TV Recap: Gotham, ‘The Fearsome Dr. Crane’

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The Fearsome Dr. Crane Plot Summary:

A new killer is on the loose who destroys victims using their own fear against them. Maroni (David Zayas) begins to have suspicions about Oswald’s (Robin Lord Taylor) loyalty, and Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) goes off into hiding.

It’s always exciting when Gotham introduces a classic Batman character into the world, and judging by the title of this week’s episode, it’s not too hard to decipher who that is. This approach focused more on Jonathan Crane’s (Charlie Tahan) father though, but we’ll get to that. While this week started off a bit slow, it really ramped up as the episode went on, and juggled a lot of storylines very well. There’s a lot of Gotham-ness to cover, so let’s bust out the Penguin’s umbrella and get cracking.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

After setting up the main story, Gotham dived back into the Wayne murders. After a nice scene between Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Selina (Camren Bicondova), Gordon visited Bruce (David Mazouz) for the first time in a while. I like what they set up here, but it’s completely abandoned in the rest of the episode. The Wayne murder plot has been stagnating a tad, so I’m hoping they give more attention to it in the coming weeks.

Gordon’s focus this week was on Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) however, as the two enter the world of “are they or aren’t they.” These were very good scenes, and showed a real human side to Gotham. The two actors have great chemistry, so I’m definitely fine with seeing more of this. My only dread is knowing the Batman mythology. I know Gordon and Barbara (Erin Richards) get married, so in the back of my mind, I’m expecting her to storm back in any minute. That character has been a total miss, so I’m desperately hoping the writers abandon the comic book material on this one.

It was an episode of relationships, as Bullock (Donal Logue) had a little love crush of his own. I had mixed feelings about this – while the banter between Harvey and Mullen (Maria Thayer) was great, it was a little odd to introduce this one week after Bullock’s big reveal. The writing worked though, so I’m okay with it. Bullock really unloaded here in a well-acted performance from Logue. I suppose this could have been an act to impress the girl, but it seemed pretty real to me. Nevertheless, a great scene.

Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX

In yet another romantic angle, this was easily Edward Nygma’s (Cory Michael Smith) biggest episode of the season. The development between Nygma and Kringle (Chelsea Spack) has been a joy to watch, although it has been moving a bit slow recently. I’m hoping for a major payoff to this storyline by season’s end. Nygma got into some trouble at work, and even though he’s an oddball, I loved how Gordon went to bat for him. Gordon knows Nygma is the smartest man working at the GCPD, and it shows more than anything he cares about the job being done right, even if it means breaking some rules. Nygma also performed his most Riddler act thus far, and it was the first true sign of who this character will become. Loved it.

Speaking of Batman villains, we saw Oswald get into some real peril. Everything finally came to a head between him and Maroni, and this was Robin Lord Taylor and the writers at their best. To see Oswald constantly argue and fight his way to survival like a squirmy lawyer was fantastic, and the way he got out of his situation was Oswald at his most clever and desperate. Zayas also showcased his best acting as Maroni.

Then of course we have the main storyline of Crane (Julian Sands) and the fear shenanigans. I didn’t love this plot at first, but as the episode went on, I really got into it. It was perfectly morbid and strange, and I love that Gotham is going this far. It’s almost like a blend of Nolan and Burton Batman, which is really cool. We didn’t see much of Jonathan Crane here, so I don’t really have an opinion yet, but I thought Sands as the father did a good job of emulating a lighter version of Scarecrow.

My biggest complaint with this episode was really just the last scene, which was kind of awkward. The best part may have actually been the previews for next week, which look awesome, and a pure Batman episode focusing on Bruce. I can’t wait.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.