Gotham: The Anvil or the Hammer review

Milo Ventimiglia is back as The Ogre on the second to last episode of Gotham season one. Here's our review...

This Gotham review contains spoilers.

Gotham is wrapping up its first season and “The Anvil and The Hammer” definitely concluded a few things, and showed some promise for the season finale. I won’t waste your time with too much preamble this week so we’ll get right into it. 

As usual, the good stuff is up front on Park Row…before we head down to Crime Alley for the rest.

Park Row

The best thing about “The Anvil or The Hammer” was the ending. And no, that isn’t snark or sarcasm. It was a great ending.

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I’ve felt in recent weeks that the Penguin’s storyline had run out of steam. To be fair, they really were treading water recently, but this week marked a return to form to what was the driving force (and most interesting story) of most of the season.

The Penguin’s plan has turned out to be rather masterful. Why take out either of his enemies when he can let them eliminate each other? I’m not sure either side will succeed, but something tells me that the resultant thinning of the ranks will allow Oswald to cement his own power base in time for season two.

Oh, and setting the onset of the gang war to “Boiling Point” by The The was pretty awesome. Oh, and the tune the band is playing in Penguin’s club is “Do the Dog” by The Specials. I really wish that the smart person with great taste who has been picking Gotham‘s tunes all season long would get promoted to a writing job. For the record, the song playing during the Barbara nonsense at the end was “Don’t Let us Say Goodbye” by Slim Gaillard. That tune deserves better than it got.

“Harvey I’m about to violate departmental policy on interrogation techniques.” Ben McKenzie is always a bright spot on this show. But steely, badass Jim Gordon is always my favorite Jim Gordon. I enjoyed it when he called out the Ogre on TV a few weeks ago, and I like it when he stares down (the useless) Commissioner Loeb. But that line was special. Plus, I was totally ready for him to finally just pound the Penguin into submission when he went and confronted him. They’ve both earned that.

You know what else was great? There wasn’t a sign of Fish Mooney in all of this. Gotham is able to do much better work when it focuses a little harder on the stories that matter. Tell fewer stories next year, thin the herd of characters you’re trying to develop, and things should improve nicely.

Crime Alley

Who exactly is the most harmful, regressive female character on Gotham (and perhaps all of television) at the moment? Is it the utterly hateful Barbara or the completely insufferable Miss Kringle? Both are one-dimensional sex objects who exist solely for the show’s male characters to project their own weaknesses and bad behavior on.

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“I was going to kill you,” the Ogre told Barbara, as the audience edged forward hopefully. “I saw something you, Barbara.” Really? Because not a single member of the viewing public has! 

Sadly, Barbara lives to annoy us another day. I can’t imagine any situation where this character can return to “normal love interest” status after this, which means that, barring a complete breakdown and subsequent lock-up at Arkham, she’ll be back. Are we to believe that she’s going to go back to rooming with Selina Kyle with Jim Gordon having conflicted feelings about her after she just became an accessory to the murder of her own parents?

What utter nonsense.

I’m not the biggest fan of the post Patriot Act surveillance state in the real world, but are there no security cameras in Gotham City? Bruce Wayne pulls the fire alarm at Wayne Enterprises like a noob juvenile delinquent with absolutely no fear of reprisal, and Ed Nygma is dealing with the dismembered corpse of a cop within the walls of the police precinct and his biggest fear is that his one-sided crush might recognize the pieces in the sink.

In the sink. Not on the slab, where actual police investigation work would be going on. But in the sink. The fact the pieces of the former boyfriend appear to still be clothed, thereby making them even more identifiable and suspicious, doesn’t really help matters, but I’m prepared to give the show a break, here.

Never mind. No I’m not. Everything surrounding the Kringle/Nygma arc has been thoroughly insulting. “No body, no crime,” says the guy presumably quite familiar with the ins and outs of police forensic work. But when, not some random suitor, but a member of the Gotham City PD goes missing with no explanation (even assuming that Ed writes that nonsense letter he was talking about), I assure you, no body means there was probably a crime.

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Speaking of things that boggle the mind, the fact that anybody at all can draw any kind of conclusions whatsoever from that drawing of the Ogre is mystifying at best, insultingly stupid at worst.

Life With the Waynes

I’m not entirely certain what Bruce’s visit to Bunderslaw ultimately accomplished, other than allow us an easy introduction to Lucius Fox. While it’s a brief scene, Chris Chalk seems like a capable enough Lucius, and I’m just glad they didn’t make him a teenager or an intern or something. This is a character who I would actually like to see explored in future seasons.

I particularly like that Alfred is ready to kick some ass when Bruce says he went to Bunderslaw. “What did he do!” Not “what did he say?” Not “why did you go there?” Alfred just immediately assumes the worst and is ready to break some skulls if this guy has hurt Bruce. I really like Sean Pertwee’s Alfred.

Gotham Central

During the visit to the skeevy Eyes Wide Shut place, a number of the folks in recreational gear recall future members of the Batman supporting cast. I spotted Robin, some Catwomen, Two-Face, and Bane. There were probably more.


2.5 out of 5