Gotham Episode 1.15 Recap: The Scarecrow


How far are you willing to go? This is one of the central themes/questions of Gotham, and tonight’s episode, “The Scarecrow,” showed us what can happen to someone with good intentions when they are willing to take things too far.

The Bad

  • Unless the show is prepared to give us a flashback sequence, I found it odd that we didn’t see how Fish Mooney was taken from the ship. We last saw her at the end of last week’s episode prepared to do battle with some kind of pirate. I understand skipping some things to get to the next set piece for her but that last scene built to a crescendo that we didn’t get any resolution from.
  • For the most part, Gotham has cast well and featured some really strong performances. However, last night I was somewhat taken aback by the (unintentionally) odd performance from Babs Olusanmokun in his portrayal of Mace. I chalk much of it to directing as I think the show couldn’t decide what direction they wanted to take the character? It was as if he had an accent at one point and then didn’t all within the same sentence. It also seemed like they did some post-audio work on his lines, but either way it was just off.
  • For the most part, I’m enjoying Fish Mooney in a different environment, but this is now the second character we’ve seen exiled from Gotham and working their way back. I think the show might’ve played the “Fish Mooney is found out by Falcone and ousted from Gotham” card a bit too quick. I would have rather they found a different arc for her character until the finale, and then played that card. The premiere of season 2 would’ve served better point to skip ahead from that boat scene also.
  • At this point, I’m not sure where the show is headed big picture wise. It seems like Gordon is in between big cases, and settling into a new romance, and everyone else now is at a reset point of sorts. The obvious conclusion is when these episodes were being produced, the show’s producers were not yet sure if the series would get a season 2. Either way, it’s hard to put my nose on it but even though we had an interesting story with Father and Son Crane, everything else, while “nice”, seems like treading water.

The Good

  • I’ll be honest, of the different Scarecrow incarnations I’ve seen; I enjoy this origin for Jonathan Crane the best. It doesn’t explain how he fully gets to be a super villain, but it does explain the obsession with fear as well as personal tragedy. Much of  superhero mythology and lore, and Batman in particular, is asking how a person responds to tragedy and extraordinary circumstance. There is a “Go To” story line in Batman’s history that asks if Batman’s presence created the villains. These origin stories help show that Batman didn’t create anything, even if his presence served as an escalation, a theme Christopher Nolan explored magnificently in his film trilogy.
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  • Jonathan Crane suffers the loss of his mother, followed by his father engaging in an insane quest that results in his death and a permanent psychological scarring of himself. Victor Fries (Mr.Freeze) suffers the loss of his wife and engages in criminal activity to fund research to try and bring her back. The list goes on and on, but it also applies to Bruce Wayne. He lost his parents in a horrific way, and also has a tremendous fortune. Other people might become a villain with the same story but Bruce decides to try and prevent those tragedies from happening to others by fighting crime.
  • Speaking of Bruce, although it didn’t end up in Bruce falling into a cave full of bats, this week was yet again another great story of him growing closer to Alfred. At some point, the warmth and bond that is being created has to develop into something that moves Bruce along in his journey. I think with the scenes they’ve had so far, they are well on their way to make that something special.
  • Who didn’t love the awkwardness of Edward and Oswald meeting for the first time? It is interesting that both of them will eventually have a much different relationship to Gordon than they each do now, so it was a nice touch for their first meeting to be at the precinct.
  • I like that the Gordon Crane story has played out over more than one episode. Some of my favorite stories in comic book are ones that fall within a 2-4 issue arc. Rather than a weekly bad guy who is neatly deposed of by the episode’s end, this kind of plot is simply refreshing.

Returning to the idea I began this review with, “The Scarecrow,”  showed us what can happen when someone goes too far to achieve even a noble idea. It seems that at some point Gordon will release his limits and Gotham City will need someone willing to go a bit further. We will have to wait and see if a newly orphaned young boy can discover if he is that person to do what no one else can.

Overall this was a good, but not great episode. I am very nervous about next week, as the preview for the episode seems to hint at a major character debuting on the show. We will see what actually happens and deal with it then. What about you? Did you enjoy this week?

One Reply to “Gotham Episode 1.15 Recap: The Scarecrow”

  1. kenmorefield

    Last week’s show was the best, I thought, because of the writing. My two big issues so far are 1) I wish the show had a center, a focal point; and 2) It’s a little too gruesome/sadistic for my sensibilities. (The drowning scene last week the harvesting of the adrenal glands this week; it’s not Hannibal or even Criminal Minds, but I continue to think they put off a part of their prospective audience that just might not have the stomach for that sort of thing.) Oh, and Fish bores me to tears.

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