Review: Gotham Episodes 14 and 15: “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” and “The Scarecrow”

Content Guide

Sex & Nudity – Adults share a few passionate kisses.

Violence & Gore – Multiple tortuous scenes where people are forced to live out their greatest fears to the death. Multiple gun fights. A man is stabbed in the neck. Someone’s eyes are removed.

Profanity – Moderate language for prime time TV

Drinking and drug use – A drug that induces fear is used.

You worried about me Captain - Harvey Bullock

“You worried about me Captain?” – Harvey Bullock

Summary

“The Fearsome Dr Crane” starts with an unknown man tied to a chair and hoisted off of the roof of a building. The man is pushed off the edge by an unknown assailant and  is hung during the fall. While the GCPD works the crime scene, Edward Nymga mentions a surgical incision on the victim. However when Nygma talks about performing an autopsy on the victim, Captain Sarah Essen rebukes him and tells him that the medical examiner has logged multiple complaints about the eccentric forensics investigator. While investigating, Harvey Bullock and Essen discuss the need to remain safe now that Arnold Flass is put away. Flass, the dirty cop Detective Jim Gordon put away in “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon,” still has loyal friends on the department. Bullock ignores Essen and peers over the ledge of the tall building.

While celebrating the demise of Fish Mooney with Oswald Cobblepot, Don Salvatore Maroni receives a phone call from Mooney herself. Mooney reveals that Cobblepot has betrayed him. Maroni then convinces the Penguin to travel outside of Gotham.

Jim Gordon returns to his and Barbara Kean’s penthouse to find Selina Kyle there. Kyle admits that she has been staying there, and that she lied about witnessing the Wayne’s murder. Selina runs and leaps off of the balcony before Gordon can get to her. He then visits Bruce Wayne, and along with Alfred Pennyworth’s taunting, is released of his promise to the young Wayne to find the murderer of his parents.

I'm releasing you from your promise - Bruce Wayne

“I’m releasing you of your promise.” – Bruce Wayne

Upstate, Cobblepot and Maroni discuss concerns Maroni has had, the land he traded Falcone for Oswald’s life, and his right hand man’s death in “Penguin’s Umbrella.”

Dr. Crane abducts another victim, using a piglet to scare him off of the street and into an ominous black van.

Edward Nygma takes it upon himself to start the autopsy and the medical examiner and Captain Sarah Essen walk in. At the medical examiner’s behest Sarah Essen suspends Nygma.

Fish is shown briefly. The former Mafia Capo is absconding on a ship, apparently resting in the captain’s quarters.

After apprehending the suspect, Captain Sarah Essen and Harvey Bullock try and convince Jim Gordon the case should be closed. Nygma goes to say goodbye to Kris Kringle before he leaves GCPD. Kringle is polite to Nygma and offers that she wishes something could be done to prevent Edward from being suspended.

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“I’m a regular.” – Gerald Crane

Upstate, the Penguin takes advantage of Sal Maroni leaving the cabin momentarily to take the Mafia Don’s gun. When Maroni returns, he sets up a secret telling game with the Penguin, revealing that he has talked to Fish Mooney. Oswald Cobblepot pulls Maroni’s gun on the Mafia Don, revealing his last secret that Maroni’s that the gun is full of blanks.

At a lunch date with Dr. Leslie Thompkins, Jim Gordon asks for help on the case, upsetting the Doctor who thought the lunch was more date than business. Gordon gets a call at lunch revealing that the second victim woke up and can ID the kidnappers. Jim Gordon calls Harvey Bullock to inform him of the news. Harvey visits the support group and bumps into Dr. Crane who is still anonymous to everyone else.

Don Sal Maroni awakens Oswald Cobblepot and shows the Penguin the car crusher the Mafia Don plans to kill Cobblepot with. Cobblepot snivels for his life but to no avail. Inside the compactor, the Penguin first calls Maroni to continue to beg but then calls the operator of the crusher, threatening him with Don Carmine Falcone’s name. The operator runs off and the Penguin narrowly escapes Sal Maroni.

