Gotham Season 1 Episode 15 Review – ‘The Scarecrow’

Martin Carr reviews the fifteenth episode of Gotham…

It occurs to me that I may have been a little harsh on Julian Sands. For whatever reason I failed to buy into his portrayal of Dr Gerald Crane, feeling that there was no inherent threat, fear or sense of foreboding. In ‘The Scarecrow’ the metaphorical penny dropped and I was granted an epiphany of sorts. Coloured by Cillian Murphy’s interpretation I had brought certain preconceptions with me. I considered him nothing more than a glorified bogeyman with no rhyme or reason, rampaging through Gotham toxin in hand. That I made no allowances for backstory, or considered for one minute that Sands and his performance were merely understated building blocks was an oversight. For this I believe there should be some form of recompense.

 

 

What we have here is an episode which is subtle in its development and makes comments upon relationships, flawed or otherwise. Whether between Crane and his son, Gordon and Thompkins or Maroni, Falcone and Penguin, there is a carefully drawn yet dysfunctional dynamic which unfolds. Each character has the best of intentions yet is driven by their own very selective agenda. This in part brought home to me the need to cut Sands some slack. Driven by grief and consumed by fear, he delivers a performance devoid of psychological ticks in search of nothing more than emotional closure.

Elsewhere surrogate father and son relationships are forming between Bruce and Alfred, which compliments the burgeoning chemistry growing between these two actors. As an audience you feel more like someone looking in, rather than having the sense it is staged and merely killing time. Overall Gotham is feeling more and more like this. Relationships no longer feel stilted and awkward to watch. Morena Baccarin has brought a lightness of touch to proceedings in her moments with McKenzie, seemingly very comfortable in a role with subtly comedic overtones. No longer coming across as a third wheel, she compliments Logue and McKenzie while circumventing Gordon’s commitment issues.

 

 

My only issue which I thought had been laid to rest is Fish Mooney. This character was created for the show. Never existed within the DC universe before this and feels perpetually like a fish out of water. Pun intended. Following the moment of acting I witnessed at the end of last week I no longer blame Pinkett Smith. It seems she is being pushed from pillar to post at the behest of writers who have no idea what to do with her. They have yet to develop Fish beyond a two dimensional caricature of female empowerment. Smith can put as many whistles and bells on the performance as she likes, but ultimately if they never get beyond her persona as alpha female then she will be trapped in this limbo indefinitely. Thankfully with the ratings pouring in for Gotham it would appear the writers at Fox have time. Let us hope they make use of it.