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‘Gotham’ Season 1 Episode 20 Recap: “Under The Knife”

gotham under the knife

Last time on Gotham, Bruce watched as Selina Kyle, who also goes by “Cat,” pushed Reggie Payne, the man who stabbed Alfred while trying to spy on Bruce, out the window, killing him. Bruce is still in shock at Cat’s actions, and gets emotional. Cat defends herself by telling him that Payne was planning on exposing Bruce’s plot to bring down Wayne Enterprises, who are after Bruce, and Payne’s death was necessary. Their tiff quickly ends when Bruce asks for Cat’s help in stealing the key to Sid Bunderslaw’s (a corrupt executive of Wayne Enterprises) safe so they can access important information.

Meanwhile, Lee, Jim Gordon’s girlfriend and medical examiner/forensics expert at the Gotham City Police Department, gets a scare in her apartment while she’s in the bath. She hears glass breaking and gets out to investigate, only to find that it was just a stray cat that came through the window. She checks her phone to find a couple missed calls from Jim. Still spooked, she tries to call him back, but at the same time someone is right behind her as she is dialing the phone. She turns around and hits the man in the face. As it turns out, the creep is just Jim. While she is icing his wound, he explains his predicament with his involvement in the case of a good-looking and wealthy serial killer known as “The Ogre” (misleading nickname, I know). This particular killer goes after the cops involved in his case by killing the ones they love. He instructs Lee to leave Gotham immediately because he doesn’t want him to come after her. She refuses to go, but is flattered that Jim thinks of her as a loved one.

Later that night, it appears that Shrek the Ogre has found and seduced another woman. She just so happens to be Barbara, Jim’s ex-fiancee. The Ogre, who I should probably call by his alias (Jason Lennon) because I keep picturing a big green cartoon character, is under the impression that she and Jim are still together, and is intent on killing her to retaliate for Jim’s coming after him. She takes him back to her apartment, unaware of her circumstance, and just as the Ogre (okay, “Jason” didn’t sound as menacing) is about to kill her, he discovers that she is actually single. Barbara goes off on a tangent, telling him that if she were “hit by a bus” the next day, no one would care. She explains that she is not who he would imagine her to be, that he would be scared if he saw the real her. The Ogre changes his mind and decides not to kill her, with Barbara none the wiser.

While we were away, Oswald the Penguin was in his nightclub taking care of business. He meets with a skilled hitman and proposes his plan to kill Don Maroni and his men, who are sworn enemies of Falcone. The hitman refuses at first, but then agrees when the Penguin tells him that he will move up in the criminal world if he helps the Penguin by getting rid of Maroni.

The Penguin is dismayed to find out later that Don Maroni is in his nightclub. Maroni is sitting with the Penguin’s mother, Gertrude. After some awkward and forced banter, Maroni decides to tell the Penguin’s mother that her son is a cold-blooded psychopathic killer, and his mother is traumatized to hear this. Maroni is onto the Penguin’s scheme and, before he leaves the Penguin and his mother alone, threatens to kill the Penguin if he doesn’t end his shenanigans.

Back at home, Gertrude asks her son if he is a killer, and Oswald lies and tells her he is just a nightclub owner. Immediately after his mother leaves, he breaks down and has a guilty tear-fest. Shortly afterwards, the doorbell rings, and he dries his tears and answers the door to find that Maroni has sent roses to his mother. The Penguin tells his scheme of killing Maroni to the delivery man, but immediately realizes his mistake and kills the poor guy, unbeknownst to his mother.

At the GCPD, Ed Nygma is going to see his love interest, Kristen Kringle, to give her a bowl of chopped watermelon and also ask her to do some research on the Ogre’s case. He walks in on her and her police officer boyfriend, Daugherty, kissing and making up for something. Daugherty leaves, and as Nygma is talking to Kringle afterwards, he notices bruises on her arm. Kringle tells him it’s none of his concern, although she is still obviously distraught and clearly had been physically abused. (She can’t get a break from the crappy men in Gotham, can she?) A realization comes into Nygma’s face and it’s clear that he plans to get revenge on Kringle’s behalf.

