A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 21: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

Let’s wrap up this Ogre storyline here.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara at Jason's apartment

The episode begins in Jason’s apartment.  Apparently he and Barbara were busy for awhile, as they only got one hour of sleep last night.  Barbara is ready to leave for the day, but Jason insists that she stay.  She’s not won over by Jason’s charms and thinks that he’s just pretending.  Jason, though, says that he isn’t.  He believes that Barbara is the woman he searched for all this time.  She should at least stay for breakfast.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara tries to escape

No go.  Barbara attempts to leave the apartment, but Jason puts a sack over her head, insisting that they must now do this the hard way.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Leslie checks on Jim's condition

At GCPD, Leslie checks in on Jim, who is still frantically trying to find Barbara.  It’s affecting his mood, as he hasn’t slept or eaten in awhile.  He blames himself for this because, while he was busy being concerned about Leslie, he never thought of Barbara.  Whatever happens to her is on him.

Lucky for Jim, Bullock brings in a perp who claims to know the Ogre.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma brings in a suitcase of body parts

Elsewhere in the GCPD, Nygma hauls in suitcases of Dougherty’s body parts into the precinct and into his work space.  After all, if there’s no body, there’s no crime.  Why would any part of him think this was a good idea?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon question Jake, played by Zachary Infante, about The Ogre

Bullock and Gordon speak with the perp, Jake, played by Zachary Infante, about the Ogre.  He doesn’t recognize any of the sketches and doesn’t have anything else to provide when Bullock and Gordon mention that the recent kidnapped woman is a person of interest to the GCPD.  However, he wants to know what this woman would be worth in a monetary amount.  Gordon tells Bullock that he’s about to violate policy on interrogation techniques, which prompts Bullock to walk out of the room.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon talk about The Foxglove

Moments later, Gordon emerges and reveals that Jake was a barman at a brothel called The Foxglove.  Apparently, this Ogre fellow was a regular, but Jake didn’t provide a location.  Rather, he couldn’t, because, as Bullock points out, the Foxglove is a high class place.  You have to know someone to gain entrance.  Thus, Gordon plans to go to Penguin again, against Bullock’s words about getting too deep.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason and Barbara in the play room

Back at Jason’s apartment, he tells Barbara that his first victim was the hardest, but it wasn’t her fault.  She just wasn’t ready or the right one.  But this strengthened Jason’s resolve to not stop until he found his soul mate, who he may have found in Barbara.  It could be her, but Jason needs her help.  The two can start again.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Alfred and Bruce discuss Reggie's death

Alfred delivers Bruce a letter, but he doesn’t open it just yet.  Instead, Bruce asks Alfred if he needs company to help him identify Reggie, but Alfred decides to go it alone.  He finds the idea of his old friend committing suicide just plain odd.  Bruce considers whether it may have been due to drinking- wasn’t he using drugs?- but Alfred remembers that Reggie was a legend.  He could be drunk and walk a tightrope.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  Alfred just wants to give his friend a proper send-off.  Any send-off would be better than the one that Bruce and Selina gave.

When Alfred leaves, Bruce opens the letter.  Inside is Bunderslaw’s key and a note from Selina, warning him to be careful.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Butch at Lidia's bar

Butch inspects Lidia’s bar before planting a few hidden guns.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim comes to Penguin for information about the Foxglove

He then reports to Penguin that all Connor and his men have to do is find them.  The big day has almost arrived.  However, in enters Jim, who wants to discuss The Foxglove and a potential invitation.  Penguin, though, finds this relationship of theirs to be a bit one-sided.  All Gordon can promise Penguin is a second favor, but then he gets aggressive and pulls his gun, telling the two that they have no idea who he is.  Fine.  Penguin promises to help, but Gordon owes him a big favor.  I wonder why Penguin doesn’t just go ahead and take advantage of this situation.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce pulls the fire alarm at Wayne Enterprises

Bruce gets a tour of Wayne Enterprises and receives a lowdown of the Physical Operations Department, which handles logistics for the corporation and manages properties.  When Bruce asks about how to find the restroom, he makes his way toward it before then pulling the fire alarm.  Future detective and master of stealth, right here.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim gets Harvey an invitation to The Foxglove

Back at GCPD, Gordon reports to Bullock that The Foxglove is in the old Klondike Building on Mayflower.  He could only secure one ticket, though, and figures that Bullock could go in as a john, find something to bust the folks on, and then the two could squeeze them until someone talks.  And lucky for Bullock, he has a few spare suits to wear thanks to Alvarez busting a guy smuggling some Italian suits.  Who does that?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason shows Barbara the photos of his past victims

Back with Ogre, Jason tells Barbara that she needs some time to think and accept this as real.  Oh, and the room is soundproof, so no one can hear her scream.  When he removes the gag, she spits in his face instead.  He had to know that was coming.  His hands are shaking, which didn’t happen with his past victims.  Deep down, he knew that the others weren’t the one for him.

