Gotham Season 5, Episode 8 Review

In my opinion, this felt like more of a filler episode, especially with all the content we received in the episode prior. We were able to get a good amount of character development though throughout this episode, mainly for Harvey Bullock, who has always been a solid fan favorite. I’m sure that this episode was one of the extra ones they had gotten to bump the season up from being a 10 episode season to 12 episodes. They were even able to check off something from the Gotham To-Do List when it came to introducing the much anticipated, yet to do classic villain, Scarface.
With Harvey, we are really given a sense of character development in this episode. The fans get a glimpse of his backstory in a way we haven’t had before on this show. It gives Harvey a sense of standing as an individual. Rather than being just another cop or the sidekick of the more popular Jim Gordon. 
The episode begins with two former cops, Boggs and Lewis, who are in the Sirens Club for a drink. That is until their old partner, and a familiar face to a fan of this show that has been watching from the beginning (or has gone back to watch the first season), Dix. The last time we saw Dix was in Season 1, Episode 6: Spirit of the Goat, and in it he was wheelchair-bound, but when we see Dix now he is standing upright and there is definitely a sinister air about the appearance. One that proves to be so when “Dix” drives a knife into both Boggs and Lewis and kills them right in the middle of the packed Sirens Club. There was nothing else that particularly stuck out in the scene. Unless you count in Barbara’s snappy attitude towards the cops for not giving good enough intel so that they could be allowed entrance into the club. I understand that her club is one that is mainly for youth, and especially for women, but what is so abhorrent to her about some old timers coming in for a drink? I feel like she was making a much bigger deal out of it than was probably necessary. 
The interaction between Barbara, Harvey, and Jim as a trio when she had called them in to investigate the crime scene was solid as always. Especially, with Barbara’s sassiness mixed with bitterness that she brings to the scene. I think it’s obvious that when Boggs and Lewis are revealed under the sheet that Harvey is shaken by it because of his history with both cops. Harvey is put into an even further state of disbelief when Barbara mentions that Dix, his former partner, was the one that had come in to kill them. Dix, however, had been paralyzed and wheelchair-bound for the past fifteen years and the Dix that had come in was standing and walking upright. However, Barbara doesn’t care about that since she only called them in because the two were former GCPD cops.   
Then the scene jumps to Jim and Harvey’s conversation. Jim tells him that they should go and talk to Dix and that really showcases all of Harvey’s emotions about this situation. Dix is his friend that he’s been taking care of for years, that he has a clear respect and care for much like that of a son trying to take care of their elderly father which I’ve always admired because it brings out another side to Harvey that isn’t always able to come through, which is his ability to care and even nurture. He had been taking care of and making sure that Dix had everything he needed for some time now, even before Dix’s first appearance in the first season. I think it is very evident that he does regret not being there more for him because of all of the craziness of Gotham getting in the way. 
We really get a look into Harvey’s backstory before Jim came around when Harvey was just a rookie cop and he wanted a higher up position within the GCPD. He had worked with Dix, Boggs, and Lewis on a case of a woman who had murdered her husband. The woman, named Victoria Cartwright, was formerly an average, boring citizen working as a bank teller who had “snapped” and shot her husband. It was later revealed that Harvey was only working the case with the other cops to get his new position he desired within the GCPD as Detective and he didn’t have all of the information on the woman’s history with her husband at the time, which it was revealed that the husband had beaten both his wife as well as his daughter, Jane. 
This brings us to Jane Doe’s position in this episode, who was formerly Jane Cartwright until she was forced by Harvey to give a statement which had gotten her mother convicted and she was named as a ward to the state. She was also sent to multiple institutes before landing in Arkham Asylum. The experience in Arkham was clearly traumatizing for her and it didn’t help that she was clearly put in there around the latter half of the second season when Hugo Strange was introduced and she ended up being one of the inmates that were taken down to Indian Hill. She was clearly an experiment similar to that of Basil Karlo, aka Gotham’s version of Clayface. It’s obvious that she was meant to be a stronger version of Hugo Strange’s transformation experiment and one that had clearly gotten away maybe in the second season’s finale so that she could try and find the ones responsible for her mother’s conviction. Jane is determined to get justice for her mother, however; she was damaged.   
Jane was tortured by, not just Hugo Strange and his experiments, but also the ordeal she had been put through and forced to give a statement to when she was a small child. Jane is and was probably the most heartbreaking character we have seen in the entire series. I think she represents greatly what happens when a character goes through such a tragedy and instead of growing from it and becoming a force for good, she falls deeper into her depression and has a thirst for revenge against the ones responsible. Ultimately, she either wants to live by knowing that she has executed all of those that had had the deeply personal effect on her which she has been able to do in the form of Boggs, Lewis, and Dix, and end it all with Harvey who she says had destroyed her soul; or she wants to die and hope to be free of all of the pain that her life has been since that fateful night when she was only seven years old.
