I know this may not sound like much, but Gotham just delivered its best episode yet. I’m honestly quite surprised that “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” wasn’t a complete trainwreck, not just because of the show’s track record, but because of how ham-fisted an episode featuring the Scarecrow’s father could have been. Luckily, this was one of the few times that the series truly showed restraint and allowed the story to unfold organically.
Gone are (most) of the cringe-worthy winks at the audience (I really could have done without that glimpse at little Jonathan Crane, the future Scarecrow, himself), and they’re instead replaced with a compelling and well thought out “case of the week,” which actually adds to Gotham‘s main players and allows the character stories to move forward. I did watch the correct show… right?
Guest star Julian Sands plays the titular Dr. Crane, which is a great nod to DC Comics fans, as he once portrayed Superman’s father Jor-El on Smallville. The actor is excellent as Crane, a psychopath who attends a phobia support group in order to find his victims, who he torments by using their greatest fears to kill them. The episode ends with him dropping a man who’s afraid of heights off of a building, and the episode’s biggest “WTF” moment happens when Crane surprises a man on the street by approaching him while holding a pygmy pig. That man is later nearly killed by one of Crane’s goons, who’s wearing a pig mask and wielding a butcher’s knife. It’s a cool concept that didn’t get explored to its full potential this week, but Crane will be back for the next episode, titled “The Scarecrow,” so I hope the premise is explored a bit further.
As for the main characters in the show, our core groups are all represented in interesting, entertaining, and beneficial ways. Bruce gets a single scene with Gordon that’s very informative of what his arc will likely be for the remainder of the season, Fish gets to get a bit of revenge on Penguin before she skips town, Penguin and Sal Maroni share an intimate afternoon at a cabin together (more on that later), Harvey gets a potential love interest, Edward Nygma finally wins me over, and Jim Gordon gets to make out with Morena Baccarin. Not a bad day at the office, I’d say.