He gives Barbara a glass of water and promises to chain her to the ceiling and gut her if she tries to escape.  He then shows her the photos of his past victims, saying that sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your true love.  He promises to set her free.  After all, she’s the one.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce checks Bunderslaw's safe

Bruce gets to Bunderslaw’s office and checks the safe with the key, but finds nothing inside.  When the alarm finally stops, Bruce hears the door opening.  Bunderslaw enters and tells Bruce that he’s been expecting him ever since Selina borrowed his key.  He even canceled his trip.  Now first, it’s important to note that Bunderslaw offers Bruce a cookie.  Bunderslaw always took one when he had a chance as a boy.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bunderslaw talks to Bruce about his parents

Anyway, Bunderslaw says that he hired Reggie in order to see what Bruce knew, but he never intended any harm to come his way.  He told the board that Bruce was a special case and needed to hear the talk early: when members of the Wayne family reach a certain age, the business is explained to them.  Yes, Wayne Enterprises commits crimes, but they’re a multinational corporation operating in hundreds of jurisdictions.  The company would subvert all of them if it meant profits.

But you know what?  Thomas Wayne was the same as Bruce: he came in with some files and demanded justice at first, but then he changed his mind.  He learned the reality of the business, as his father before him did.  Bruce doesn’t believe this, but Bunderslaw wants Bruce to be able to live the life that his parents wanted.  Just reconsider this.  Before Bruce leaves, he takes a cookie.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Lucius Fox, played by Chris Chalk, speaks with Bruce about Thomas Wayne

At the elevator, Bruce receives a few words from Lucius Fox, played by Chris Chalk.  There are cameras everywhere, so he needs to be careful about what he says.  He knows because he installed them himself.  Thomas Wayne, he says, was a good man and a true Stoic that kept his best self hidden.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Miss Kringle asks Nygma for some files

Nygma still hasn’t realized that keeping the body parts in the GCPD is a bad idea, so he’s still dealing with them when Kringle pops by for the Hendricks case files.  Nygma says that the body parts are from an accidental death due to an industrial saw at a sheet metal factory.  He had to think up all of that.  Kringle isn’t sure how Nygma can even be in such a job with so much death all around him, but Nygma believes that you must have a sense of humor.  Kringle then asks him about whether he’s seen Officer Dougherty since the two were supposed to have dinner last night.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Penguin and Connor talk about Maroni's planned execution

Connor and Penguin have one last talk about the plan to kill Maroni, though Connor isn’t a plan of Penguin having him say one final thing to a man before he dies.  On a side-note, I sort of agree.  That’s the kind of thing that a Bond villain would do.  But anyway, Connor wonders how Penguin would know that Maroni will even choose to come by Lidia’s on this exact day.  It’s a bit of a gamble, but Penguin’s been keeping up with the news.  Someone just got out of prison.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Tommy Bones, played by James Andrew O'Connor, reunites with Maroni

This someone is hitman Tommy Bones, played by James Andrew O’Connor, who stops by Lidia’s and reunites with Maroni’s after nine long years.

Bullock arrives at The Foxglove.  The place is…

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock at The Foxglove

…well, to be blunt, weird as shit.  He looks pretty uneasy as he makes his way toward the stage.  Then Lucy, played by April Yvette Thompson, welcomes the audience and then brings on Ingrid and Gareth.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock watches a performance on stage

We don’t see what takes place on stage, but it’s enough to creep Bullock out the point where he drops his cover and takes out his badge.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason asks Barbara who she wants him to kill

Back at Mr. Ogre’s, Barbara awakens, but she’s still upset for being there.  Jason promises to kill someone for her in order to make her see the truth- she just needs to give him a name.  She’s spent her life trying to kill it, but she can’t.  It’s too strong.  Right now, Jason wants to set her free since she doesn’t know what it’s like to live without fear.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Gordon shows Jason's sketch to The Foxglove owner

