“Make that mistake again, and it will be your last”
‘Beasts of Prey’ was another episode of Gotham that fell flat due to the uneven focus on several stories at once. Oswald’s side story took up too much time. Fish Mooney’s extended vacation at the Dollmaker villa has thankfully come to an end, but what has it achieved, exactly? Other than reminding us that Fish is still a character in Gotham? However, both the ‘main story’ of Gordon’s murder case and Bruce Wayne’s commitment to finding Reggie reaped some benefits along the way.
The negatives first. Oswald has been under-utilised since the mid-season premiere. He’s had his moments, but is no longer the reason for watching Gotham. His story began with him asking a bar owner for her bar. She didn’t want money, but instead wanted Oswald to get rid of her granddaughter’s boyfriend. Oswald broke them up by having the boyfriend’s fingers cut off (he’s a guitar player). The bar owner gives him the bar. Apparently, the bar will be where Oswald will kill Maroni. But did we need another few pointless characters to distract us? It could have been handled in one or two scenes. It also led to an unnecessary moment when Oswald walked past Bruce Wayne, who was just out of sight. Both characters looked up as if they had smelt a fart. Hmmm, they must know that their future mortal enemy has just walked past…We don’t need this silly foreshadowing! It was a lot of wasted screen time.
As was Fish’s story. She escaped Dollmaker’s villa/mansion. At least she’s out of there. After all the build-up about who had imprisoned Fish and the others, the revelation of The Dollmaker was a damp squib. The whole story has been nothing more than a device to show us another Batman villain on the screen. I am just relieved that it is over. Did the writers think that having Fish absent for a few episodes would make us forget about her? How could we with Jada Pinkett-Smith’s scenery chewing antics? The escape also seemed to show us yet another Batman villain. One of the main guards around the Dollmaker villa managed to shoot Fish whilst she was escaping in a helicopter. Deadeye, anyone?
“I don’t think this is working out”
The focus on the above stories left less time for the more interesting stories of Gordon’s murder case and Bruce Wayne’s quest to find Reggie. The former starts with a fairly obvious set up for Gordon. An officer offers Gordon a murder case, saying that Gordon had inspired some officers with his honesty and noble intentions. Gordon starts to investigate the case and finds himself in the middle of a serial killer case. Bullock warns him off, but they find out that the serial killer is called The Ogre. The GCPD have covered up the case because ‘The Ogre’ kills the loved ones of the officers investigating the case. An intriguing premise, but one that was hampered by flashbacks of The Ogre. They took me right out of the story as I asked ‘who is having these flashbacks?’ At first I thought it was Gordon imagining what had happened to the murder victim, but I figured out that they weren’t. I couldn’t get a grasp on their purpose. It was a clumsy way of showing us The Ogre. The best part of Gordon’s story was the end, where he confronted Loeb. After he finds The Ogre, Gordon pledges to come after Loeb (but Gordon is still determined to find The Ogre, even though he will put either Leslie’s or Barbara’s life at risk? Oh dear…)!
This is the story we want! Gordon’s rise to become the Commissioner we all know he will be. Minimise the distractions and focus on that. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Batman prequel story without Bruce Wayne. And when Bruce Wayne’s stories are like the one in ‘Beasts of Brey’, they satisfy the audience. Bruce took on Alfred’s quest to find Reggie. Alfred isn’t in the best condition. Selina Kyle ended up helping Bruce, and together they find him in a heroin den (a different kind of shooting gallery to the one Bruce was thinking about). There was some subtle Batman foreshadowing as Bruce demanded to know who sent Reggie. Reggie spills the bean but threatens to tell the people who sent him. He later leans out of the window to grab a bag of heroin Selina had used to get the answers. It precedes a great moment when Bruce thinks about pushing Reggie out of the window. He backs away, but Selina pushes Reggie instead. It was a great scene to show the differences between Bruce and Selina. Bruce isn’t willing to break his morals, even to kill a man who tried to kill his father figure. Selina knows how to survive at any cost. That moment, and Gordon’s rant at Loeb, were the highlights of this episode.
VERDICT: 6/10. ‘Beasts of Prey’ lost its focus, like Gotham tends to do. However, the two main storylines involving Gordon and Bruce reaped great rewards in the end. And at least no more Dollmaker…
(Click here for my review of Gotham, Season 1, Episode 18: Everyone Has A Cobblepot)