Gotham goes "Under the Knife" (review/recap)

Directed by T.J. Scott, you can also rename this episode, “Damn, this show has a lot of symmetrical shots.” Because, seriously, damn, son, there are a ton.

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Picking up where the last episode left off, Bruce still finds himself in the heart of Gotham. Only now he realizes that discovering his inner Hardy Boy is going to be much bloodier than he thought.

In order to save their skins, Selina has killed Payne. But Bruce doesn’t see it that way.

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“Why’d you do it?” he asks Selina with a cracked voice. “He told us what we wanted. He told us about Bunderslaw. You didn’t have to go and kill the guy!”

“Yes, I did. Because the moment we’d left, he was gonna go tell his boss.”

Obviously, Selina realizes that she is in a crime noir series because that is basic 101 right there, Bruce. She tells Bruce to go home but he points out that just because Payne is dead, things aren’t over. They have to find what Bunderslaw is about. The two hatch a plan to get into his safe. But not before Selina makes Bruce swear that he will not tell anyone about Payne’s murder. Yeah, that’s great, Cat. As if Bruce doesn’t already have enough issues to make a shrink giggle in glee, add this one too.

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Cut to Eddie making fruit salad the hard way. Actually, he’s testing how a certain victim could have been murdered. Makes you wonder what other fruit out there could double as a human body. Could a melon double for someone’s actual melon?

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Gordon storms in and demands to know where Thompkins is. From the last episode, Gordon has learned that the Ogre goes after the loved ones of cops who dare to hunt for him. Jim is convinced that his search has put Thompkins on that death list.

“Ed, just tell me where she is.” He begs. “No riddles.”

A serious look comes over Eddie. “Home. She went home.”

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Cut to the Ogre looking over newspaper clippings and a Die Fledermaus shout out. We then find Thompkins talking a bath in one of the first symmetrical shots. (And one with a circle in the in the middle. Which seems to be a common theme.) She finds herself in a horror trope. She is in the tub and there is a sound elsewhere. Is she alone? Is the Ogre there to kill her? And who takes a bath in front of a huge, freakin’ window like that?

But it turns out the noise is just from a cat under her bed. But just when she thinks she is safe, HORROR TROPE 101 pops up again. LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU! Luckily, the good doctor has great reflexes and manages to smack the person sneaking up behind her. Unluckily, it’s Gordon. (Seriously, man, knock on the door. You don’t sneak into people’s places unless you like getting hit upside the head.)

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Over an ice pack, Gordon tells the doctor what is going on. He wants her to leave Gotham. But she refuses. Of course, she does. It wouldn’t be a crime noir series if the dame left town to safety.

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Speaking of dames in danger, we next go to another symmetrical shot with a circle in it. And who is behind that circle? Ogre and Barbara. Turns out Barbara is on Ogre’s radar and not Thompkins. And the audience breathes a sigh relief. (Seriously, does anyone like Barbara at this point?)

The insufferable Barbara is still playing clueless party girl as she tries to impress Ogre. But Ogre is ready to kill her. (And maybe put the audience out of its misery with this character.) But Barbara confesses that no one would care if a bus hit her tomorrow. (Somewhere Morrisey’s ears are burning.)

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“Because once you saw the real me,” she puffs, “you would run screaming like everyone else.”

Strange enough this turns Ogre on and the audience even more off. Seriously, Barbara, get a hobby or a shrink. Or a shrink hobby.

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And we cut to a symmetrical shot of lips. “At the late night double feature picture show!”

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Illustration for article titled Gotham goes Under the Knife (review/recap)

No, actually, it’s Cobblepot’s nightclub. Here we get to play, “Count the Crime Noir Cliches.”

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Play along, kids.

  1. Crooked club owner? (Cobblepot, in this case.) Check
  2. Clueless mother who thinks her crooked son is an angel? Check
  3. Crooked club owner putting out a hit in broad daylight? Check
  4. Is the hit on a Don? Yep. Check
  5. Is the hit on a Don behind the back of another higher Don? Check
  6. Hit man with a non-American accent or cliche New YAWK accent? Check. (Irish, no less)
  7. Does the hit man tell the person putting on the hit, “You’re nuts,” or any variation of? (In this case, “You’re a mad fella, aren’t cha?”) Check.
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Thanks for playing.

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Meanwhile, back at Gotham Central, Gordon and Bullock grill the original detective on the Ogre case. Turns out the Ogre killed the cop’s wife because he got too close. Still, he gives the boys a clue that sends them to a plastic surgeon. But just as Gordon thinks he is getting closer to the Ogre, turns out the Ogre is the one tailing him.

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Not a symmetrical shot but still a lovely one.

