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‘Gotham’ Season 1 Episode 21 Recap: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

gotham anvil or the hammer

When we last left off in Gotham, Barbara went home with a guy named Jason Skolimsky (who, unbeknownst to Barbara, is a serial killer named “The Ogre”). She is on her way out of his apartment from her one night stand with him, but is stopped in her tracks when Jason confesses his love to her. She comes to the realization that she has just slept with a psychopath, and runs for the door. Unfortunately, the door is padlocked and impossible to open, and while she is struggling with it, Jason bags her head and officially takes her hostage.

He locks her up in his Fifty-Shades-of-Deadly-Grey room and explains his romantic history to her, eventually coming to the conclusion that Barbara is the one for him, a conclusion that terrifies Barbara. He finally releases her from the chains, and she takes this opportunity to spit on him and slap him. Jason surprisingly keeps his cool and forgives her because she is, after all, “the one.” But when she angrily says that Jim will catch him, he slaps her in the face and tells her the only way she will anger him is if she mentions Jim’s name again. He calms down and decides to show Barbara the photos of the women he had held hostage and killed before her.

Barbara faints when she comes to terms with her potential fate, and finds herself coming to on his couch. She breaks down in tears and tells him she is afraid of him killing her, but he tells her he won’t, and instead demands to know who he can kill instead. She at first tells him she doesn’t want to kill anyone, but when he holds a knife to her throat and threatens her to tell him, she relents and whispers a name in his ear.

Back at the police archives, Jim Gordon confesses to his girlfriend Lee that he feels guilty for Barbara’s disappearance, and Lee tries to get him to understand that it’s not his fault. Meanwhile, his partner Harvey Bullock barges in with a juvenile delinquent, claiming he knows who the Ogre is. Gordon wrestles some information out of the kid and finds out that the Ogre was a regular at a high-class brothel called The Foxglove Club, which is only accessible by invitation. Gordon decides to acquire an invitation from the Penguin, which does not go down well. Jim ends up threatening him, and even though he leaves with the invitation, he is stuck owing the Penguin yet another big favor.

Jim hands over the invitation to Harvey, who is excited at the idea of getting to investigate the uber-excusive club. But even Harvey is weirded out by what goes down at the Foxglove (the people of Gotham have some very interesting kinks), and loses his cool when he witnesses (I’m assuming) bestiality onstage. He whips out his badge and in no time, police flood the place for investigation. Jim and Harvey talk to a woman named Sally, who reveals that she was kidnapped by the Ogre nine years ago, about one year before his first murder. They ask her if she remembers where the Ogre had lived, and from what she remembers,  she could see the Royal Hotel from his window. The detectives deduce that the apartment is in Midtown Gotham, and proceed to investigate.

They find the Ogre’s apartment and discover that it is completely empty. They do find his BDSM room and discover the photographs of his victims. As they are doing so, the house phone rings (how did the Ogre even know they were there?), and the Ogre informs them that he has Barbara, and hangs up on them abruptly. The detectives find out he is driving upstate to Barbara’s parents’ house because they heard his car driving over train tracks (apparently they are experts in discovering location via background noise). When they arrive at her parent’s house, Jim finds her parents murdered on the couch (hm, I was sure Barbara would’ve told the Ogre to kill Jim or Lee instead).

As Jim is investigating the living room her parents were murdered in, Barbara walks in and asks Jim why he is there. Barbara has a really odd look in her eyes as she looks at Jim, and her dress is covered in blood stains. All of a sudden, the Ogre comes up behind her and holds a knife up to her throat, threatening Jim that if he shoots him he will kill Barbara too. Barbara begs Jim to leave her and the Ogre alone, and I guess that weird look she had earlier was because she somehow developed Stockholm syndrome in the 24 hours she was hostage. But just then, good ol’ Harvey comes up behind the Ogre, distracting him enough for Jim to fire a fatal shot into the Ogre’s head.

Meanwhile, Ed Nygma suspiciously lugs a couple of black suitcases down to the forensics room. They happen to contain the dismembered body of Tom Dougherty, a Gotham police officer and the boyfriend of Kristen Kringle, who is also Nygma’s love interest. Last episode, Nygma had stabbed Dougherty to death for being a jerk to Kringle, and now Nygma is trying to destroy the evidence. As he is about to dump chemicals all over the body in the sink, Kringle knocks on the door, asking for some case files.

