 2015

EPISODE INFO: "Under the Knief" was written by John Stephens and directed by T.J. Scott. It originally aired on the FOX television network on Monday, April 20, 2015. GOTHAM is based on "Batman" characters owned and published by DC Comics.

SYNOPSIS: Gordon and Bullock continue to investigate the Ogre (guest star Milo Ventimiglia), who begins to make his move on someone close to Gordon. Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina team up to expose a corrupt Wayne Enterprises employee and Nygma comes to Kristin Kringle’s defense.

MAIN CAST: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, John Doman as Carmine Falcone.

PREVIOUS EPISODE: S1/E19 "Beasts of Prey" Review by Ricky Church (4.14.15)

The review continues after the GOTHAM episode below!

“Under the Knife” had a stronger, cohesive storyline than last week’s thanks to a larger focus on The Ogre and his history. Unlike ‘Beasts of Prey’, Gordon’s hunt for the serial killer wasn’t fighting as much against other stories for screen time. It is also of note that this was the first episode in the series where Barbara actually seemed interesting.

Rather than go the clichéd route and have Ogre kidnap Barbara, as was telegraphed in the first act, it went completely the other way by Ogre coming to see her as a kindred spirit, abandoned by the people they loved, and possibly the perfect mate he’s been looking for. It’s an intriguing plot point based on her track record within the show and the eyes of fans. As the episode closed she gave a smile at Ogre as he showed her his special room. That was actually the only plot point that fell flat as its clichéd to have a serial killer into kink, especially as no mention of sexual abuse to his victims was either shown or hinted at last week. It seems more like GOTHAM and FOX trying to capitalize off 50 SHADES OF GRAY’s popularity, seeing as this episode would have been written around the time of that film’s release.

Gordon himself didn’t get too much to do as he hunted clues for Ogre’s identity. The mystery aspect of GOTHAM hasn’t always been the greatest so Gordon and Bullock’s investigation felt more of the same. It wasn’t until Gordon realized who The Ogre’s intended target would be where it got interesting.

Elsewhere, a big moment came for Bruce Wayne’s development as the beginnings of his no killing rule were planted. After Selina’s murder of Reggie, it definitely drew a line in the sand for Bruce on where he stands against murder and displayed one of the big differences between the future Batman and Catwoman; she is not at all afraid to get blood on her hands. It was nice for the show to get to this important aspect on Bruce’s character, but fans know he also has no problem with other heavy-handed tactics so it will be interesting to see how the show addresses his other methods eventually.

Edward Nygma also reached an important milestone as he committed his first murder, albeit for a noble reason as Ms. Kringle’s latest boyfriend had no problem using force (she has a bad track record for guys so far). Given Nygma was both surprised and disturbed by his own actions, it will be interesting to see how this development is handled as he evolves into The Riddler.

With only two more episodes to go, can GOTHAM’s first season make a solid landing or will it fizzle out?

* Given Maroni’s place in the Batman mythos, will Penguin successfully kill him or will Mama Cobblepot be collateral damage?

* It was also good Fish was left out of this episode, yet strange at the same time given the bullet hole she was last seen with as it reduces the tension.


GOTHAM airs Mondays at 7PM CT/8PM ET on FOX.
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