“Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something.”
From what we’ve been given of his character, the above quote could very well have been from the lips of ‘Gotham’ villain Dr. Gerald Crane. Continuing from last week’s episode, the good doctor is still focused on harvesting enough adrenal glands to see his plan to completion with Bullock and Gordon the only thing standing in his way.
When Crane takes another victim for his experiments, he inadvertently provides them with what they had been missing all along: a solid lead. While the doctor perfects his gland-fueled research, the detectives speak with the principal of the school where the doctor taught. She shows them his thesis on fear. According to Crane, fear was the driving force between all crime, war, and badness of humanity. Using the fear product created by adrenal glands, Crane believed he would be able to inoculate himself against fear. And, judging by the results as he faces a woman traversing a staircase on fire, the serum seems to be working.Gordon and Dr. Thompkins try to figure out the parameters of their office relationship
In between the Crane case, Gordon is trying to juggle his budding relationship with Dr. Lee Thompkins, who has become GCPD’s newest medical examiner. It’s a dicey position for the detective trying to maintain his professionalism, keep an eye on his enemies without (and within) the force, and further his relationship with Lee. To top it off, his BFF in one Oswald Cobblepot arrives with a personal delivery; an invite to the grand opening of Oswald’s—Fish Mooney’s former club, now given to him by Don Falcone as the Don works toward a truce with Maroni to keep Cobblepot safe. He reminds Cobbs that they aren’t friends but the limping man we know as the Penguin knows that, sooner or later, Gordon will need his help. “Walking with a friend in the dark,” he says to the detective “is better than walking alone in the light.”
Speaking of darkness, Fish is in her own dark world as, after the ship getting her from Gotham was hijacked, she finds herself in a prison-like encampment. Men and women are together here and it’s survival of the fittest with a man named Mace—in possession of the prison’s only blade—in charge. Using the wiles that gained her the hard reputation as Carmine Falcone’s most trusted mid-boss, she gets up close and personal with Mace before opening his throat, an act that propels her as leader of this rabble of prisoners of God knows where. It’s a first step towards Fish’s escape and eventual return to the city she wishes to rule.
Getting more into Crane’s motivation, the detectives look up the fate of Crane’s wife only to discover the tale he’d given to the principal (of her dying in a car accident) was false. Mrs. Crane perished in a fire, one Gerald failed to save her from. They track down the original house, arriving just as Crane is set to give his teen son Jonathan the final dose of fear inoculant. Unable to take his time, he forces Jonathan to take a larger than normal injection of the inoculant and as they younger Crane feels the effects of fear, the fearless Gerald Crane gets into a shootout with Gordon and Bullock. It doesn’t end well for the good doctor as the two detectives put him down and rush a seizing Jonathan to the hospital.
Though the case is closed, there’s still a bit of clean-up to do. Before visiting the younger Crane, Gordon lays down the professional rules he and Lee must follow while on duty, Maroni make sure Cobblepot understands the treaty he has with Falcone is null and void once the latter dies, and young Bruce Wayne—partaking in the annual hike he’d taken with his father solo—after a bit of peril and badly sprained ankle, watches the sun rise with Alfred by his side.The sun rises…a new beginning
Firmly in the familiar mantle of mama bear, Fish Mooney begins the speech to her people when a crying woman is returned to the fold…without her eyes. In Gotham, Jim visits the semi-lucid Jonathan Crane to find the young man in bad shape. The overdose of fear inoculant has put him in a heightened state of fear. “Imagine the thing you fear most in the world,” the doctor in charge shares with Gordon, “Imagine that it’s the only thing you see…every waking hour.”
We stand witness as Jonathan Crane screams and screams as his eyes see horrible, misshapen scarecrows stalking him, their eyes glowing with red malice. His fear is absolute, ever present.
And in this, the Scarecrow is born.
A New Beginning
- Despite an overabundance of DC characters introduced so early in Gotham’s run, I must say the Scarecrow’s origin story is probably the best yet. The tragic circumstances behind Jonathan Crane’s affliction are compelling and one in which the audience can empathize. He is someone who did not ask to become a man shrouded in fear, rather a product of his own father’s wishes. Based on his current condition, we should see a bit less of him than other rogues like Cobblepot, Nygma, and Selina Kyle. The Scarecrow may not be the most popular or dynamic of villains but, as it stands, the seed of his Gotham introduction is at the top of the list.
- Speaking of top, Fish Mooney finds herself in an Oliver Queen-like prison, surrounded by all manner of men and women. Very little indication was given on her current whereabouts nor her captors. But there is no doubt it is an ominous place as the woman returned without her eyes suggests. Will the bedraggled prisoners—some of which look to be some tough hombres—be Mooney’s new army as she prepares to retake Gotham or will they be a means to an end to help her escape?
- The Sun Also Rises: for some reason, this book came to mind as Bruce Wayne, after spending hours alone in the perils of the woods, makes a determined climb up the hill that gifted him with a sprained ankle, to see Alfred waiting for him and, ultimately watch the sun rise. There have been several instances of the writers being a bit too overt in portraying Bruce Wayne as the man who would save Gotham but moments like him sleeping on Alfred’s shoulder, or the anger when he’d come across a stone with his father’s initials carved into it, are welcome reminders that, no matter what he becomes, Bruce Wayne is still a confused kid in pain, unable to deal with the tragedy life has dealt him. It is important Gotham shows more of this and less of the junior detective aspects if they wish to create a more well-rounded incarnation of young Master Bruce.