Gotham 1.19: “Beasts of Prey” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Gotham are present in this review


After a very long Spring hiatus, Gotham has finally returned, with one big case set to carry the rest of the season. Gordon has been put on the trail of a dangerous serial killer known as The Ogre, played in a guest role by Milo Ventimiglia, a rich, educated and charming pretty boy who seduces women, then kidnaps and murders them the second they show interest in anything else beyond him.

The Ogre is an exceptionally twisted new baddie that fits Gotham City very well. He’s the kind of villain that this show has been begging for for quite a while to be honest. Smart, creepy and unpredictable, The Ogre looks to be a foe well worthy of Gordon, particularly since he proudly targets cops who investigate him. He didn’t even need a prior history dealing with Batman in DC Comics either, as The Ogre is an all-new villain made up for this series. That’s another big plus, since he doesn’t need to lean on a currently non-existent Batman lore as a crutch in this case, as several of Gotham’s other villains have in its first season.

Gotham - Footage 1

Naturally, Bullock gets roped into Gordon learning of The Ogre as well, particularly when Gordon fears for the well-being of Leslie, who may be targeted by the killer as a reprisal against Gordon’s investigation. Bullock strongly advises Gordon against pursuing The Ogre, but we already know that Bullock is bound to lose that argument. Instead, Bullock is left to simply help Gordon avoid attention from the press, or any prying ears, since he quickly resigns himself to Gordon’s boy scout attitude, as he’s done more and more as the series has gone on.

The origin of the Ogre storyline concluding with the twist that Commissioner Loeb directed Gordon to him to try and make Gordon a target was pretty clever as well. Despite Gordon apparently getting one over on Loeb in the previous episode, it seems like the commissioner is still looking for ways to remove Gordon from the equation, and that’s good to see.

Seeing the well-placed flashback sequences involving how The Ogre seduces and then kills his latest victim was effectively chilling, and it yet again pushes Gotham into a more grounded direction. Sadly, this ended up being betrayed a bit by the increasingly ridiculous Fish Mooney storyline, which seems to have spiraled into full-blown madness at this point, with Fish deciding to escape from the isolated island compound, where she’s conveniently being kept by Dollmaker to help harvest more body parts. There’s a fun reminder of the great character that Fish used to be at the start of this series when she escapes using the all-too-convenient helicopter that she neglected to mention the know-how to fly, but it’s clear that her character is quickly running out of gas. Perhaps it’s best that Jada Pinkett-Smith is exiting the series after Season One, as sad as I am to say that.

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As for Penguin, he’s still bumbling around, but is starting to recapture some of his former shrewdness, thankfully. After setting his sights on a new Italian bar, he manages to negotiate with the owner, being promised ownership if he can bring the woman’s daughter home, who is trying to elope with a guitar player. Penguin responds by cutting off the guy’s fingers, and simply returns to discuss terms right after. Finally. It’s great to see the character remember the kind of villain he’s destined to be, now returning to his appealing polite, yet savage disposition, rather than feeling like the mob’s inept bitch again.

The other character that had a big storyline this episode was Bruce, who is now back at home with Alfred. I guess the show has acknowledged its long hiatus, since Alfred has since been released from the hospital, with the same month or so of time having passed for Gotham City while viewers waited. Alfred is still eager to settle the score with Reginald, with Bruce continuing to cover for Alfred when Gordon tries to mine for information regarding Alfred’s stabbing, and eventually, Bruce just decides to take matters into his own hands.

On a small side note, I absolutely loved the moment where Penguin walks by the young Bruce, who he has yet to interact with, and stops, feeling like something is odd for a moment, before continuing on his way. It’s a funny little nod to Batman fans, with Penguin already detecting a great disturbance in the force as he and the future Batman don’t notice each other’s proximity, though will one day become avid nemeses.

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Bruce eventually meets up with Selina, who helps him track down Reginald. Bruce tries to take away Reginald’s drugs, with Selina holding them hostage over a window, and learns that Wayne Enterprises were the ones behind Alfred’s attack, even if Reginald never meant to stab Alfred, and was simply after information. Reginald warns that the company will never stop hunting Bruce, and even threatens to put them on Bruce’s trail himself, before reaching for the drugs that Selina left on a window ledge. Selina then decides to do what’s necessary in order to protect Bruce, and pushes Reginald out the high window to his death! Damn!

This is a big moment for Selina, one that has a pretty heavy impact on Bruce as well. We know that Selina will one day become Catwoman, one of the most morally conflicting women in Bruce’s life when he dons the mantle of Batman, but it’s interesting to think about how Bruce will respond to someone around his own age committing murder, especially since it was for his sake. Bruce is probably still struggling with the murder of his parents after all, so he may find his relationship with Selina strained from his end now.

Gotham - Footage 4

“Beasts of Prey” was a good return, even if it still hasn’t brought Gotham back to the brilliance it sported towards the end of its front half in 2014. The introduction of The Ogre was well-executed however, and slowly but surely, Penguin is finding his badass appeal again. Even the material with Bruce is ramping up nicely. Fish is sadly the one character currently dragging the show down, but with plenty of good pieces laid out for the season’s final three episodes, here’s hoping that Gotham at least concludes its somewhat uneven first season on the high note it deserves.

Gotham returned at long last with a decent episode, introducing an effective new villain for Gordon, and nicely elevating the material with Bruce and Penguin, even if Fish's storyline is rapidly running out of appeal.
The Ogre is a promising new villain
Twist with Loeb was smart
Penguin's found his stride again
Fish's storyline is too weird and disconnected at this point