The latest episode of Gotham called “The Scarecrow” sees Bullock and Gordon continuing their search for Gerald Crane, who is removing the adrenal glands of his victims and creating a hormone injection which he then uses on himself and later his son. Crane believes that fear is an evolutionary flaw that can be overcome through science and a series of booster shots of his hormone. Once Gordon and Bullock figure this out, they attempt to find out what Crane’s personal fear is, hoping that the information will help them track down the killer.
Gerald, we learn, is a former high school biology teacher, and lost his wife in a fire when his phobia paralyzed him and he was unable to act. He believes he has perfected his formula, and begins injections to his son Jonathan. Gordon and Bullock track him down before he can finish the treatment, and so Crane injects a full syringe of the anti-fear serum into Jonathan, which causes him to convulse in terror. Gerald, who no longer fears anything, casually shoots on the Gordon and Bullock, and is shot dead as a result. Jonathan sees a scarecrow as he trips out on the drug, and that haunts him in an never ending nightmare as he is admitted into a hospital. It was nice that Gerald Crane was trying to cure fear, and his soon will eventually do the exact opposite of his father, and purposefully induce terror into others.
Elsewhere, in an unspecified location, we catch up with Fish — who’s been taken prisoner after the events of last week’s episode. She’s in some sort of dungeon/holding cell, and Fish quickly asserts herself. She tells the men that the first man to touch her will die quickly, while the second man to touch her will die very slowly. She learns who the leader is, and offers him her “skills” in exchange for protection from the rest of the unsavory cell mates. After she wins his trust, she quickly kills him and announces to the rest of the population that she is in charge. There’s a strange moment when her captors return with a new prisoner whose eyes have recently been removed, and we get no explanation as to why.
Meanwhile, the Penguin is starting to realize that being a player in the Gotham mob isn’t as easy as he thought. After escaping Maroni’s car compactor, he is terrified that the gangster will continue to seek revenge. Oswald begs Don Falcone for protection, and is given Fish’s nightclub. Penguin is confused at first, until Falcone says the club needs to be profitable, or he won’t be able to afford to protect Cobblepot. He tasks Penguin to remake the club, but emphasizes how important it is for the club to be packed and profitable. Falcone then meets with Maroni and offers him something in exchange for Oswald’s life — A Gotham judge who’s sentenced many of his men to jail. Maroni accepts the offer, and then meets with Penguin at the grand opening of the new club called “Oswald’s” which now has a neon umbrella as its logo, and informs Oswald that he won’t lay a finger on him — as long as Don Falcone is alive.
Bruce Wayne has decided to go on a nearby hike through the woods, one that he took with his late father. Alfred is against it, but Bruce insists. He comes across two piles of rocks, one with his initials and one with his dad’s — and begins throwing and kicking them and collapses in grief. There’s real heartbreak in Bruce’s dismantling of his father’s rock pile; it’s the first time he’s allowed his composed mask to fall. David Mazouz does a wonderful job portraying the frustration, pain, and vulnerability of a young man who lost the most important figure in his life. Bruce then falls into a ravine and hurts his leg, proving Alfred’s worries valid. He shows some resourcefulness by fashioning a sprint for his leg and climbing back up. At the top of the ravine, he discovers Alfred waiting for him near a campfire. At first Bruce is upset that Alfred knew he was hurt and didn’t help, until Alfred points out that Bruce got himself into the mess and needed to get himself out. Plus, Alfred was available in case Bruce had an emergency. The exhausted Bruce rests his head on Alfred’s shoulder, and later wakes up in time to see the sun rise.It’s a subtle and quiet moment which beautifully asserts Alfred as the surrogate father for Bruce. It’s touching but not overly sentimental to see them together watching the sunrise, Bruce coming to the realization that while he no longer has his father, Alfred will always be there for him.
It’s the type of scene that Gotham really needs more of, and hopefully will produce in the future.
It appears that next week we may be getting our first look at the Joker. I really was hoping the show would wait a while to bring in the Clown Prince of Crime, but the show runners are intent on shoving as many Batman villains into the first season as possible.