'Gotham' recap, 'The Anvil or the Hammer'

The Ogre threatens to kill Barbara on "Gotham."
The Ogre threatens to kill Barbara on "Gotham." (Fox)

'Gotham" was pre-empted for some viewers by live coverage of rioting in Baltimore. The full episode can be seen at fox.com

The Ogre took his victim, but not in the one you'd think.


"The Anvil or the Hammer" had two major plot twists: one great, one bizarre and unsettling. Let's start with the latter.

Jim's still on the hunt for Barbara. Thanks to a lead, he discovers one of the Ogre's haunts, the Foxglove. Surprise, surprise, it's a kinky joint that's right up the psychopath's alley.


Jim calls in a favor from Penguin (sigh, again?), and Harvey scores an invite to the exclusive club. It's a raunchy scene, and quite frankly I'm surprised they got away with showing it on TV.

This club has everything: bondage, latex, gladiators, cosplay, a girl giving a milk bottle to a guy in a baby bunny costume and a hostess with a fancy mask to cover her nasty scar from the Ogre.

Wait, what? Yes, the baby bunny costume was weird (try traumatizing), but let's go back to that part about the Ogre.

The hostess was one of the Ogre's first torture victims before he moved up to full-blown murder. With the help of her cursory memories, Harvey and Jim are able to find the apartment out of the hundreds that are on that street.


But by the time they get there, it's too late. Not that Barbara's dead, oh no. She and the Ogre pay her parents a visit upstate. She's not the victim — they are.

To be the Ogre's soul mate, you had to be willing to let someone else die in your place. No one would give into his sick fantasy, except Barbara.

But why was she the only who would let another person die? It seems like the writers sloppily drafted this sinister side of Barbara as a last-minute plot twist to keep us interested in her.

Guess again. Because there doesn't seem to be a solid reason for Barb to turn like that. It's as clear as the dazed look on her face: She doesn't want to be a viscous killer. Something about the Ogre just made her snap.

Maybe it was her fear of dying, maybe the Ogre's knife triggered a PSTD flashback of when Zsasz held her captive or maybe she just really hates her parents.

It's obvious she had a bad relationship with her parents, but what did they do to her? For once, "Gotham" makes us read between the lines — a move likely inspired by Ed Nygma.

Were they just cold and cruel? (I shouldn't say "just" — having emotionally distant parents seems positively miserable.) But still. I wish they had better developed the tension between her and her parents.

But I wonder how her character will develop now. The last time she was a victim of a serial killer (this girl has all the luck, huh?), she became emotionally distant and got into drugs again.

Maybe now she'll embrace this dark side of her she didn't realize was there. "I'm going to set you free," the Ogre tells her when he has her shackled.

Will she become one of Jim and Batman's villains? She already had two people murdered.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't she be arrested for that? Instead it gets swept under the rug. So much for Jim's "sense of mission" if he lets his ex get away with a double homicide.

Jim's response to this tragic bloodbath is troublesome.

When he returns to the precinct, he soaks in the glory because "tomorrow they'll all go back to hating me," he tells Leigh. There's no mention of Barbara to the other cops or Leigh.

When Leigh asks him about the cut on his hand he got from the tussle with the Ogre, he lies and tells her he held a knife the wrong way. She chuckles it off like he got a knick from shaving. Uh, weird.

If he can't be honest with her or the precinct about what happened, I'm worried his integrity will compromised and unsalvageable. Especially since he owes two big favors to Penguin.

You know the latter will come back to bite him when Penguin takes over Gotham.

Penguin's plot to kill Maroni didn't go through, at least not like you'd expect. Turns out, yes, investing in that run-down bar was a brilliant move. It's tradition for Maroni and gang to celebrate his friend getting out of prison.

Even more brilliant was making the assassin seem like he was sent from Falcone, sparking an all-out mob war. That way, Falcone and Maroni kill each other and Penguin's no longer under anyone's thumb.

This is the type of plot twist the show needs. It's well crafted and perfectly executed, thanks to the mesmerizing performance of Robin Lord Taylor.

I don't see either mobster getting whacked off before the season ends, but with their soldiers taking hits, this will give time for Penguin to amass his troops and become a lead mobster.


Worst thing to hear after a one-night stand: "The night we met, I was going to kill you," the Ogre says to Barb. And this is why I don't use Tinder.

Most backhanded compliment: "I told the board you were a special case," Bunderslaw says to Bruce after he catches him rifling through his safe. Of course he's special. He's Batman!

Saddest moment: It broke my heart seeing Bruce cut his dad out of a picture of the two of them, then add it to his corkboard to find out who was responsible for killing his parents. But you know angst-y teens. They have to learn how to be themselves apart from their parents. I just hope Bruce learns soon enough that his dad is a good guy, as Alfred and Lucius Fox have reassured him.

Worst line: "She's as safe as milk." – the Ogre to Jim. What does that even mean? Is he saying he'll spoil her rotten like milk? 'Cause nothing's more flattering than being compared to chunks of dairy.

Worst undercover cop: Harvey. He blows his cover the minute a couple on stage incorporates a chainsaw and a pig into their act. Was anyone else surprised Harvey couldn't stomach that?

Grossest moment: Ed schlepping suitcases filled with Dougherty's chopped-up body into work. So much for not bringing your emotional baggage into the work place.

Where's Fish?: I'm getting tired of asking at this point. Is she bleeding out on a raft in the middle of the ocean, just waiting to become shark chum? Is that how they'll play her off? I really wish she were coming back next season. It seems pointless to invest your time rooting for someone who's biding their time in ditching you.

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