At the GCPD Edward Nygma picks the lock on an unknown locker. Later, the GCPD medical examiner opens his locker to be bombarded with body parts. Two other officers walk in as the medical examiner tries to clean his locker before being caught and Captain Sarah Essen has to fire the Medical Examiner.

Harvey Bullock attends the support group from which the perpetrator has target victims along with Scottie Mullen, and he talks about his fear of dying. Dr/ Crane, under the alias Todd, discusses his fear of failure and leaves the group crying, baiting the woman Harvey is attracted to. After an extended awkward silence, Bullock chases after the two, just in time to see Todd abduct Scottie Mullen.

Oh is this the begging part - Don Sal Maroni

“Oh, oh this is the begging part? Good because this is my favorite part.” – Sal Maroni

Harvey Bullock recollects the fact the Scottie Mullen’s greatest fear was drowning and contacts her mother to discover a pool where she nearly drowned as a child. Dr. Crane has Scottie tied up at this pool and threatens to drown her, but is interrupted by his son Jonathan Crane. After dismissing his son with an errand, the elder Crane pushes the tied up Scottie Mullen into the water just as Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock show up. Jim Gordon chases Crane while Harvey saves Scottie. Crane escapes from Gordon, but Bullock is successful in getting Scottie Mullen out of the water and conscious

Oswald Cobblepot is awakened  by some choir women who give him a ride back to Gotham on their church bus. Cobblepot compares himself to the prodigal son, returning.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins arrives at GCPD and explains to Gordon that Todd (Dr. Crane) had been removing the adrenal glands from his victims after scaring them as much as possible. Gordon invites Dr. Thompkins to replace the former medical examiner at GCPD and asks for another, better, date. The two share a kiss in front of the precinct.

What was I thinking - Edward Nygma

“What was I thinking?” – Edward Nygma

On the ship leaving Gotham, Fish Mooney awakens to gunfire. The ships’ captain barges into his quarters and offers to hide Mooney, but he is shot and killed when he steps out of the room. An unknown assailant enters the room and glares at Fish. The two share scowls and leap at each other as “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” ends.

 

I'm Dreaming right - Fish

“I’m Dreaming right?” – Fish Mooney

“The Scarecrow” begins with another unknown man who appears to be coming home in a storm. Intruders, dressed up as demons, attack and kill the man.

In an unknown location, Fish Mooney wakes up to the sound of men fighting. Fish realizes that she has been abducted from the previous ship that she was aboard but she doesn’t know who the culprit is. Two other prisoners approach Fish, thinking about attacking her, but Mooney intimidates the two men into leaving her alone.

Detective Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins end another date with Leslie telling Jim that she is coming to the GCPD as the new Medical Examiner, as the previous ME was fired after Edward Nygma’s antics in “The Fearsome Dr. Crane.” Jim shows hesitation at the idea of Leslie working with him, and the astute doctor calls the detective on it.

Jim Gordon arrives at the homicide scene of the man murdered at the beginning of “The Scarecrow.” Gordon and Bullock wonder what the killer could be doing with the adrenal glands of his victims. Dr. Gerald Crane is shown taking a dosage of a thick yellow drug, a component of the adrenal glands. The Doctor sees a vivid image of a fire and a ghostly woman asking for help.

Bruce Wayne packs a backpack to go on a hike, and despite Alfred Pennyworth’s desire to accompany him, the young Wayne insists that he must go alone. The hike he is preparing for is one he took with his father, Thomas Wayne, and Bruce does not want to break the tradition, although he ensures Pennyworth he’ll be back before dark. Bruce leaves the manor on his walk. Sometime later, he comes across a creek and retrieves a rounded pebble. Further along on in the trail, he places the pebble with many others, all with his and his father’s initials carved into them.

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I’m glorious.” –  Gerald Crane

At Fish Mooney’s former club, Oswald Cobblepot beseeches Don Carmine Falcone for protection from Don Salvatore Maroni. Don Falcone gives Fish Mooney’s club to the Penguin and guarantees that he’ll take care of Don Maroni.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins makes her introduction at Gotham City Police Department, and she and Jim Gordon’s romance is questioned by Harvey Bullock. Bullock discovers Dr. Gerald Crane’s identity and Jim and Harvey head to the school where Crane works.

Back at a prison, Fish is trapped in the former mafia capo and befriends another prisoner, Kelly. Kelly tells Fish the ins and outs of the prison, and shows her who the boss of the inmates is, a large man named Mace. Fish approaches Mace and after learning that he is the boss because he has the only weapon in the place, attempts to strike a deal with him. Mace sends Fish Mooney away while promising to let her know if he will protect her later.

Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon interview Crane’s boss, the principal of the school where he teaches. Crane disappeared some time ago and the principal seems to care little for the former teacher. Bullock and Gordon jog the principal’s memory by mentioning the victims, and she provides the detectives with a research paper Crane worked on discussing  the adrenal glands and how to cure the sickness of fear. Edward Nygma helps Harvey and Jim go through Dr. Cranes research. Working together, they discover that Dr. Crane is trying to cure himself and one other person, a Subject B. Crane is shown again, taking more of the yellow liquid and having visions before he is approached by his son, Jonathan. Dr. Crane promises his son he’ll be free of fear forever.

Don Carmine Falcone hosts Salvatore Maroni at his mansion, to appeal to the rival don on Penguin’s behalf. Meanwhile Cobblepot works to remodel Fish Mooney’s club into his own. When Gabe, Penguin’s personal henchman, shows Cobblepot his invitations, Cobblepot decides to hand deliver one to Jim Gordon. At GCPD, Edward Nygma approaches Cobblepot, of course, with a riddle. Bullock and Gordon return to the main area of the precinct and Gordon sear off Cobblepot. The Penguin insists that he and Gordon are still friends before leaving the precinct.

Bruce Wayne destroys the stack of pebbles that he and his father, the late Thomas Wayne, had collected over the years. When the young Wayne tries to flee the area in distress, he trips and falls down the mountainside and sprains his ankle.

At the Falcone mansion, Carmine Falcone and Salvatore Maroni discuss what it would take for Maroni to let Oswald Cobblepot off of the hook. Carmine Falcone reveals that he has kidnapped a judge that Maroni has had a problem with, offering to give the rival Mafia don the judge.

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Dons Carmine Falcone and Salvatore Maroni

At GCPD Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon continue to look into Dr. Crane, trying to find out where the murderer is hiding. Bullock discovers that despite Crane’s former boss stating that Crane’s wife died in a car crash, records indicate that she died in a house fire. Bullock had the address to Crane’s old house on file and the two head out to the house.

Alfred Pennyworth watches outside of Wayne Manor, long after dark. The loyal butler worries about where Bruce might be. Meanwhile, Bruce tries to tie a splint and make his way up the steep hill back to the trail.

In the undisclosed prison, Fish approaches Mace, who agrees to protect the femme fatale. Mace starts to harass Fish Mooney, but the former Mafia Capo steals the inmate boss’s knife and slits his throat. While the inmate boss falls to the ground bleeding to death, Fish Mooney lays claim to being in charge of the inmates, waving the knife for all to see.

Jonathan and Gerald Crane run away from the half burned house as Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon arrive. While fleeing the detectives, Dr. Crane injects his son Jonathan. The young Crane overdoses, fearing his dad is using too potent a potion from so many adrenal glands. The closest thing to Jonathan, the scarecrow in their back yard, comes alive and Crane becomes delirious. The two detectives exchange gunfire with Dr. Crane and after he is shot they approach the catatonic Jonathan Crane

Bruce finally ascends the steep hill to the trial to find Alfred Pennyworth resting by a campfire. Alfred helps the young Wayne to the campfire and the two watch the sunrise, keeping the Wayne tradition.

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Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne

The Penguin’s club has a sad opening, with very few guests. Don Salvatore Maroni shows up to explain that after talking with Don Falcone Maroni, he wouldn’t exact revenge on Cobblepot. Sal Maroni warns Oswald Cobblepot that once Don Carmine Falcone is no longer around to protect him, the Penguin wouldn’t be safe.