Next, we have the beginning of the Jim and Barbara exchanges in this episode. Jim wants to try and reason with Barbara, who is cold to Jim, and firm with him that she doesn’t want him to be a part of their child’s life. However, I think this could just be a mask because deep down she probably still holds a small form of love for Jim. If she didn’t love Jim in some way, then she wouldn’t have gone to him for any sort of carnal affection like she did at the end of the fifth episode of the season. I feel like a part of her coldness towards Jim when it comes to the baby is that she wants to remain independent, she wants to show Jim and everyone else that she is fit to be a mother. There wasn’t a whole lot more when it comes to Jim and Barbara for this episode. It was pretty much what we’ve seen so far and I’m fine with that because this episode shouldn’t be about them. This episode is not for Jim or for Barbara, to me, it’s for Harvey to give him the last few moments before Gotham’s final season comes to an end. However, there is a small break in the comic relief, when Jim and Harvey are trying to decide on which was the “real Barbara”. This happens when Jane has transformed herself into Barbara. I’m not going to lie, I did laugh at this part. It was a small moment that the comic relief was slightly used to soften an otherwise heavy scene, in which, the pregnant Barbara was being held at gunpoint.
The episode then shifts over to Bruce and Alfred. They are seen in the hospital room, where we have seen Selina recovering early on in the season. This moment is also after Jeremiah’s body had ended up in there in the Ace Chemicals episode. In this room, Bruce and Alfred are speaking with a woman who looks absolutely beaten up. We learn that the woman and her husband belong to a shelter with many others. Some that have gone missing within the tunnels of Gotham and they had both gone to look for them, but he was missing while she was able to get away. Since Selina isn’t in the hospital anymore and she’s up and about, I think it’s a little random for Bruce and Alfred to just be in the hospital room, and I think that some background as to how the woman was able to get in contact with them should have been included or at least hinted at. If I’m missing something, feel free to let me know, but as far as I know, I don’t think there was any clarification on how this meeting came about. 
Eventually, though, Bruce and Alfred do take the mission on of finding the woman’s missing husband in the tunnels. I don’t think their entire arc in the episode was anything new for either of them. There was the same thing where they find the victim, the villain, who in this episode was a Killer Croc-type character because they’re obviously not officially calling him Killer Croc. Although, it was nice to see Bruce getting some Batarang training in with those spikes that Croc had shed. It was a good way to take him down without killing him off like another certain villain in this episode, whose death I really did not agree with. Also, Bruce’s speech to Alfred at the end about how losing Wayne Manor wasn’t his fault and how they view family as being strong for one another really pulled at the heartstrings for me because of the depth that was put into saying those words. The acting in that scene was my favorite from both David Mazouz’s Bruce, which he has only perfected throughout the years that seemed to have just blown right by for this series, and the extremely talented Sean Pertwee’s Alfred (who is my favorite Alfred right along with Michael Caine’s in the Dark Knight Trilogy). I think this moment even beats out the Bruce and Alfred moment in the previous episode mainly for the reason of the emotion that it was able to bring out of me, as the viewer. 
Now we come to the most entertaining part of this entire episode, definitely the part that I enjoyed the most, Oswald and Ed “working together” again. We first see that Edward is hard at work
For the first scene, Ed has strung up some bells to the ceiling of his workspace. This is a form of an alarm system because of his paranoia that someone has been watching them. It turns out, as it almost always does, that Ed was right about someone watching them with the entrance of the revived form of the newly named “Arthur” Penn. Arthur then reveals the most anticipated villain they had yet to do on the show with Mr. Scarface. To me, the look of the dummy was spot on, as if they had just plucked him right out of Batman: The Animated Series, and the way Andrew Sellon portrayed Scarface, as well as Mr. Penn, was absolutely magnificent. I love the fact that in real life, Andrew Sellon was once a real ventriloquist. I think that experience of his really shined through and I enjoyed the entire performance. Not only in the way he played Scarface, but also the way he brought the real emotion out of Penn as well. It made me feel bad for the character as a whole, even though I already felt bad for poor Penn. Oswald treated him terribly, but by way of using Scarface he was able to vent all of that out to Oswald, in my view he was able to gain another personality in order to defend himself. I think Penn finding Scarface and using his abilities as a way to bring out that side of his personality that was very deep down and hidden is the stronger version of Penn. Even though it is coming through an object controlled by Penn rather than he himself.
While we’re still on the subject, I think that towards the end was probably the most heartbreaking and emotional part of this arc in the episode. This starts with the confrontation between Scarface and Oswald, with Scarface berating Oswald for his poor treatment of Penn. This is after Oswald attempted to make the point to Penn, that he never asked him to kill anyone like Scarface was making Penn kill Oswald. The argument makes a dramatic and sad turn when Scarface is shouting at Oswald that all he does is take from everyone until Penn finally is able, in his own way, to find his voice from Scarface. Penn reveals his anger and his disappointment at his poor treatment from Oswald. It made my heart just ache for the Penn character.