In the archives, Nygma confronts Officer Daugherty about his abuse, and gives him a riddle about love. Nygma vows not to let Daugherty hurt Kringle again, but Daugherty is not threatened in the least. Nygma secretly parks outside of Kringle’s place and makes sure she gets home safely, and when he sees Daugherty walking to her door, Nygma jumps out of the car, yelling the ever-intimidating line: “Stop right there, buster!” Daugherty punches Nygma in the stomach (just for being a dork), and Nygma ends up stabbing him back. It doesn’t stop there, though. Nygma stabs Daugherty over and over again, like he did those watermelons in the beginning of the episode. Nygma is in a state of shock after Daugherty falls to the floor and bleeds to death, and has a mental breakdown as he leaves the scene of the crime. He goes back and forth between laughing about his murder and freaking out about it. This, my friends, is just the beginning of The Riddler.

Let’s go to Lil’ Batman’s place now. At the Wayne mansion, Bruce is telling Alfred he wants to attend the Wayne Enterprises charity ball, to show face that a Wayne is still involved in the company. He is secretly looking up Bunderslaw in the directory and plans to steal his key at the ball. When Alfred insists on joining Bruce at the ball, Bruce tells him to stay home and recover instead. He also informs him that he is bringing Cat to the ball. Even though Alfred doesn’t approve of her attending with him, he relents and tells Bruce that he will be close by, keeping an eye on Bruce in case he needs him. Bruce assures Alfred he will be fine, and tells him to send nice clothes to Cat’s house for the ball.

At Barbara’s apartment, where she and Cat both live, Barbara is choosing a dress to wear to the ball. Selina tells her she will be going to the ball as well, much to Barbara’s surprise. There’s a knock on the door and Selina is given Bruce’s delivery of loads and loads of clothing for the ball, which Selina is actually dismayed to see. Barbara offers to help Selina get ready for the ball, and by the time Bruce picks up Selina from Barbara’s house, Selina is all dolled up. Bruce is genuinely awe-struck at Cat’s getup, and compliments her, to which Cat replies by complaining that her shoes hurt. Painful shoes or not, the two of them need to steal that safe key from Bunderslaw, so off to the ball they go. Bruce and Selina find Bunderslaw at the party, and Selina sneaks it out of his pocket, replacing it with another key, as Bruce distracts him. The elaborate plan they concocted literally took three minutes on the screen, give or take. As soon as their plan is completed, Selina is disturbed to notice Barbara leaving with a strange man.

So it turns out that Ogre had shown up to the ball uninvited (he apparently had to donate a ton of money to get in) and joined Barbara in a dance. The two begin talking, and the Ogre ends up confessing that he, too, has a secret identity. Barbara is frightened by his confession, but falls for him when he points out their similarities. He asks her if she is tired of hiding from the world, and she agrees to go home with him. He is not the good guy ogre from the cartoon, stay away, Barbara!

Back at the police archives, Gordon and Bullock question the detective who first took up the Ogre’s case. He at first refuses to say anything, because the last time he got involved, his wife was killed and also tells them he doesn’t want his daughter to be next. Fair enough, but Gordon throws down photographs of the 11 victims the Ogre took, and tells the detective that every single one of them had been someone’s daughter. The detective instantly relents and agrees with Gordon’s statement, and decides to give them information about a cosmetic clinic to get them started. As Gordon and Bullock leave the GCPD, the Ogre secretly begins stalking them in his ride (no, it’s not an enchanted onion or a talking donkey).

Bullock and Gordon visit the clinic they were referred to and talk to the manager about the Ogre’s first victim Julie Kimball’s case. Her former manager won’t give out the name of the patient who recommended her to the clinic, claiming confidentiality, and requires the policemen to obtain a warrant. There’s something off about this guy, and Bullock is the first to notice, mocking him: “I specialize in fake boobs, but I have ethics, I need a warrant.” They leave the clinic and notice the same car that was stopped outside the GCPD is parked in an alley way. They are positive it was the Ogre and bring up the information to their captain, