Gotham (2013) season 2, episode 20
"Under the Knife"
WRITER: JOHN STEPHENS
DIRECTOR: TJ SCOTT
AIR DATE: April 20 2015
‘Under the Knife’ picks up some of the plotlines from the previous episode of Gotham, with the serial killer called the Ogre still at large and becoming an increasing threat. With only two episodes left in the season, and the threat unresolved by episode’s end, one is left to wonder if the Ogre is going to be dominating the remainder of the season.
Detectives Gordon and Bullock (Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue) hunt for the killer (Milo Ventimiglia), worrying at first that Leslie (Morena Baccarin) is at risk. In fact, the killer’s attentions are elsewhere: Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), who’s been underused as of late. The killer taunts Gordon by phone; Gordon responds with a public promise to hunt the killer down. While the Ogre pays attention to Barbara at an event linked to other plotlines in the story, the detectives follow the killer’s trail, learning his background and name, making some grisly discoveries along the way. Character actor Daniel Davis turns up as his father, a nice touch- we’ve seen him play nasty characters in the past, as well as sympathetic characters, but that said, the psychosis of the Ogre really is one of his own making. With things still playing out as the episode ends- in a place that would give Christian Grey pause to remark, “You know, I think you’re taking things too far”- the threat of the Ogre remains in place. Mind you, given that one of the least sympathetic characters in the series is in a bit of peril (or is she?), will the audience care? There is a curious moment here- Barbara at a low moment admitting that no one really cares about her fits in with the character.
Barbara and the Ogre
A lot more is playing out in this episode. In the wake of what happened in the previous episode, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina (Camren Bicondova) are trying to come to terms with it. It troubles Bruce more than Selina, and the two turn up with their own agenda at a Wayne Enterprises charity ball. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) gets some face time as well, but not to his liking. An uncomfortable encounter with Maroni (David Zayas) leads to some revelations made to his mother (Carol Kane).
The last looming plotline moves a character in a very different direction. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), the socially awkward forensics expert prone to riddles and one day to become the Riddler, has largely been a supporting character thus far, his interactions largely limited to the detectives. We’ve seen his appalling lack of social skills, his interest in an archivist (Chelsea Spack), and the way he’s treated by some members of the department. His troubled worry about Kristen is well founded- the police officer she’s involved with is an abusive pig- but the steps he takes against him lead to a crisis point. Is this the tipping point for the Riddler? Time will tell.