Gotham Review: “The Scarecrow” (Season 1, Episode 14)


Last week I praised Gotham for finally finding its place in the TV landscape and delivering its best episode to date. I even went so far as to recommend that those who’d long given up on the show return. If you listened to me and did just that, I want to apologize, because the high point of tonight’s episode came when Bruce Wayne threw some rocks while on a hike.

In what should have been a great culmination of all the storylines that were put into motion last week, Gotham instead managed to somehow drop the ball on nearly every front, and dive head-first back into frustrating procedural trappings. More impressive still is how well the show managed to mess up those tried-and-true procedural tropes, removing all tension and intrigue from the episode.

After this week’s instalment, I’m particularly worried about what Gotham may do with any more potentially intriguing villains in future episodes. This is now the second time that the series has introduced what could have been a more serialized, over-arching villain plot; first came The Electrocutioner, and now we’ve seen Dr. Gerald Crane. Both stories had interesting beginnings and could have been real foils for Jim Gordon. Yet, by their second appearance, both villains were easily defeated and left no lasting impression on the show itself.

Even the mob/Penguin plot – which is usually the high point of each week – fell flat, while Fish Mooney’s once-exciting new predicament went off like a lead balloon. I will say that, despite its many flaws, “The Scarecrow” managed to not completely mess up the origin story for its titular villain, provide a tolerable amount of Edward Nygma, and stick to a universal tone. So, that’s something, I suppose.

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