Illustration for article titled Gotham goes Under the Knife (review/recap)
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Cut to Eddie walking in on his current crush, Kringle, kissing her cop boyfriend, Doughtery. Ed is bringing a gift of a Melon Colosseum because everyone knows that women love ancient sites carved out of fruit. The cop boyfriend turns out to be Cliche Abusive Jerk boyfriend once Ed spies bruises on Kringle’s wrist. Of course, this won’t do.

And the countdown clock to Eddie becoming The Riddler clicks further on.

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Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, Bruce snows Alfred into believing that he is going to The Wayne Enterprise Charity Ball strictly for business. That and a date with Selina. Because a date would be normal at his age. Not playing Junior Detective in a den of could be murderers. Oh, Alfred, you must be on some major pain killers because anyone could see what the kid is doing. Especially when the kid is asking you if you had to kill people in the army. But then, hey, this is Gotham. Maybe this sort of conversation is mundane for this town.

GOTHAMITE 1: Nice day we’re having.

GOTHAMITE 2: Yeah. It has stopped raining for a whole three hours.

GOTHAMITE 1: True. Say, have you ever shivved a man?

GOTHAMITE 2: Yeah. Ended up staining my shoes with his blood. Bitch to clean.

GOTHAMITE 1: Tell me about it. So, who do you see making the play offs?

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Cut to the boys in blue at the surgeon’s in a not quite symmetrical shot but still cool none the less. They meet up with Dr. Cushman to talk about Ogre’s first victim, a nurse at that office. Unfortunately, Doc clams up on who the Ogre is. Why? Because we are not even half way through this episode. Gotta make the boys sing for their supper first.

Outside, Gordon spots a car he recognizes. It’s Ogre and he flees nearly running them down.

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Later at the precinct, the Ogre calls up Gordon and taunts him. Leading Gordon to have a press conference, the smallest press conference ever, calling out Ogre and giving the information of him and his victims to the public. (And giving us another symmetrical shot.)

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And we are back at Barbara’s who is trying to impress Selina with Wayne Ball talk. But that backfires when Selina mentions that not only is she going, she’s going with a Wayne. Cue the knock at the door and the endless parade of clothes for Selina. Try not to get too jealous, Barbara.

Cut to Gotham Central and a new clue. Van Groot. Which makes the audience automatically think, “I am Groot.” Turns out the Van Groots are one of Gotham’s oldest families. Ogre might be rich. And Gordon and Harvey are off once again in search of their suspect.

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And we are back at Cobblepot’s where Don Maroni drops in on a visit but runs into Oswald’s mom. Maroni tells Cobblepot to have a seat and of course, you know, no good will come of this.

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But before we can get to the juicy stuff, we are back at Barbara’s as she wears a shirt that is trying to pass as a dress. Bruce shows up to pick up Selina for the ball. Selina comes into the room looking like she should be standing on top of a wedding cake for a psychobilly couple.

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Cut to Harvey and Gordon at the Van Goots’ and this symmetrical shot.

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They discover the butler hanging himself. To which they cut him down. Leading Harvey to slapping him and declaring, “He’s good.” Thank you, Doctor Bullock.

Harvey searches the rest the house and wanders into the world of “A Rose for Emily” when he discovers Mrs. Van Groot long dead in her bed.

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Cut to the ball where Bruce and Selina are doing their best Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew in search for Bunderslaw. But so far he’s a no show.

Back at the Van Groots, Harvey finds out the butler’s name is Jacob Skolimski. Turns out, he is Ogre’s father. Harvey theories with his Captain that Ogre killed Van Groot. “Daddy pretends she’s still alive, so crazy serial killer son can keep living off her money.”

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He thinks that the old man is still in contact with his son. Captain tells him to follow the lead and keep on a tight watch on Gordon.

Gordon interrogates Skolimski into giving up Ogre. Telling him that Ogre has been killing women. Pops said that there was no way is this true.

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And just went it is getting interesting, BAM, we are back at the ball. Where rich people are doing rich people things and Bruce and Selina are having a heart to heart. But because this is Gotham, it’s a heart to heart about murder. Bruce confesses that he did want to kill Payne in a voice loud enough to be heard in China. But no one blinks either because either they are t00 in their heads or, again, this Gotham and murder talk is yawn worthy.

And we see Bruce drawing a line in the sand that will last with him up and through his Batman years. Unlike Selina, he will never murder. No matter what.

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To which Selina spits back, “I guess that’s where we are different then. ‘Cause if I had to do it again. I would. And it wouldn’t bother me one bit.”

Translation: Eat it, Wayne.

Luckily, at that moment, Bruce spots Bunderslaw. Murder talk over. The chase is on.

