'Gotham' recap, 'The Fearsome Dr. Crane'

What are you scared of?

That's what "Gotham's" newest villain Dr. Crane wants to know. So, be ready to list every single one of your fears in excruciating detail, and go over each one in your head again and again as you watch the latest episode.

Just me? I was afraid of that.


What an agonizingly good episode. Even if you're not afraid of heights, drowning or anything else (uh huh, liar), "Gotham's" writers make his victim's terrors so palpable you feel their adrenaline race through your heart and creep into your brain.

And that's precisely what Dr. Crane is looking for: a spike of adrenaline. He pushes his victims to their highest threshold of fear, kills them, then harvests their adrenaline glands for his "research" study.


He hoists his first victim to the ledge of a skyscraper then wraps a noose around his neck. After the victim becomes justifiably freaked out, he pushes him from his teetering chair, lets the noose do its job, then reels him back in.

The second victim, whom we only see for a split second, is tied to a chair and surrounded by squealing pigs and a man in a pig mask wielding a knife. Yeah, it's a bit overkill, but he manages to survive.

His final victim (for now) is bound and gagged as she lays next to the edge of a pool that she almost drowned in as a child, before he tosses her into the water. Harvey comes to her rescue, and I'm sure there's a dinner in it for him.

Notice how these are all tangible fears that a villain like Dr. Crane can exploit, and not your typical "I'm scared of rejection" or "I hate social settings" type fears. You can't reject or socialize someone to death, otherwise Ed Nygma wouldn't still be here.


The only abstract fear mentioned was "Todd," aka Dr. Crane's admission that he was afraid of failure and, worse, that he was passing it onto his son.

This confession seems like a wolf's shoddy attempt to blend in with the rest of the sheep at group therapy, where he found all of his victims.

But after seeing Dr. Crane's tense interaction with his son, pressuring him to feed the car's meter while he torments and murders a helpless victim for the "greater good for humanity," it's clear that is his fear is real and it's coming to fruition.

Will we see his anxiety used against him in next week's episode?

All this talk about phobias makes me wonder when we'll discover the backstory of Bruce's biggest fear: bats. Aside from his tireless pursuit for justice, overcoming his fear is what propels him to fight crime. It's what makes Bruce Wayne Batman.

Will they build up to the pivotal moment into the storyline for a midseason or regular season finale or just subtly throw it randomly into the mix?

One thing's for sure, Bruce's biggest fear isn't confrontation or authority. For being so young, Bruce has an awful lot of guts to tell a Jim to stop working on "an oath he can't fulfill." Snap!

Let that set in. Bruce bosses a cop around. How many adults, let alone tweeners, do you know that can do that without getting cuffed?

Exactly, he's the one who calls the shots. That's why he gets the Batmobile, while the cops roll in Crown Vics.


BEST HARVEY ONE-LINER: "My love life is an open book, a short and nasty one."

SECOND BEST HARVEY ONE-LINER: "You worried about me, captain? I don't start drinking 'til noon." – Harvey to Captain Essen, who's worried about Harvey being too close to the edge of a skyscraper.

BEST LINE: "I put on lipstick and you're asking forensic advice. You're very confusing." – Leslie to Jim on their date.

MOST SURPRISING FEAR: Harvey being scared of dying on the streets instead of in a beautiful woman's arms. Odd. I thought Harvey would have been afraid of relationships, not being alone. I guess that's why he usually hires women to — ahem — "hold" him.

GROSSEST MOMENT: It's a tie! First, there's Ed digging through the corpse, then doing a facepalm when he gets caught, smacking blood all over his face. Ew, ew, ew! Then, all of those severed limbs falling out of the medical examiner's locker — who could forget that? Ugh, why was this wacko rehired?

FOOL ON THE HILL: What's on Indian Hill? Penguin's not the most trustworthy guy, but he does tend to sputter out the truth when his life is in danger. I'm starting to wonder if that real estate was a good investment for Sal after all.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PROMOTION: Dr. Leslie Tompkins working at GCPD. First, I hate how that kiss in front of the whole office makes it seem like she got the job simply because Jim has the hots for her and not on merit. Second, this gives us less insight into the Arkham, especially since Jim left so soon. How will we see the inner workings of Arkham now?

WEIRDEST COUPLE: Kris Kringle and Ed. Sure, they're not dating … yet. But did you see how happy she was when he returned? I bet she's going to be the Riddler's Harley Quinn until the Joker arrives on the scene.

NUMBER OF TIMES JIM SMILED: Two. The first time this episode — or possibly ever — was the smirk he had when catching Selina at his apartment. The second was when he was the timid grin we saw when he was flirting with Leslie. See? Being moody wasn't so hard, Jim. You should try it more often. No, really.

BEST LOVE INTEREST: Scottie Mullen. Unlike Jim, Harvey sure does know how to pick ladies with personality (see: Fish). Miss Mullen has sass, and she's not afraid to use it to put Harvey in his place: "Don't be an ass! You were about to make fun [of phobias]." Love it. Please tell me we'll see more of her.

BEST SCENE: The "tell a truth" cozy fireside chat between Penguin and Sal. It's to "build trust," Sal insists. I love how it started so innocently with Sal admitting that there was "no guy with a thing," then Penguin nonchalantly admits he doesn't care for oatmeal or coffee Sal served. "Fair enough," Sal replies.

The trust quickly evaporates as the chat slowly gets heated. Sal accuses Penguin of working with Falcone behind his back, but Penguin lies and evades the accusations. It gets tense. For his next "truth," Penguin stands up and says, "I stole your gun!" and points it directly into Sal's face.

The "truth," Sal tells him, is that it's loaded with blanks. Penguin calls Sal's bluff and fires shots into Sal's face, only to realize Sal is telling the truth. Sal then punches him so hard he hits the ground.

That was one of the best scenes of the show, if not one of the best scenes from television this year. Anything with the Penguin is gold, but it was so well written and executed it has me counting down the days till the next episode.

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