Okie-Doke | Gotham “The Anvil or the Hammer” Review
Gotham is winding down its freshman season, and the latest episode, “The Anvil or the Hammer,” was another solid episode for all characters involved. In continuation from last week’s episode, Jim and Harvey are hot on the trail of The Ogre. Nygma is “cleaning-up” the mess he made in the last episode. Bruce furthers his white knight personality, and the Penguin plays Falcone and Maroni like chess pieces. What more could you want?
I’ve generally been down on the show especially early-on when they seemingly threw every character in Gotham at you all at one time, but they’ve done a great job of having a variety of characters and keeping strong, consistent plots throughout.
The two strongest points of this episode had to be the plots surrounding The Penguin and Nygma. The Penguin carries out the plan to kill Maroni, which was set in motion during last week’s episode. But, simply killing Maroni with a hired gun seemed too easy for someone as conniving as The Penguin, and that was quite clear in “The Anvil or The Hammer.” Tommy Bones, career criminal of Gotham, was meeting with Maroni to celebrate his release, and at that very club is where The Penguin has his Irish hired gun ready to take out Maroni. He gives Maroni a vintage beverage, courteous of Falcone of course, and shortly goes for the weapons. But, all the weapons jam. Or did they? Later on, we see Butch urging The Penguin to leave the city and that all hell is about to break loose. Then, The Penguin drops the bomb; he took all the firing pins out of the guns. The Penguin played both factions. Now, Maroni is attacking Falcone because he thinks Falcone led the assassination attempt. It’s funny how easily The Penguin can manipulate everyone. He is going to watch his enemy take out another enemy and stand atop the mountain after the dust settles. Not only that, but he also gets another no-strings attached favor from Jim.
Nygma has a nice arc here. Since he killed Officer Dougherty, the last thing he has to do is to get rid of the evidence. He happily said “no body, no crime.” The comical nature of him dragging old luggage bags of body parts through the police station was quite funny. Even more comical was him trying to convince Ms. Kringle that the bones she saw were just from an accident. His nervous laughter was gut-wrenching, and somehow she believed him. Later on he happily smashes the skull into dust, and thus all is well. But, he is smart enough to know that he needs to set Ms. Kringle off of Officer Dougherty’s disappearance or else she will continue looking into it. Nygma crafts a letter saying Officer Dougherty just left and said “with some guys, you just need to read between the lines.” Of course, the soon-to-be Riddler really meant that each letter of that note read top to bottom spelled, Nygma. A perfect zing for Nygma’s character that really shows his need to outsmart anyone in the room.
The Ogre’s three-episode arc comes to an end in this week’s episode, although it isn’t as satisfying as it could have been. Barbara had a good time with The Ogre, but when she tries to leave, she falls to the fate of the other victims. This time, she is given an ultimatum. After explaining that he was going to kill her, The Ogre said she can live if she picks someone he can kill. She refuses at first, but to save her own life she does name names. And, for some reason, of all people, she names her parents. Yes, they did kick her out and cut her off, but she really named her parents? So, they go to her parents’ house, and she pleads one last time for their lives to be spared. The Ogre kills them anyway. But, all is not lost as Gordon and Bullock are not far behind.
Gordon and Bullock get their key lead from getting into the exclusive nightclub, “Foxglove.” But getting into the club did come at a grave cost. Gordon, who refused to ever use The Penguin again had to relent since he is the only one that could get them a ticket. They were able to get Bullock into Foxglove since he looks much less the cop type than Gordon. Bullock looked dapper in his “stolen from evidence” Italian suit. They end up questioning a girl named Sally that happened to be a survivor of The Ogre. The only reason she survived was because she was his first victim to-be, but he hadn’t worked himself up to killing these women yet. After getting the lead, they manage to find out that they are at Barbara’s parents’ house. They are too late to save the couple, but do manage to save a very deluded Barbara. The uneventful ending comes when Jim shoots The Ogre in the head as he is holding a knife to Barbara’s throat. A bit thrilling maybe, but I feel it could have been more exciting.
Rounding out the episode is Bruce Wayne’s important story arc. Last week, I complained that no one noticed Selina stealing Bunderslaw’s key, but this week we learn that he knew all along. Bruce sneaks into the office and finds an empty safe as well as Bunderslaw waiting for him. Bunderslaw tells Bruce that his father was no different than anyone else doing these illegal things and that he needs to fall in line when he gets old enough. We get a treat when we see Lucius Fox for the first time, and he tells quite a different story. Instead of a criminal like the rest, we learn that Bruce’s father was a “true stoic” and “not who the corporation thought he was.” It’s nice to see Lucius Fox and about time that Bruce seems to be getting an actual ally. After all of this, Bruce breaks it to Alfred that Selina is the one that pushed Reggie out the window. Visibly upset, Alfred does explain though that he really wasn’t the Reggie that he once knew.