Jim shows up at The Foxglove and, when the owner refuses to cooperate, threatens to call The Gazette and have them send over a reporter.  They’ll perp walk all of the clients in front of the camera.  She tells him to talk to Sally.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon speak with Sally, played by Tonya Glanz

So Jim and Harvey do just that.  Sally, played by Tonya Glanz, recognizes the sketch, but she has personal experience, as evidenced by the scar on her face.  Jason was sweet at first.  When she got into his car, he pulled a hood over her head, tied her wrists, and took her to his apartment.  She didn’t know why he let her go, though.  This incident took place nine years ago- one year before the very first murder.  As for why Sally didn’t go to the police?  Well, turns out that she did, but she is a hooker and we’re talking about a rich guy with no name.

The two ask for any specific details on the building.  All Sally remembers is that the elevator opened into the apartment and she could see out into the city.  The building itself was in midtown and she remembers seeing a neon sign on the building across the street.  However, Sally only remembers the last four letters: O-Y-A-L.  Bullock figures it out: the Gotham Royal Hotel on 10th and Gainsly.  Sally asks Gordon not to arrest Jason, but to kill him.  He agrees.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Connor shows up to give Madre Di Dios to Maroni

Back at Lidia’s, Connor enters with a gift from Falcone: Madre Di Dios: Maroni’s favorite.  Oh, so that’s how we’re bringing back up that connection.  He then delivers the message: it wasn’t easy for Falcone to decide to kill Maroni, but business is business.  Unfortunately, the guns don’t work.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Maroni gives Connor a final message for Falcone

Maroni now has his own message to deliver: let Falcone know that he messed up, but Falcone is now coming for him.  Except Connor won’t be delivering that message.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Butch tells Penguin that Maroni's execution didn't work out

Back at the club, Butch informs Penguin about the failed plan.  Turns out that Penguin isn’t upset and isn’t planning to leave town.  Hell, he already knew that Connor would fail because he took the firing pins out of the guns- a spin on something he learned from Maroni.  Even if Maroni died, Penguin would still be under Falcone’s thumb, and he’s grown intolerable of being in that position.  Penguin wants Maroni alive and out for blood.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma sticks his fingers in Tom's skull

Nygma is still tooling around with Dougherty’s body, specifically his skull.  It must be a slow day at the GCPD if this is all he’s done.  He’s contemplating the best way that Dougherty can say goodbye…maybe a letter?  Well, whatever the option, Nygma takes a hammer to Dougherty’s skull.  You show that skull.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Gordon and Bullock investigate James' apartment and find his play room, phone rings

Gordon and Bullock show up at Jason’s apartment to find no one there.  However, even in the fun room, Gordon knows that Barbara was there because he can still smell her perfume.  Bullock tells Jim to prepare for the possibility that they may not find her, but Jim says that’s not an option.  The phone rings- it’s Jason.  He lets Gordon that Barbara doesn’t need his protection and never did.

When Jason hangs up, the detectives try to decipher the noise, which they figure was a train horn and Jason going over a bridge.  The nearest bridge with train tracks is Whitecross, which is upstate.  And you know who lives upstate?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason points a gun at Barbara's parents

Barbara’s parents, who are held hostage by Jason.  He lets them know that their daughter has finally awaken.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim finds Barbara and Barbara's dead parents

Gordon and Bullock later arrive and find the parents still on the couch, dead.  Barbara comes out and asks Jim why he’s there.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason and Jim fight

Jason, meanwhile, manages to get the drop on Bullock by pushing him down a flight of stairs.  He then confronts Gordon and a fight breaks out, but Jason soon holds a knife to Barbara’s throat.  He tells Jim that if he cared, he never would have come after Barbara because Jason loved her more.  However, Bullock quickly recovers and distracts Jason long enough for Jim to put a bullet in his head.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce tells Alfred the truth about Reggie

At Wayne Manor, Alfred doesn’t want to repeat the details of seeing Reggie.  Bruce admits that he’s been lying about everything: finding Selina, why he took Selina to the ball, and her pushing him to his death.  He doesn’t believe that his father would choose to stay quiet, even if good men have secrets.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Leslie sees Jim's bandaged hand

Back at GCPD, Leslie admits that she likes Gordon’s sense of mission.  Jim, though he was afraid that Leslie would die, would still protect her first again over Barbara.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma checks in on Miss Kringle

Nygma enters the records annex just as Kringle reads a letter from Dougherty.  She’s not pleased with it or how she always ends up dating the creeps, but Nygma tells her that sometimes you have to read between the lines.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Connor's head in the box

As Falcone receives Connor’s head in a package…

The Anvil or the Hammer- Maroni goes to war

Maroni and his men to go war.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Captain Essen reports to the team that mob war has broken out

Captain Essen reports to the precinct that there have been three separate attacks on Falcone’s businesses in different parts of town.  Everyone’s leave has been canceled and all units have been called into active duty.  They’re in a shooting war.

