BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

After taking a lengthy break for most of March and April - Gotham has returned to finish off its first season with a renewed sense of purpose and some of the better episodes of the entire season. Last week's "Beasts of Prey" introduced The Ogre, played by Milo Ventimiglia, a twisted bit of serial killer business that Gotham is wisely stretching out over the course of these last few episodes.

On the Trail of The Ogre

For this week's episode of Gotham, "Under the Knife", detectives Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are tracking down The Ogre without hesitation and we get some creepy background on the character after the detectives end up at the gruesome scene that is his parent's mansion. Gordon and Bullock are greeted by a father who is in the middle of trying to hang himself and a mom who is rotting away up in the bedroom. And they find out their kid was horribly disfigured and killed his mom over a decade ago. So yeah, The Ogre has some family issues.

The Ogre eyes Barbara in Gotham's Under the Knife.
The Ogre eyes Barbara in Gotham's Under the Knife.

One of the best things to see in these past couple of episodes is that the show is finally giving some purpose to the characters of Barbara Gordon, or Barbara Kean as the case may be, and Selina Kyle. Since the modus operandi of The Ogre is to go after the loved ones of the detective who is trying to capture him - the obvious target was Jim Gordon's current love Dr. Thompkins, but The Ogre sees an old picture of Jim and Barbara and things have certainly gotten interesting for Jim's old flame.

The Ogre & Barbara Kean

By the end of the episode Jim and Harvey have a sketch of The Ogre as he looked after his expensive plastic surgery and Jim figures out that The Ogre has targeted Barbara and was last seen dancing with her at the Wayne Enterprises charity ball. But in the best twist of events, The Ogre has moved away from thinking of killing Barbara and instead is making efforts to recruit her into the serial killing business. Didn't see that coming!

Barbara Kean steps out of Gotham's shadows.
Barbara Kean steps out of Gotham's shadows.

Maybe I'm just so happy to see Barbara freed from sitting around the house and drinking to actually being part of the plot that I look at this plot twist as a fantastic idea. When The Ogre invites her into his killing room and she looks around at all his grizzly tools - and smiles! I had to give Gotham a hand. For more than 10 episodes or so now, Barbara has been Gotham's afterthought - the fact that they seem to be working hard to make up for that has me looking forward to what else they might have planned for the character.

Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle

Most often seen sitting around with Lil' Poison Ivy watching Barbara drink, Selina Kyle has also been stuck in a Gotham limbo for the majority of the season. But these past two episodes have also proven that Gotham hasn't completely forgotten that she's a character on the show and they've done a great job of not only getting Lil' Catwoman involved in the plot but they've also given her character an interesting relationship with Bruce Wayne.

Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle continue an awkward dance
Bruce Wayne & Selina Kyle continue an awkward dance

Prior to "Beasts of Prey" Selina and Bruce were just a couple of messed up kids who kind of knew each other - but after Selina killed Reggie in the last episode, she's starting to sew the seeds of Bruce's code of ethics and, like Barbara, it's proving that Gotham is finally finding a purpose to her character. In "Under the Knife" she continues to help Bruce get to the bottom of the corruption on the Wayne Enterprises board members by stealing the key to Sid Bunderslaw's safe - the guy that Reggie revealed was behind everything - possibly even the death of his parents.

Penguin & Fish Mooney

The rest of the episode was devoted to progressing the story for Oswald Cobblepot and Edward Nigma. Sadly, there was no sign of Fish Mooney in "Under the Knife" after she ended last week's episode getting shot while flying away from Dollmaker's hospital in a helicopter. If I have one beef with this episode of Gotham it's that they've dropped the ball a bit on keeping any momentum going with the Fish Mooney storyline. I guess we're supposed to simply assume she made it back to Gotham alive... ???

Oswald Cabblepot prepares for war against Maroni.
Oswald Cabblepot prepares for war against Maroni.

But Gotham tries to make up for the lack of Fish Mooney with Penguin continuing his plot against Sal Maroni. Unfortunately it was mostly wheel spinning this episode. While Penguin did make some progress by hiring some "knife & gun" goons to do the deed, that took all of five seconds while the rest of the episode just reinforced Penguin's desire to off the guy as Maroni basically tries to turn Penguin's beloved mom against him. It's not like Penguin wasn't already planning on killing Maroni - or that he didn't already have his motivation for doing what Maroni's already tried to do to him - so it seemed a little unnecessary. But the episode did increase Penguin's bloodlust, if nothing else.

The Riddler Emerges!

Yeah, this was definitely one of the best episodes of Gotham this season. In an episode with more than a couple of highlights - "Under the Knife" also features the final straw in breaking Edward Nigma's back. After receiving rejection after rejection from co-worker Ms. Kringle, it takes him noticing some bruises at the hand of her current boyfriend, Officer Tom Dougherty, to set him over the edge. He tries to talk to the guy but he only makes fun of "Riddle Man" and brushes him aside.

The Riddler finally sees first blood in Gotham.
The Riddler finally sees first blood in Gotham.

Ed will take no more. After spending most of the first season as a sometimes annoyingly quirky character that might pop up in one or two scenes here and there, Nigma is finally a man of action in "Under the Knife". Bloody, murderous action - but action nonetheless. Like it does with Barbara and Selina, this episode of Gotham does a nice job of brining the character of Edward Nigma to life. It's grim stuff as Ed stops Tom on a dark street to try one more time to get him to leave Ms. Kringle alone. Tom punches Ed and then the stabby stabby begins.

We leave the episode with Ed's maniacal face and bloody hands all but erasing the goofy smile he gave us the rest of the season. If the episode could have fit in a little bit of an update on Fish Mooney it may have been a nearly perfect episode of [Gotham](series:1127075) - one that has something for all the characters and moved the story forward in a confident and purposeful way. As it stands - it's still one of the best of the season.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!


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