Review: Gotham, Season 1, Episode 20, ‘Under The Knife’ (Hard To Dissect…)


“Didn’t you know, I’m a member of society”

If you had Attention Deficit Disorder, then ‘Under The Knife’ was the perfect episode of ‘Gotham’ to watch. It flitted through scenes like there was no tomorrow. Not to say it wasn’t entertaining; on the contrary, plot developments came thick and fast. Nigma’s obsession with Kris Kringle finally came to something. Bruce Wayne was reeling after Selina Kyle’s murderous actions last week. However, there was hardly a moment to focus on the ‘present.’ The episode sped on, dipping from story to story without room to breathe. If ‘Gotham’ hadn’t lost its focus for much of the series, then the multiple strands wouldn’t have to been ploughed through so quickly.

The Ogre’s story continued from ‘Beasts of Prey,’ as he laid his eyes on Jim Gordon’s love…but not Leigh! Barbara was his target. She brushes The Ogre off after taking him back to her apartment. He assumed, wrongly, that she had a boyfriend. She plays an important part in this episode. After lesbian affairs, flitting in and out of Gotham, allowing two homeless children into her home, the character is given something integral to the plot to do, for once! Even when she was with Gordon, her character seemed a little pointless. But she is almost the star of the show here. At the end she decides to go back to The Ogre’s house after meeting him at a Wayne Enterprise Charity Ball…

The Ogre, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to do in this episode. We hear about his convoluted back story, revealed by his dad. So his father was a butler for a woman, and The Ogre wanted her to be his step-mother, but she refused because he was deformed…so he kills her and lives off her money while his butler dad looks after the corpse’s house…Errr, okay!  The “shocking revelation” that he’s had plastic surgery wasn’t a shock at all. His threat level doesn’t heighten at all here. However, he does have an impressive monologue to Barbara after surprising her at the Charity Ball. He tells Barbara that he knows how she feels; being one person out on the inside, another on the outside. “Are you tired of playing games?” he asks. Back at his apartment, he shows her his Red Room. She smiles, so it seems like she has different games in mind…

“I’m coming after you. And I’m not gonna stop”

Gordon believes that The Ogre is coming after Leigh, through his intransigence on tracking The Ogre down. In effect, he tells her that stopping The Ogre is more important than her life. He sweetens it up by telling her that he loves her, though! Leigh refused to leave Gotham, and Gordon is happy for the police to protect her. Oh, the same police that is mostly corrupt and under Commissioner Loeb’s orders? Oh, right…As per usual, Gordon and Bullock’s investigation relies on a number of conveniences. And Gordon only realises that The Ogre is actually after Barbara after having an unlikely memory of a photograph in a newspaper! It means that we have another episode of The Boring Ogre next week. Yay!

I dare you, Ogre, try to kill my love!!!
I dare you, Ogre, try to kill my love!!!

Nigma and Oswald had parallel stories with parallel endings. Nigma saw bruises on Kris Kringle’s arm, caused by her jock boyfriend. When Nigma confronted him about them, the dialogue was the typical geek/jock talk from a high school comedy. Like a stalker, Nigma waits outside Kris Kringle’s house. The boyfriend enters, Nigma calls out to him, boyfriend punches him in the stomach. And then Nigma stabs him. Not once, not twice, but again and again, whilst laughing and spluttering “Oh dear!” Nigma has always been odd, but the stabbing felt out of character. At least have the boyfriend trying to solve a riddle and dying in the process.

The multiple stabbings echoed a sentiment from Maroni earlier on in the episode.  He came to Oswald’s and sat down with Penguin’s mom, whispering sweet nothings to her. Of course, it was all a front. In front of The Penguin, Maroni asks Gertrude if she’s stupid. Her son’s a cold-blooded killer, who’s stabbed somebody again and again without remorse. Penguin vigorously denies these allegations, but vows that Maroni will pay. Maroni sends around some flowers, and the Penguin stabs the delivery boy. The difference between the two killings was that Nigma didn’t really know what to do, whereas Oswald looked determined.

“There’s a line…I will never cross it” 

What else…what else…Selina Kyle’s murder of Reggie was the cloud over Bruce Wayne’s head in this episode. While we know how the two kids will turn out, the differences between the show gave both characters an emotional depth that underlined their friendship. What will happen to make them enemies? I wonder…They work together at the Charity Ball to steal Bunderslaw’s key to the safe in his office. Of course, everyone keeps the key their safe in their dinner jacket…

It was hard to process everything that happened. The end of the season is near, and the writers are obviously struggling to fit in everything they wanted to fit in. So why stuff so many episodes with superfluous subplots? There was a lot to comment on, but too much to comment on in ‘Under The Knife.’ There’s only two episodes left…

VERDICT: 7/10. There was a lot to like about ‘Under The Knife.’ Nigma’s and Oswald’s parallel stories, Wayne’s inability to understand why Kyle resorted to murder, and Barbara. Finally, she was useful! But too much going on, and a scene change every two minutes, led to a jumbled mess.

(Click here for my review of Gotham, Season 1, Episode 19: Beasts of Prey)

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