“The Anvil and the Hammer” was okay.  Nothing great, but it managed to undo the interesting relationship we had with Jason and Barbara.

The Anvil or the Hammer- A stunned Barbara sees Jason's photos

The fact that Jason was intrigued by her self-doubt and his desire to bring out the real was an interesting idea, but a lot of potential story threads go unexplored or are undone by this final episode in the arc.  And we could have a complex look at Barbara’s psychology, but we don’t get that.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara

I mean, it’s safe to assume that Barbara as a character is disliked by a lot of Gotham’s viewers.  I understand the reasons, but I would put blame on the writing, as the writers do not seem to know what to do with her.  For example, she chose to have her parents killed.  We’ve only met them once prior to this and still know next to nothing about her backstory, so what in the blinking blue blazes would cause her to mark her parents for death?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara after seeing Jason killed

Again, exploring this decision would help us get in Barbara’s head and learn more about what makes her tick, but Jim and Harvey don’t even bother to ask why Jason targeted Barbara’s parents.  This isn’t like Barbara targeted some random person we’ve never met and have no investment, but I’d argue that we have little to no investment in her parents since we’ve only met them once prior, and that was their introduction.  Will this come back up in discussion?  I doubt it since the encounter is glossed over once Jim gets back to Leslie.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason holds a knife at Barbara's throat

It’s also strange that Jason would make repeated threats to kill Barbara when he decided against killing her in the first place because he was intrigued by her.  I understand that he’s trying to keep her in place, but if you’re going to threaten to kill her after you decide against killing her, that sort of makes the first decision pointless because Jason could have killed her at any time.  Now it just feels like forced…well, I won’t call it drama because it wasn’t dramatic, but a way to fill up time.

This is unfortunate because while I get the viewers’ complaints about Barbara, I think something meaningful could be done with her character if she’s written well.  As is, I’m guessing her character will fade into obscurity again, only to pop up when the writers need her on-screen for some reason.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma bashes Tom's skull

All of the stuff with Nygma borders on ridiculous…no, it is ridiculous what he’s doing here.  I can’t believe he’d do something as foolish as bring Dougherty’s body parts into the GCPD.  Dump them into the sea.  No one would care enough to look.  Instead, he just fools around with the body parts for no other reason, I think, than to give us some immediate follow-up to his actions.  But we don’t need that so soon.  Let him think about his actions and see how this affects his psychology.

Some have said that this is Nygma’s first step toward becoming The Riddler, but I disagree.  First off, it’s one murder and we’ve still yet to learn much about Nygma aside from the fact that he’s odd.  Why is he odd, though?  Why is he so into riddles?  And why come to the conclusion that this specific action will lead him to being The Riddler?  The Riddler is an intellectual.  His power and ability comes from his mind, not his ability to stab you.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Penguin smirks in triumph

Sticking with villains, Penguin should really just capitalize on Gordon’s favors.  He’s letting himself get pushed around by Maroni, Falcone, and Gordon, yet he says that he’s sick of it.  Well, do something about it, then.  Setting up Falcone and Maroni to war against each other has been done before, so we’re not exploring new territory here, either.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock breaks character and reveals he's a detective

If we’re done with The Ogre storyline, I’m at least happy we won’t have any more Fifty Shades of Gotham nonsense.  Good to see that something even managed to freak out Bullock.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce puts photo of his father on the wall

As with Bruce, I’m glad he opened up to Alfred, as it keeps their friendship open and transparent.  That and there’s no real reason to keep it from Alfred since Reggie was his friend.  I doubt Bruce will stay the course and just fall in line.  This is Bruce Wayne we’re talking about.  He’ll keep digging until he finds something.  One of the previews had him and Alfred discovering some hidden entrance in Wayne Manor.  Hopefully it’s not a Batcave.

So we’re back to the mob war.  Hopefully we get something like “Penguin’s Umbrella” caliber of writing, but we’ll see.

Also, I didn’t see a single anvil in this entire episode.

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