On the D/L – Gotham

Feb 3, 2015 | Posted by in TV

Season 1 Episode 14 – “The Fearsome Dr. Crane”

Gotham fully resumes the status quo but continues to have the Penguin’s exploits bubble away in the background as a Proto-Scarecrow terrorises people who are afraid of things.

The titular plot of this episode was really weak stuff. I was actually looking forward to a proper Batman villain showing up. If the show is going to continually tease us with endless references then it only makes sense for them to occasionally follow through on one of them. Sadly Dr. Crane (Julian Sands) was about as one dimensional as it gets without any clear motivation as to why he was doing things. Also, he pets a pig as he stalks his victim. What’s all that about?

I did like the hint at him developing something after extracting the adrenal glands from his victims. There was some discussion about chemicals being produced when in a heightened state of fear so I wonder if it will turn into the classic Scarecrow fear toxin. If this show’s momentum is anything to go by he’ll already have developed it by the next episode.


The fearsome Dr. Crane everyone, stroking his…piglet?

I like Julian Sands as an actor and I really liked him back when he was on Smallville playing the physical manifestation of Clark’s Kryptonian father Jor’El but something seemed a bit off about him here. It harkens back to him seeming somewhat one dimensional. He doesn’t appear until really late on in the episode so the threat level was never properly built to begin with and by the time we do meet him he seems like something of an afterthought. An attempt is made to give him some pathos with a wannabe impassioned speech about what scares him but it really didn’t work for me. If I believe that he’s simply insane -albeit a very deliberate kind of insane- then his motivations start to make a bit of sense.

What I did find interesting is that his son -the canon Scarecrow presumably- is introduced in a brief scene where he complains about running out of money for the parking meter. Apparently things like parking legally matter to psycho killers. There’s not much to say about him other than he seemed exasperated yet willing to let his father do what he felt needed to be done. Something tells me he’s going to grow up really troubled.

The best scenes in the episode as usual involved Penguin. I liked seeing him firmly on the defensive from Maroni who managed to put two and two together after a quick phone call from Fish Mooney. It was an interesting reversal from the apparent victory Penguin had in the previous couple of episodes. It seemed that he had gotten Fish out of the way while still playing Maroni and Falcone off each other. His pretending to be a double agent while furthering his own agenda seemed to be working out well for him so it’s understandable that he might forget to cover some angles and be vulnerable.

I really loved David Zayas’ acting in this episode. We got to see a bit more of Maroni and learned how ruthless he can be first hand rather than just hearing about it. Maroni’s dialogue is nicely layered as he tries to give Penguin  the opportunity to be honest on several occasions but is ultimately forced to use more extreme methods. His plan to execute Penguin seems a little Saturday Morning Cartoon villain but it was nice to see him so terrified in a seemingly inescapable situation.

His way out was clever too. I like how he played on the innate fear of the owner of the scrapyard and suggested that Falcone would take his revenge if anything were to happen to his right hand man. I continue to be impressed by how resourceful the Penguin is and how adept he is at manipulating those around him. I think his development will be slowed due to the fact that he only has Falcone to protect him now. It’s not the most ideal situation for him by any stretch.

Gordon’s story was mostly tied to the Proto-Scarecrow plot but as usual he didn’t seem to do an awful lot. The villain wasn’t interesting enough to give him too much to do but it was mostly standard investigation stuff from him. I do actually find his budding relationship with Dr. Leslie Thompkins to be intriguing though. I felt that it was moving too fast after only a handful of scenes together but the show seems to be acknowledging that and the two characters seem to be carefully exploring what could be between them. It’s a lot better than the chemistry free relationship with the vapid Barbara that thankfully seems to be gone for now.

One thing that was unexpected was seeing a softer side to Bullock for a change. I actually found the scene where he flirted with Scottie Mullen (Maria Thayer) charmingly hilarious. It’s clear that he’s not done that in a while but really sees something in her that he likes. He’s bold but a little awkward that that’s kind of interesting. I really liked his speech about being afraid at the meeting. It gives Bullock some long overdue depth that he has sorely been missing and hopefully a relationship will be beneficial for his character.


The Penguin is about to get a lot thinner

For once I actually found Bruce Wayne’s appearance in the episode worthwhile. He’s normally completely worthless in my opinion so to see him have a scene that carries some weight is pretty refreshing. Releasing Gordon from his promise to find the killer of his parents makes sense as it’s been so long since the Wayne murder has been at the center of anything that I had nearly forgotten it existed. I also like that Selina Kyle is playing mind games with the young Batman, for some reason that strikes me as interesting.

In another unusual turn I was enjoying what Edward Nygma was given to do. I like the idea that Gordon trusts him over the medical examiner who determined that someone managed to kill himself with an ice pick by stabbing himself in the back and I like that Nygma is desperate to be accepted. He’s an odd guy but people seem to like him. Even the equally strange Kristine Kringle is warming to him slowly. There are seeds sown suggesting a betrayal is incoming between Nygma and Gordon which makes sense given Nygma’s inevitable future.

I also really liked him framing the medical examiner by placing body parts in his locker so that he would be fired. There was something disgustingly impressive about that. It’s a nice hint at how devious Nygma can be. For the first time I find myself impressed with this character.


  • 7/10
    The Fearsome Dr. Crane - 7/10


A vast improvement on last week but still a largely uneven experience. The lack of an engaging villain really brought down the potential of this episode to become something special.

Having a Proto-Scarecrow as a villain should have been something that made the show more engaging but it never quite rose to the levels that the writers probably wanted it to. Julian Sands is a really good actor but comes across as wholly one dimensional in this role.

Gordon had very little to do this week but his relationship with Dr. Leslie Thompkins proves to be quite interesting so far. It’s a realistic portrayal of 2 people who are treading carefully for fear of getting hurt and it sort of makes up for the rushed nature of them getting together in previous episodes. His scene with Bruce Wayne actually managed to be worthwhile too since it removes the Wayne murder from the central focus which is something it hasn’t been for a while anyway.

Penguin’s scenes with Maroni were the most interesting. I liked the subtext in David Zayas’ delivery of his lines as Maroni tried to coax the truth out of a cornered Penguin. It’s an interesting development having the Penguin only having Falcone to hide behind now.

Edward Nygma was also used quite well in this episode. His frame job on the medical examiner was a nice touch and really shows how sinister he can be. It’s the only time I’ve every really liked this character.

It was good to see a softer side to Bullock as he opened up about his fears as well as tried to charm a woman he seems to like. It adds much needed depth to the character and gives Donal Logue more to do. With a better villain story this episode could have been more exciting but there was plenty of good stuff here.

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