At the precinct, Detective Jim Gordon tries to explain to Dr. Leslie Thompkins that they shouldn’t show their affection in front of the other officers.

At the prison, Kelly, Fish Mooney’s flaky, calls all of the inmates over to hear Fish give a speech. Fish’s speech is interrupted when an inmate is released back into the population, her eyes removed.

Jim Gordon goes to visit Jonathan Crane at the hospital, where doctors worry that the chemical induced state of fear the young Crane is experiencing may never subside.

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“I’m in charge now!” – Fish Mooney

Review

I wasn’t too excited when the trailers for “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” showed that it would be a two part episode. After watching both episodes, I understand that the writers wanted the introduction of Jonathan Crane, The Scarecrow, to be longer than a single episode but a week in between the two episodes with little to no resolution for the many storylines in “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” is annoying. However after re-watching “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” before “The Scarecrow” aired, I found that the two episodes meshed really well. Hopefully, next time the series does a two part episode they will be able to get a two hour block and do them back to back. This has happened more frequently lately and if there is no resolution at the end of a show’s episode it can be frustrating regardless if the series is serialized or procedural.

That said, the story is good. Even though the focus on Jonathan Crane, the future Scarecrow, was short, it is fascinating to see the demented psychologist as a terrified young child. Perhaps the future Dr. Crane’s stability is dependent on tormenting others in order to satiate the Scarecrow?

Seeing Harvey Bullock shift his attraction from the exiled Fish Mooney to another potential love interest, the victim Scottie Mullen, might have been a little too soon. Then again Donal Logue is perfect as Harvey Bullock, and the character that was once nothing more than comical relief in the Batman universe is one of the best on Gotham.  It is also nice to see someone other than Gordon call Bullock on his callous exterior. Maybe Scottie Mullen will stick around.

It seems as though the writers just refuse to give poor Oswald Cobblepot, or the Penguin, a break. After finally getting Fish Mooney to stop trying to kill him, now Cobblepot has Maroni as a sworn enemy. The intelligence of Salvatore Maroni leaves much to be desired, however seeing Don Carmine Falcone back in his element is appreciable.

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Don Salvatore Maroni’s visits Penguin’s club

Edward Nygma is getting just enough screen time to see why Harvey Bullock, Kris Kringle and others see him as weird but not enough to understand why Captain Sarah Essen and Jim Gordon see him as an asset. With Oswald temporarily safe from Sal Maroni and Fish Mooney, perhaps we can further explore the enigmatic Riddler’s descent into a villain.

Sean Pertwee continues to show a great Alfred Pennyworth. His loyalty and love for the young Bruce Wayne are obvious, but tne rough exterior of a soldier that Pertwee adds to the butler is both unique and enjoyable.

The combined episodes of “The Fearsome Dr. Crane” and “The Scarecrow” are middle of the line for Gotham—not the best but not the worst episodes so far. We are spared the teen romance of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, an interesting story line for one or two episodes that quickly wore thin. We are also spared the emotional baggage of Barbara Kean. While I’m not sure where the writers want to take the Kean/Gordon storyline, I’m glad to see her gone for a few episodes.

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A hospitalized Jonathan Crane

Christian perspective

While the tragic actions that Gerald Crane take to try and overcome fear are egregiously erroneous, the desire to do so should be relatable to everyone. Fortunately as Christians, we are told that we should have no fear: “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.” (Psalms 118:6 NLT); the Lord also watches over us and protects us: “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” (Psalms 121:5 NLT). Of course the city of Gotham wouldn’t be what it is if the major characters were Christians that truly lived according to God’s work and his plan for them, but as Christians we can identify the areas where we should rely on God.

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The Bottom Line

 

 

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Cody Hahn

Lover of Jesus. Husband. Daddy. Geek.

1 Comment

  1. silasgreen on February 19, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Good review! I really love that Nygma is getting more screen time now. The Riddler is my favorite Batman villain, and he’s just so loveable here. Well, except when he’s being creepy. I’d like to see more of the Penguin’s intelligence coming out, but that scene in the scrapyard was edge-of-your-seat intense. He’s clever when it counts. 🙂

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