Review: Gotham, Season 1 Episode 14: The Fearsome Dr. Crane (Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid)


“Time to get your house in order”

Gotham’s disparate plotlines can be meshed together for good effect. But, more often than not, the balance between the episode’s singular story and other over-arching storylines clash with each other. They fight for space. Unfortunately, the latter is the case for ‘The Fearsome Dr. Crane.’ Too much is crammed into one space, and only one plot line comes off relatively well. The others are short-changed.

The plotline that does come off well is that between Penguin and Maroni. I’ve said before that the Penguin usually is the most entertaining character. And this episode is no different. Fish, very conveniently, calls Maroni up whilst he is having dinner with the Penguin. She tells him that Penguin is working with Falcone. This leads to Maroni taking Penguin out to the country and a gripping game of ‘you tell me one secret, I’ll tell you one secret.’ It’s full of bluffs and double-bluffs. The only real let-down is Penguin once again ends up begging for his life. Didn’t he do exactly the same last week? I know he’s meant to be a conniving, pathetic little man, but I didn’t need to see him beg for his life again.

Squeal like a pig!
Squeal like a pig!

The snippets of Fish on a ship seems superfluous until an intriguing cliff-hanger at the end of the episode. Selina Kyle only appears to tell Gordon what we already know; that she was lying about seeing the Waynes’ murderer. Gordon then goes to Bruce to tell him…was this really necessary? All that happens is that Bruce tells Gordon that he no longer needs to investigate the murders. Bruce will do it by himself. I am sure this plot could have had a reduced duration. We don’t need to be told twice what we already know!

“I’m scared all the time” 

But Gotham sometimes treats us like children. Even though there is always a ‘Previously On Gotham’ segment, the characters have to explain with great detail what happened in the previous episode. Here, Bullock is given a lecture about being careful due to the imprisonment of Flass. What I like is subtlety, but that’s just me…There’s also Mr. Nigma being suspended after tampering with a corpse (about time!), but he still manages to stay on duty. He puts various limbs in the locker of the Medical Examiner (who should be fired or at least suspended for ruling an obvious murder as a suicide last week!), which leads to the Medical Examiner being fired…so no investigation into the limbs? Maybe this will come back and hit Mr. Nigma in the face? However, Nigma is un-suspended as quickly as he was suspended…what?!?!?

All of these segments only serve to diminish the importance of the villain of the week, The Fearsome Dr. Crane. Although it isn’t who you think it is (quite a clever way to counteract the continuing criticism that at this rate, most of Batman’s arch-enemies will be in a wheelchair by the time Bruce grows up), we aren’t given enough information about the villain. All we know is that he was experimenting with fear…and that he will probably keep it in the family. Both the villain and his “accomplice” escape, so hopefully we will be able to spend more time with Mr. Crane. He was well-acted and interesting, but we should have spent more time with him!

VERDICT: 6/10 Saved from mediocrity by the Penguin and Maroni’s trip to the country. Apart from that, typical, confused, Gotham…

(Click here for my review of Episode 13: Welcome Back, Jim Gordon)

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