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Cut to Eddie confronting Abusive Cop Boyfriend Cliche.

“Riddleman,” says Officer Doughtery. Yep, real subtle writers. Real Subtle.

Eddie, in his own corny riddle way, tells Doughtery to leave Kringle alone because he saw the bruises.

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“And?” says the officer, sealing his fate, because he doesn’t realize he is in a crime noir show.

Because in a crime noir show, the skinny, nerdy guy is usually the most stabby one. Doughtery probably thinks he is in a strange episode of Law and Order. God knows, Gotham looks like NYC. (Yes, because Gotham is filmed there.)

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And the clock countdown to Ed becoming a Gotham villain is almost down to the seconds.

Back at the ball, we are now with Barbara as Ogre finally shows up.

“You,” she says.

“Me,” he says.

End scene.

“Phew,” says the audience.

Cut to Harvey, Gordon with Ogre’s father.

The father spills the beans on Ogre’s relationship with Mrs. Van Groot. Turns out Ogre was convinced that he was Van Groot’s son. Dad tried to make him think otherwise. Didn’t work. Ten years ago, Ogre confronts Van Groot. “Demands she acknowledge him, give him her last name, put him in the will. She laughs at him, said it was all a big joke. So he kills her. His dad feels guilty and helps him cover it up.”

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But there’s a wrinkle. Dad doesn’t know where his son is. Even stranger, turns out Ogre has had plastic surgery and looks nothing like he does now.

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(Cue “Be shocked in horror” music.)

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Meanwhile, back at Cobblepot’s. Maroni gives Mrs. Cobblepot a cold shower of reality on her son. Revealing that he isn’t all sunshine and puppies but poisoned pastries and bloody baseball bats. Thus sealing his fate because on Gotham, messing with a person’s mother, even if she is dead, is a death sentence.

Bye, Sal.

(One a side note, I love the dynamic between Robin Lord Taylor and Carol Kane. And if Sal does touch a hair on Ma Cobblepot’s head, I’ll reach into the screen and strange him, myself.)

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And we return to the ball, where Barbara and Ogre blah, blah, blah. Seriously, let’s cut to the chase and get back to his place/Murder Chamber/50 Shades of Grey knock off room.

Luckily, that just happens. And off to the Murder Chamber they go, leaving Bruce and Selina behind. The two kids manage to pick Bunderslaw’s pocket, make an impression of a key they need from him and put back the wallet in his pocket without him noticing. Great job, kids. You are that much closer to your Junior Detective badges.

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Cut to outside of Kringle’s place, where Eddie confronts Doughtery who was going to see his girlfriend.

And the countdown is getting louder.

“Stop right there, buster,” Ed says.

TICK.

“Riddleman? What the hell are you doing creeping around here?”

TICK.

“You need to leave miss Kringle alone.”

TICK.

“What?”

TICK.

“I’m not going to let you hurt her ever again.”

TICK.

Suddenly Doughtery gets all punchy, thinking Eddie is a joke. But the murder clock rings and out comes the knife in Eddie’s hand stabbing.

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One.

Two.

Three. Four.

Five. Six. Seven.

Eight. Nine. Ten stabs.

A villain is born. And in a symmetrical shot.

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Back to Gotham’s other villain, Cobblepot. He and his mother are at her house. He is comforting her after their not so nice run in with Sal. Oswald is trying to convince his mother that everything Sal said was a lie. But she’s not buying it. She leaves the room with tears in his eyes and Oswald with tears in his. There’s a knock at the door. It’s a delivery guy with salt in the wound flowers from Sal. And because it has been a couple of episodes since Oswald killed anyone, he stabs the poor guy with a shard of glass while declaring war on Maroni. (How Sal is going to know this with the delivery guy being dead, we don’t know. But Oswald is not at his mental best when he is pissed.)

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Sorry, guy. I hope you weren’t two weeks away from retirement.

Cut to Harvey, Gordon and Captain discussing Ogre. They finally have his real name. (Though he is not using it.) As well as a sketch to work on. It’s then that Gordon realizes that Ogre isn’t going after Thompkins but Barbara. (The paper that Orge used to find out about Gordon ran an old photo featuring Barbara.) Gordon races to Barbara’s place to find Selina alone. Selina recognizes the man in Gordon’s sketch.

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Which leads us to Ogre finally showing Barbara his murder room. And one last symmetrical shot.

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GOTHAM CREDITS.

What will happen next? Will Eddie make the Pantheon out of grapefruit? Will Oswald shoot the pizza boy? Will Barbara live out the dark corner of fanfic.net? Will Bruce start taking pointers from Harriet the Spy? With Gordon finally grow that damn mustache? The only guarantee is it will be bloody.

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