The penultimate episode of any season is always a nail-biter, an edge-of-your-seat experience meant to build tension toward the final installment. Gotham is no different. Almost all characters’ plot threads reach an emotional zenith during “The Anvil or The Hammer,” the culmination of 19 episodes filled with mob betrayal, cheesy one-liners, and whole lot of confusion.
But strangely enough, the main dramatic element of Gotham’s latest episode concerns a villain we’ve only met a few episodes previous. Yes, we’re still talking about the Ogre, and yes, it still doesn’t make sense. Throughout the first season of Gotham, we’ve seen the early years of some of Batman’s most fearsome villains, like Bane, Scarecrow, and even the Joker. So why does the Ogre, a cookie-cutter psychopath, get so much screen time? Maybe at the very least, we’ll see a new Barbara—tempered from tragedy—emerge from all of this. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The episode opens with Barbara having stayed the night with the Ogre, and when Barbara tries to slink away with just a casual one-night encounter, the Ogre doesn’t let her off so easily. Like all of his victims before her, she’s chained up and subjected to torture of both the mind and the body. Luckily (I guess?), her captor decides that she is the one and that he sees something inside of her that he’s never seen before. What that exactly means, who knows. She’s seems about as scared and resistant as all the other women who have fallen victim to his craven sexual predation.
Meanwhile, after realizing the Ogre has kidnapped Barbara from last week’s episode, Gordon is now in full-on, coffee-fueled detective mode trying to hunt down any leads imaginable to find her. He seems ragged, on-edge, and full of worry. His current lady friend, Leslie Thompkins, points out that he’s acting like a crazy person, but he snaps back saying whatever happens to Barbara is because of him. Instead of this episode settling once and for all where Jim stands between his two “loves,” it only further complicates the issue. Gordon does go pretty much crazy to find Barbara. When he gets a random lead that the killer once frequented an underground sex club, called the Foxglove, he threatens Penguin with physical violence to get an invitation to the club. He even promises to owe a huge favor, which seems in moral conflict with Gordon’s stance on the division between police and crime in Gotham City.
To sum it up: no more Mr. Nice Guy. It’s completely obvious to see that this is all fueled by some unresolved feelings for Barbara, but near the end of the episode Gordon admits that he never even thought of her as a possible target. Ouch. So really the question becomes whether in that moment he is lying to the audience, or simply lying to himself. Looks like a lot of this drama may be reserved for season 2.
NEXT: Bad luck, Barbara