March 3, 2024

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Gotham “The Anvil Or The Hammer”

Season One, Episode Twenty-One

Oh no the Ogre has Barbara whatever shall we do…

Yes, the Ogre has decided to make Barbara his next sweetheart or victim depending on whether or not she plays along and becomes what he wants his soulmate to be…and I find myself wondering if there is a single character on Gotham whose fate I am somehow less invested in than Barbara.  She is an inconsistently written character with vague problems that the narrative keeps trying to make important.  But aside from her (now severed) connection to Jim Gordon, why do I care about her?

I mean, if we made a list of all the reoccurring characters on this show and who I would be concerned about if the Ogre got them, Barbara might very well be dead last behind the likes of characters played by actors I like and have seen before (Bullock, Lee), characters who are longtime favorites whose portrayal on the show I greatly enjoy (Alfred, Bruce, Selina), infrequent characters whose general behavior intrigues me (Edward Nygma, Ivy Pepper),  colorful villains (Penguin, Fish Mooney),  lead characters however bland (Gordon), or even frequently-appearing minor characters whose purpose is mostly to provoke reactions from bigger characters (Miss Kringle), and still somehow Barbara is dead last.

We can add to that list of people more intriguing than Barbara Lucius Fox who pops up here for the first time to escort Bruce out of a crooked boardmember’s office.  Fox here has an intense look who knows a few things and may be willing to share them since apparently generations of Waynes have gone along with the company’s crooked dealings in order to maximize profits, even if Bruce’s father (according to Lucius) was not as into it as the other member of the board assumed.

By the by, sharing that info with Alfred later, Alfred sure seems to gloss over and forget how Selina and to a lesser extent Bruce were both responsible for his old army buddy’s death rather quickly.

But the Ogre, he has Barbara!  Oh no!  Etc.

Can Jim track this guy down?

Uh, yeah.

OK, it does take having to give up another favor to Penguin later to get an invite to a very…exclusive club the Ogre belongs to, and that means sending Harvey in with the intention of finding a John to squeeze (Jim just radiates “cop” and would never fit in), and while the place has the tame feel of any network television series’s idea of a S&M club, Bullock’s outrage comes quickly when he sees something off camera that, judging from the sound effects, involved a man, a woman, and possibly a live pig and a chainsaw.

From there, it’s mostly the crazy sort of police work that Gotham specializes in as Jim and Bullock try to find the Ogre before he kills Barbara.  But then it turns out that the Ogre will let Barbara live if she picks out his victims for him.  OK, that’s twisted.  It does imply that none of the Ogre’s previous victims either got this option or were scared enough to let someone else die instead of them.  Surely Barbara would opt for Jim’s current girlfriend Lee, right?

Wait, Barbara named her wealthy parents?

We only saw them once, so that was a big…surprising.

And no, Jim does not get there in time to save them, but he and Harvey do work together enough to put a bullet in the Ogre’s brain and save Barbara with only a slight nick to her throat.   But she chose her parents to die instead of her.  That’s going to require a hell of a lot of therapy in the future.

Well, that about wraps things up here.

You know, until you consider the Penguin set up a hitman to die in order to start a gang war between Falcone and Maroni.  That might get a wee bit ugly.