She walks into the room and is horrified at seeing the bloody and dismembered body. Ngyma explains that it was a man who was killed in a factory accident, and after she expresses sympathy for the poor man and disbelief at Nygma’s having to work with dead people all day, she asks Nygma if he has seen her boyfriend anywhere. Nygma denies that he has (even though he is technically in the same room as him), and rushes her out of the room to continue working on destroying the evidence.

Nygma is thinking of ways to break it to Kringle that her boyfriend is gone, and he decides to pen a break-up letter to her in Dougherty’s name. Kringle receives the letter and is upset about it, wondering aloud why she keeps picking creeps. Nygma tells her that sometimes with men, you have to read between the lines, but Kringle claims that sometimes with men, you must need a drink. In this case, she should have taken Nygma’s advice and read more into the letter. Nygma’s name is revealed to be the first letter of every sentence, and although it is a menial clue, it’s an interesting tip off from the man who will become a criminal obsessed with leaving clues behind to find him.

At the Wayne mansion, Alfred tells Bruce that he is depressed to find out about his old friend Reggie’s death, and even though Reggie had betrayed him by stabbing and stealing from him, he still decides to attend his funeral. He doesn’t know Bruce and Selina were the ones responsible for Reggie’s death. Bruce is extremely guilty when he sees that Alfred is upset about Reggie, but continues with infiltrating Bunderslaw’s office. Bruce takes the key to Bunderslaw’s safe with him when he pays Wayne Enterprises a visit. He sets off the fire alarm as a distraction and goes into Bunderslaw’s office. As he is opening the safe (which turns out to be empty), Bunderslaw walks in on him, much to Bruce’s terror.

Surprisingly, Bunderslaw isn’t mad and tell Bruce that he has been expecting him, and even offers him a cookie. He admits to Bruce the company is involved with illegal acts in order to reap profits, and also tells him that Bruce’s father and grandfather had also kept quiet about the corruption. This statement disgusts Bruce, and he denies the facts that are given to him, but his conversation with Bunderslaw is cut short when a junior executive named Lucius Fox (the future Morgan Freeman!) walks in. He takes Bruce out to the lobby, and before Bruce climbs into the elevator, Fox says that Bruce’s father “kept his best self hidden,” hinting that his father may not have been the saint Bruce thought he was.

Bruce arrives back home and decides to be honest with Alfred. He tells him that Selina pushed Reggie out the window, and also tells him about his meeting with Bunderslaw, and the new information he gathered from him. Alfred begins by saying that Bruce’s father was a good man, but Bruce says that even good men have secrets, taking Fox’s words into account.

The Penguin’s plan to kill Maroni appears to be going smoothly. Tommy Bones, a former hit man for Maroni, was recently released from prison and is joining Maroni for dinner at Lydia’s (the owner of the bar the Penguin acquired last episode). Butch, a gangster helping the Penguin pull off Maroni’s death, had previously hid guns behind and under the bar for O’Connor (a hit man for Falcone that the Penguin hired to kill Maroni) to use. O’Connor arrives with his accomplice at Maroni’s private party and brings him a bottle of “Madre di Dios,” Maroni’s favorite wine. As he and his accomplice are about to kill Maroni, their plan goes awry when both of their guns seemingly jam up. They are both promptly killed and Maroni takes this as a sign for a gang war between him and Falcone. Butch warns the Penguin that Maroni survived the attack, but the Penguin reveals that he set O’Connor up by taking out the firing pens before Butch hid the guns. The Penguin claims that he would much rather have Maroni alive and out for blood than be under Falcone’s thumb.

As Jim is being applauded at the police archives for solving the Ogre’s case, his captain Sarah Essen comes out and informs all of the officers they will not be granted leave because of the gang activity that is beginning to upset Gotham. I’m not sure how the Penguin thinks his plan got him off the hook, but one thing’s for sure: the Penguin successfully began a gang war between two of the biggest dons in Gotham, and he’s sure to get caught in the crossfire.

Again, yet another entertaining episode of Gotham. While it may not be the best-written or best-thought-out show around (hello, what the hell happened to Fish?), I’ve got to admit it’s kept me quite entertained. And isn’t that the whole point? Let’s hope season one ends with a bang next week.