In Review: Gotham, Episode 20 “Under the Knife”

Villains, villains everywhere and no one seems able to stop them. Must watch viewing.

Gotham, Episode 20 “Under the Knife” Broadcast on April 20, 2015  

Written by John Stephens

Directed by T.J. Scott

“Previously on Gotham,” the serial killer the Ogre is introduced and a victim is discovered, Thompkins thinks he’s a monster, Gordon feels the blood of his next victim will be on his hands, Bullock tells Gordon that the Ogre kills any police officer’s loved ones if an attempt is made to track him down, and Selina and Bruce’s quest to find the man who stabbed Alfred ends with deadly results. In the present, at night, Selina justifies to an angry Bruce why she had to kill that man. Bruce isn’t happy with her choice, but realizes their next step is to get the keys to Wayne Enterprise executive Bunderslaw’s safe to see if it contains any secrets about his parents’ deaths. Selina agrees, but makes sure that Bruce understands that no one learns what happened that night. Cue opening title sequence.

Edward Nygma is stabbing several watermelons in the forensics lab to see if he can discover which hand the Ogre used to kill his victims. His experiment is interrupted by Gordon looking for Dr. Thompkins. He tells the detective she went home. At her home, she takes a bath, unaware that he’s in the house, rifling through her things. Covering herself with a towel, she investigates the sound of broken glass. She sees a mess and discovers that Jim has been trying to reach her on her cell. Grabbing a butcher knife, she checks around her house for the intruder. She’s surprised from behind by James, whom she instinctively smashes in the head with her phone. In her bathroom, nursing his bruise, he tells her about the Ogre. He asks her to leave Gotham for her protection, but she refuses. In a bar, the Ogre sits at a table with a woman. He says, “Hi,” and the camera pans to reveal he’s talking to Barbara. Cue first commercial break.

This story was a slow burn that evolved into several high points by the last act. Gordon continues to pursue the Ogre, increasing his anger in being unable to catch this killer who may be close to killing someone he loves. It was nice to see the relationship between him and Thompkins continuing to grow. Robin Lord Taylor had an explosive final scene that crystalized his deadly personality. Cory Michael Smith had the most dramatic moment of the episode in a character changing scene. And how could anyone not like seeing Bruce and Selina at the ball? John Stephens perfectly captured the attraction and the opposition between the two young characters. I loved Alfred’s reaction to being told that Bruce was going to the ball with Selina. This was also a slick technical show, with excellent editing between two settings as the origin of the Ogre is revealed. The music was really impressive, especially when Edward left the Records Annex and in his final scene. There’s also a slick dissolve from the Ogre’s past to his present by director T.J. Scott.

The good: Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova, David Mazouz, Cory Michael Smith, Milo Ventimiglia, the script, the direction, and the superb final step of a man into a killer. And no Fish Mooney this week–Hooray!

Fun lines: “Yum,” “Surprise,” “Thank you. No thank you,” “Absolutely nothing,” “Freaky, huh?”, “And I’m not gonna stop!”, “Am I really suppose to wear these?”, “Sit, Oswald,” “The shoes hurt,” “I guess that’s where we’re different then,” “What are you gonna do?”, “When did you realize you had given birth to a monster?”, “Oh dear,” and “On second thought, I’ll tell him myself.”

The bad: What’s with the cheesy slow motion shot of James running down the stairs at the station, only to speed up after five steps? This stuck out as really odd in an otherwise perfect show.

The final line: Villains, villains everywhere and no one seems able to stop them. Must watch viewing. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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