Review: Gotham, Season 1, Episode 21: The Anvil or The Hammer (Either, Just Knock Me Out Now!)


“So we do it the hard way

The penultimate episode of ‘Gotham’s’ first season, ‘The Anvil or The Hammer,’ left us with a promising cliffhanger but little else. The Ogre’s story was wrapped up with a series of lucky guesses from Gordon and Bullock. Barbara’s character fell to a mere part of that plot line. Her character was the strongest it’s ever been in the beginning of last week’s episode. Here, Barbara was nothing more than a person to carry along the plot. Nigma was shoved in an autopsy room for most of the episode as he disposed of the dead body. Bruce Wayne’s adventures with Wayne Enterprise came to little more than a precursor to his (much-mentioned) will to follow the law. The saving grace was the cliffhanger, involving Penguin’s plot. He stole the show, but there wasn’t much of a show to steal… 

The Ogre has had three episodes to develop. In three episodes he has failed to come off as anything more than a poor man’s American Psycho. In ‘The Anvil or The Hammer,’ he was reduced to threatening Barbara a few times and explaining to her (and to us, once again) what he’s done in the past. We know he’s a murderer! We do not need to go through his victims again. Gordon and Bullock spent their time chasing him around in what was little more than time-wasting. We saw The Fox Glove, a club that plays homage to ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and some bestiality. A highlight for all the wrong reasons. From lucky lead to lucky lead, this was detective work at its most coincidental. And boring! It led Bullock and Gordon to Barbara’s parents’ mansion…

Barbara couldn’t be presented as a strong woman at all. Instead, she simply gave in to The Ogre after he threatened her a few times. I thought that they could be building up to a moment of revenge for Barbara, but I was wrong. Instead, The Ogre asks for Barbara for someone to kill. Murder would prove his love for her. For some reason, Barbara chooses her parents. The Ogre murders them before Bullock and Gordon arrive. The proceeding fight carried no tension at all, even when The Ogre held Barbara at gunpoint. Gordon shoots The Ogre, then goes off to profess his love for Leigh. Barbara is forgotten about. Where was her moment of revenge? Why did she give in to The Ogre so easily? All questions that will also be forgotten about. Poor. Just poor.

Where are Cruise and Kidman?
Where are Cruise and Kidman?

“You think you know who I am…what I’m capable of…you have no idea”

Gordon, in his pursuit of The Ogre, once again came to Oswald for help. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times…Did Gordon really need Oswald’s help? There were other options available to him. The scene only sought to bring Gordon and Oswald together; there was no other reason for it. However, Oswald commanded the most interest in the episode. His slowly developing plan to take out Maroni in that little bar came to fruition. But in a most surprising manner. It turned out that Oswald didn’t want Maroni to be killed. Instead, he wanted to make it appear as if Falcone had tried to have Maroni killed. I didn’t see it coming, and it led to Maroni declaring war on Falcone in the last moments of the episode.

That was the only appealing element of the episode. It’s the hook that made me want to watch next week’s finale. Everything else was dull. Bruce Wayne’s investigation into Wayne Enterprises halted when he was caught by Bunderslaw. Bunderslaw told him that his grandfather and his father did what was ‘best for business’ and allowed the illegal elements of the company to flourish for profit. However, a young Lucius Fox told Wayne that his father kept a lot of secrets. Nothing much else happened, even though plenty of time was given to Wayne’s storyline. He told Alfred that he and Selina Kyle were involved in Reggie’s murder, but the (criminally under-used) Alfred had little to say about the revelation. “Even good men have secrets,” was the line that seemed to be the pay-off for this sub-plot.

There was so much screen time wasted on unappealing and dull elements. Nigma typed Kringle a letter from her boyfriend (murdered by Nigma) that said he was going away. Kringle reads it out to him and Nigma said that she has to read between the lines. He repeated the line to himself after she left. Oh, so Nigma likes riddles, does he?!?! There doesn’t seem to be anything else on the line in the finale apart from the gang war. Most of the plot lines were resolved here in the most rudimentary of ways. In the words of Homer Simpson, BORING!

VERDICT: 4/10. Not only a disappointing ending to The Ogre three-episode run, but pointless for 80% of its running time. Only the gang war offers motivation to watch the finale…

Leave your thoughts below…

(Click here for my review of Gotham, Season 1, Episode 20: Under The Knife)


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