Fox‘s Gotham Scarecrow TV Show Review. Gotham Season 1, Episode 15: Scarecrow misses a lot of chances for an interesting plot, which is unfortunate. Last week gave us an exceptional thrill with its intense villain showdown, but on top of having little to rival that, Scarecrow fails to grant solid
closure to that episode’s cliffhanger, wherein Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) rushed into battle with a pirate. We don’t get to see the fight; only her waking up in some sort of dungeon, with what are presumably a lot of captured slaves. Fish makes a power play to take charge, but once again, it’s not advanced by much in the way of action. Smith being notably muscular and able to affect a predatory gaze, it’s natural to desire that she gets an intense fight scene, and that desire is still unfulfilled.
Things underwhelm similarly elsewhere in the plot. Dr. Gerald Crane (Julian Sands) and his son Jonathan (Charlie Tahan)–the latter whom fans know will become the titular Scarecrow–provide Detectives Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) with their weekly dose of action, but they don’t play any angle as entertainingly as it could. Gerald Crane, with his obsession and lack of moral inhibitions, ticks the basic “Mad Scientist” boxes, but instead of the commanding, sometimes humorous hammy sort, he’s the stoic sort; all logic and deliberately devoid of emotion. Indeed, his personality (and here, his backstory) isn’t far-removed from Mr. Freeze as he was portrayed in Batman: The Animated Series, but without the sympathetic side that made Freeze compelling.
His son, meanwhile, is just one more victim of his madness, but only at the end do we see him even start his Scarecrow transformation. That’s perhaps the biggest letdown here; granted, Gotham is a prequel series, but Scarecrow’s appeal as a villain does not typically concern his history, but rather, his ability to affect hallucinations for a surreal change of scenery. It just feels dishonest to call an episode Scarecrow if they’re not going to fulfill that promise; especially since one episode has already been spent giving him backstory.
The other points that underwhelm are hardly even worthy of paragraphs. Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) reopens Fish’s old club, but somehow renames it “Oswald’s” instead of the more iconic “The Iceberg Lounge”–how does a show miss that bit of fanservice? Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) goes off on a solo camping trip, takes a fall, and it doesn’t end with that iconic moment of him seeing a bat. Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) joins the GCPD as its new medical examine, and Gordon doesn’t like to show affection towards her at work for the sake of his incorruptible reputation. Penguin meets Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), and it’s intense, but still short and inconsequential (so far). Carmine Falcone (John Doman) and Sal Maroni (David Zayas) meet to discuss Penguin’s fate, and Falcone provides a humorous way for Maroni to blackmail an enemy of his, but it’s ultimately a non-sequitur.
Gotham has big shoes to fill. Perhaps the point of the series is not to fill them at first, but rather start small, and grow into them. Even so, this episode didn’t have enough of that growth, which is particularly sad after last episode, but unfortunately a bit too typical of the series as a whole.
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