In Review: Gotham, Episode 21, “The Anvil or the Hammer”

Except for that unnecessary scene, a good episode.

Gotham, Episode 21, “The Anvil or the Hammer” Broadcast on April 27, 2015

Written by Jordan Harper

Directed by Paul Edwards

“Previously on Gotham”, Edward Nygma stabs Tom repeatedly to death and leaves the scene of the crime horrified and happy, Salina kills the man who stabbed Alfred, Bruce and Selina are able to copy a key from a member of Wayne Enterprises, Gordon calls out the Ogre, who takes Barbara to his place and shows her his “special” room. In the present, Barbara comes downstairs after a night of fun with the Ogre. She’s ready to leave, but he has their day’s agenda planned. He reveals he was going to kill her the night they met, but he saw something inside her, realizing she was “the woman I have been searching for…I’m going to let you go now, and you’re going to sit down and have breakfast with me.” She pushes him aside and makes a run for the door, which is locked. Moving behind her like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, he puts a black bag over head, saying, “So we do it the hard way.” Cue opening title sequence.

At police headquarters, Thompkins asks Gordon when he last slept. He blames himself for putting her and Barbara in danger for pushing the Ogre. She leaves upset when he states that whatever happens to Barbara is on him. Bullock arrives with Jake, who denies he knows where to find the Ogre, though word on the street says otherwise. Meanwhile, Nygma awkwardly rolls two large cases down the stairs of the department to the forensics room. There, he opens one case to reveal the pieces of Tom’s corpse. In the interrogation room, Jake is grilled on what he knows so he can save an innocent woman. Realizing he has leverage over them, he asks what dollar amount the woman in question is worth. Harvey excuses himself, while Gordon rolls up his sleeves, and Jake begins to squirm. Minutes later, Gordon emerges with information that the Ogre frequents a moving high-end brothel, the Foxglove. At the Ogre’s, Barbara is hanging in the torture room, gagged. The Ogre still believes she’s his soul mate, but he needs her help. “So let’s begin again. Shall we?” She tries to scream through her gag. Cue first commercial break.

This was the most mature episode of this series yet. Mature meaning I really didn’t need to see the scenes in the brothel, and I’m old enough to think to myself, ‘This is the family hour, for heaven’s sake!’ In fact, the brothel sequence didn’t add anything to the story, except an opportunity to show some kink at the eight o’clock hour. That said, the rest of the episode was good. I enjoyed Bruce at Wayne Enterprises and the scream worthy first appearance of a major Batman character. I love the words that this person gave to young Bruce. The gang storyline was also well done, with it picking up heat. Learning who was responsible for the whole conflict and why really moved this character up a notch for being a master planner. Edward was also good this episode, as he’s going further off the deep end. Gordon also had a lot to do, being strong, tired, and frightened. Ben McKenzie nailed it. I also liked Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith, who continue to make the villains entertaining.

The good: Ben McKenzie, Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith, the escalation of the gang fighting, and a rift appearing to widen between two characters.

Fun lines: “Okey doke. No body, no crime. No body, no crime,” “You think you know who I am? What I’m capable of? You have no idea,” “You owe me a big favor,” “Hello, Bruce. I’ve been expecting you,” “He was a true stoic,” “One must have a sense of humor,” and “Even good men have secrets.”

The bad: The story really didn’t need the kink and I’ve never seen a fire alarm placed so closely to a restroom.

The final line: Except for that unnecessary scene, a good episode. Yeah, I must be becoming a prude. Overall grade: B+

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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