Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Review of Gotham's 1x20: "Under The Knife"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by TJ Scott

Jason: "Barbara, I know what it's like to be one person on the inside and have the world see another. I've lived like that."

It might have literally taken to near the end of the season but flipping hell, the writers have finally managed to find something interesting to do with Barbara. Granted being a potential victim for a typical serial killer like the Ogre might not sound like the most inspiring of plots (I can imagine certain segments on Tumblr grousing about this storyline already) but at least this episode finally injected Barbara with a bit of life as a character.

This darkened, jaded version of the character could've been better played/written in earlier episodes but in this episode, it actually worked. A part of me even felt a tad sorry for Barbara when she told Jason that no-one would care if she was dead. I have to admit, I certainly wouldn't have cared until this episode actually did wonders for the character. I might even miss her if Jason actually does kill her within the next two episodes.

After being disappointed about not having a connection with the unfortunate Grace in the previous episode, Jason did seem to see a bit of himself in Barbara. That might for a time being keep her alive a little longer but wouldn't it be cool if the show did a proper twist and it turned out that Jason might be in danger from Barbara? Or Barbara properly kills him herself. Why should Jim be the shining knight in this situation?

The good thing about this plot as well is that Erin Richards and Milo Ventimiglia have a strong chemistry as well and they certainly both looked dapper at the Wayne Enterprises charity ball as well. I also think what helped this episode was that the war between both the Ogre and Gordon also stepped up a notch too.

I liked that Jim didn't back down to his threats (with Leslie's encouragement) and actually outed the Ogre's previous crimes to the public while both him and Bullock learned more about the individual himself. The plot might still feel a tiny bit cliched but this episode certainly injected some genuine surprises into the mix and not just with the Ogre stuff as well.

For instance, Bruce and Selina came into conflict over the latter taking Reggie's life but at the same time teamed up to go to the ball to get Bunderslaw's key as well. Any episode where those two are working together is definitely going to rate highly for me, even if the two will clearly be at odds over the things they're willing to do.

Keeping with the shocks - I really wasn't expecting blood to be on Nygma's hands so quickly. I know that he was going to snap at some point but I really thought it was going to be next season. Having him kill Kringle's abusive boyfriend was a genuine shocker and a brilliantly played scene for Cory Michael Smith as well. Welcome to the dark side, Eddie.

As for Oswald - well, this episode made him more determined than ever to bump off Maroni. Having the latter come after Oswald by informing Gertrud about her son's killer tendencies was another shocker of a moment. Seriously, one of the best scenes we've had, especially as the blinkers that Gertrud had with Oswald have well and truly been lifted. Perhaps Oswald might actually succeed in taking down Maroni after all.

Also in "Under The Knife"

The Ogre's name is slightly literal as Jason was previously disfigured before he murdered his first victim. The backstory with his butler father and the latter's rich employer was interesting too.

Leslie: "You wanna protect me? Find him! I'm gonna stay here and do my job but I do like that you think of me as a loved one."
Gordon: "I do love you."

Is Ivy still living with Barbara? Selina clearly is but she wasn't mentioned at all by either of them. I hope we see her in the finale.

Barbara (to Jason): "I don't have a boyfriend and if a bus hit me tomorrow, no-one would care."

Alfred (re charity ball): "You're not going alone."
Bruce: "I won't be alone. I've invited Selina Kyle."

A lot of indiscretions this week - Oswald tried to hire a hitman almost publicly, Nygma killed Tom in the street, Jason opened threatened Gordon twice and Bruce/Selina argued about Reggie at the ball. Discretion people.

Gordon (re Jason): "He's used to intimidating cops. We have to show him we're not afraid."
Essen: "And how do we do that?"

Bruce: "You look very nice."
Selina: "The shoes hurt."

Some nice shades of Batman Returns, The Dark Knight Rises and the 60s Adam West Batman movie with Bruce and Selina at the ball this week. Also no Fish and some seriously messed up hair from Nygma during his killing of Tom.

Maroni (to Gertrud, re Oswald): "When did you realise that you had given birth to a monster?"

Barbara: "What's through there?"
Jason: "See for yourself."

Chronology: From where "Beasts Of Prey" left off.

I loved this episode. Not only did "Under The Knife" finally give Barbara a much injected personality transplant in a good way but it elevated the Ogre story, set up some further dark paths for Oswald and Edward and the Bruce/Selina scenes alone were priceless. The final two are going to be a blast.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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