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REVIEW: Gotham 1×19 “Beasts of Prey”

I can see it briefly, like flashes in a pan, Gotham could be a good show, an honest to goodness worthwhile watching show. I mean there was a solid interesting plot in “Beasts of Prey” one that I could get invested in week to week and actually care about watching. Seeing Jim face off against The Ogre and attempt to show that GCPD can be a worthwhile police force would be an interesting enough plot to watch for an entire season it seems. However, for some unexplainable reason our hero is relegated to being not even a B plot but a C plot in his own show. I don’t even know how that is possible, list I checked Jim Gordon is the hero of our story and yet here we are forced to care about an impossibly boring Penguin and Fish Mooney making it back to Gotham. Right now Gotham is very much like the villain of our episode, hoping to find something perfect and real only to constantly kill the thing it loves.

So, let’s start with what was actually solid, which right now is the highest complement I can give this show right now. Milo Ventimiglia’s performance as The Ogre was suitably creepy and disturbing as the show attempts to capitalize on the entire 50 Shades of Grey phenomena. Watching him seduce and subsequently hold prisoner his most recent victim was enjoyable as you could see the tinge of sadness mixed in with all that anger that he has yet to find his one true love. The use of flashbacks as a set up was the right choice in this situation although it was really odd that the episode did not end on seeing The Ogre begin stalking his next villain. Right now he is a ghost, a whisper, “the GCPD’s dirty little secret” and that gives him a type of aura and persona that is lacking from every villain we have seen so far. Despite Gotham pouring time and effort into creating Batman villains’ backstories, none of them have every really felt like a threat to our hero. The Ogre is literally someone who terrifies all of GCPD in a way Falcone and the Mob can’t even contend with, there is no reasoning or siding with The Ogre, if you go after him he kills everyone you love and then you.

This is why the “twist” at the end of the episode manages to work on a certain level, Loeb can’t go at Gordon directly, so he is doing it through a monster he lets run free. In a way it is poetic justice considering that Jim went after Loeb’s family in order to start his crusade to create a better GCPD. So Loeb is just returning the favor in that manner and for Jim to not only be angry at this proposition but say that he is going to rise to the occasion adds a dynamic that has been missing this entire season. Just like Batman, Jim needs a villain to match with and if Loeb can be the intellectual challenge while The Ogre can provide the physical/ backup mental challenge than this season might be able to end on some note of hope for the future. However, if this entire gambit fails then we might as well take the show out behind the shed and go old school mob on it.

As for Fish, dear god why do we have to keep giving her a plot. I really can’t put into words how useless and unimportant her character is to the overall story, I mean if next episode opened with her lifeless corpse falling out of that helicopter and onto the ground it would be a blessing. It’s not that I hate her or anything like that it’s just that any plot involving her spins it’s wheels more than the ones on the bus that go round and round. We dedicated what, nearly five episodes of plot to this storyline and nothing came from it at all. Thats not just not knowing what to do with your character that is poor story conception in a way I honestly did not think was possible. Even Penguin’s plot, which was lackluster at best had a point to it as he is attempting to overtake Falcone. Fish’s did not even have that most basic of principals and if she manages to do anything in Gotham it will be a miracle and a half.

Overall it was an average episode with average aspirations.

Final Grade C

+The Ogre seems like a fun villain

+Loeb’s gambit is a little dark and twisted

-Fish you are so worthless

-Penguin plot kind of lame

Extra Thoughts

-I liked mini Bruce’s interrogation, it worked well in the context of the episode.

-I just don’t get the whole 50 Shades of Grey thing, I mean Ventimiglia is basically playing his character from Mob City for the most part and it works.

-Shouldn’t Alfred still be in the hospital?

About the author

Scott Swartz