Yet, I was also happy because he was finally able to find his own way of just telling Oswald everything he’d been wanting to say for a very long time, I’m sure. However, the fact that they ended up killing off Penn as well as shooting off Scarface’s head was an extreme disappointment. Here was this villain, this character Scarface that the show had been wanting to do for years. They give him one appearance in an episode and then kill him off at the same time. It makes no sense to me why Gotham can’t just let some characters go off and be villains. We can make up our own story for what they’re doing and have it be an open ending.

In the end, I do understand that with Gotham death doesn’t always mean finality for a character. However, with them just killing off a villain that they have wanted for years makes no sense to me. Let them go off, do their thing, and we can imagine what they’re doing even if they aren’t showcased in another episode later on.

With that rant over, let’s go to Oswald and Ed. Oswald has definitely grown at least a little bit in this episode. He understands that he hasn’t been a good friend or even a good employer to anyone, including Ed. He’s been killing off all of the ones that help him steal supplies, like Ed stated in the episode. I think the evidence of him not being a good friend is just too obvious to even mention as there are countless examples. Although, I think it is noticeable that he deeply regrets his actions since they’ve all led up to him being alone, abandoned, and friendless. In that moment, when hearing everything from Ed and Penn, I think he grows a little. He has at least learned that he needs to start treating the people around him a little better if it means that he won’t have to be alone. Something that I belive to be his greatest fear. 

The fact that he even got a dog, and then, he named Edward speaks volumes. He misses the companionship that he had with Ed, misses the love that he felt for Ed in previous seasons, and he wants all of those things back. Hopefully. he really will learn from that scene, and that everything that was said to him and learn how to treat those who he admires or considers to be a friend with more respect and love. Even if he does learn from this, and he does start to show a change in the way he deals with the people around him that he trusts, and or wants to trust. We still face the uncertainty of how long this will last because, he could fall back into old patterns. This would be a wonderful character development for Oswald if he does learn from this, then apply it to his actions, and his decisions in the future.

Continuing on with Ed, who was mostly a background character for this episode in my opinion. He wasn’t really doing much else except for either working on the submarine, arguing with Oswald or faking a deal with Scarface. It wasn’t really his moment in this episode, but he did get a good chunk of what he also had wanted to say to Oswald as well when the point was brought up by Penn about Oswald’s mistreatment of others, and boy did he say something to shake Oswald up. He was absolutely right when he said that Oswald deserved the treatment, and what would have ended up getting him killed if Penn had let the gun go off, because he was also having enough of Oswald’s poor treatment for a very long while as well. Something that had led to their hatred, mistrust, and dare I say trepidation of working together again as a unit at least for Ed. 

Now, Ed didn’t get much, if any, character development in this episode, even though there’s still room (hopefully) for something to happen for him before the series ends. I did like when he was able to voice his own grievances towards Oswald, which he was never shy to do, unlike Penn. I think that just as much as Penn’s argument got to Oswald, Ed’s may have even been the stronger of the two, which I would think is because Oswald has a very different relationship with Ed than his relationship with Penn and I think that makes Ed’s argument in the scene the more pivotal for Oswald’s character.

Overall, this was a very good episode. Yes, it was filler, but it was filler with a purpose, if that makes sense. That purpose being character development, mostly for Harvey, but a little development for Oswald as well like I stated already, and also a chance to introduce a few familiar faces of the Rogues’ Gallery in Scarface, Killer Croc (I know they didn’t specifically say that it was Croc, but come on, you have to admit that it was the closest they’ve come, even when you count in that other Croc-like character that got mowed down in the beginning of the third season), and of course the heartbreaking Jane Doe.

As for Harvey, we have been shown his deepest regrets, the inner darkness he kept inside, and how much of a troubled road he had been on. Between the time of becoming a Detective to before Jim Gordon arrived and became apart of his life. It was Jim, who seemingly began to turn Harvey’s life slowly. I think that Jim has really made him see what having a real partner is like. A partner that wants to go by the rules, but, is still willing to break them as well. Both men have done some questionable things, however; Harvey knows that his decisions were always the worst. I think he got thrust into the position of Detective, one that he had wanted when he was a rookie cop, in the most troublesome way. Since he had gotten the job, he had been doing questionable or just outright terrible things, breaking every rule, moral and not.

I think with this experience coming back to haunt him has put him into a state of depression over the decisions he’s made. By the end of the episode he wants to give Jim every detail of what happened. He wanted to air out every wrong doing he did within this case. It shows just how horrible he feels about himself and about the person that he allowed himself to become. It helps him face his future and maybe growing from his past to become a better form of himself. I think he wanted Jim to just be the one he confessed to, the one he let everything out to because he is probably his closest, or only friend.

I think this episode had just about everything one could want. It had a good balance between humor, action, heartfelt moments, emotional scenes, and truly heartbreaking stories. I would put it in at one of my favorite episode. Quite possibly my 5th favorite or maybe just a little lower on my Top 10 list, but this one is definitely one for my Top 10.

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Julian Cannon

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