Gotham “The Anvil or the Hammer” Review (Season 1 Episode 21)

Gotham The Anvil or the Hammer Episode 21 3

On the latest episode of “Gotham,” the ongoing Ogre storyline shambled to a (mostly) predictable climax, in the ominously-titled “The Anvil or the Hammer.” That’s not to say it was bad necessarily, just that I’m not entirely sure that we needed to spend three episodes contending with it this late in the season- or period, really. Especially what with other, much more pressing matters to contend with, like the Penguin’s machinations with the mob, Bruce’s investigation into his father’s company, and the noticeably absent Fish, who, when we last left her, had a nasty shot to the gut that did not bode well for her future.

That said, the Ogre plotline and character had its moments, notably a quietly menacing performance from typical good guy Milo Ventimiglia and a genuinely chilling scene before the big showdown, in which it was quietly and eerily revealed that both of Barbara’s parents had met the wrong end of Jason’s wrath. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty unsure who Barbara was going to say when she whispered into Jason’s ear after he demanded she tell him who to kill.

I thought she might just go with Dr. Thompkins- certainly before she said Gordon’s name- or even Montoya (wherefore art thou, Montoya? We hardly knew ye…), but both her parents? That’s pretty cold, even if she didn’t want to die. I’m guessing she is just getting started on dealing with her demons, and it’s definitely going to get worse before it gets better. That said, it was sort of unusual that we got a scene after the showdown with Gordon and Dr. Thompkins, but not with Gordon and Barbara. You’d think the former could have waited until the following episode, given the circumstances.

Oh well, I’m just going to have to chalk this one up to the writers not being on the ball like they should have been, and that certainly applies to most of this episode. While the Ogre stuff had its moments, at least, the rest was strictly by-the-numbers, from the Penguin’s expected betrayal of all concerned (Maroni, Falcone, Connor), to Edward Nygma’s post-murder pseudo-meltdown (though I did like that he hid his name in the “Dear John”-type letter he sent to Miss Kringle), to the beginning of an all-out mob war at the end.

The episode wasn’t without a few decent scenes. The scene with Bullock at the Foxglove was certainly something- you know things are out-of-control when even Bullock has reached his limit mere minutes from entering a place! God, only knows what was going on in that stage show, but it sounded pretty out there. In its own way, that scene was creepier than anything in the entire Ogre storyline.

Also fairly effective were the scenes with Bruce investigating Bunderslaw and getting caught, and subsequently confessing everything that had happened- including the nasty business with Reggie- to Alfred, finally. We also got the introduction of Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk, “The Newsroom”), who, in the comics, at least, goes on to become a trusted ally of Bruce and CEO of Wayne Enterprises. He seems to already be posited as the former, as he managed to intervene when Bruce was caught and steer him out of Bunderslaw’s office and in the right direction, albeit on the sly for now.

But still, the episode on the whole was sadly scattershot, and suffered from it. The good news is we’ve got another episode to go, so there’s still a good chance to end on a high note, thankfully. Whether we will or not remains to be seen, but overall, this season has been fairly solid, so I have high hopes the finale will likewise be pretty decent. We shall see, I suppose. Until then, I’m afraid this episode was a swing and a miss. Better luck next time, guys.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Gotham”? Were you a bit let down as well, or did you like it more than I did? What do you think they could have done to make it better? What did you make of the scene at the club? How about Barbara’s decision to direct the Ogre to her parents? Will she ever recover from that monumental decision? Or from the experience in general? What did you think of Penguin starting a war? Or Bruce’s actions? Or Ed’s for that matter? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week for the big finale!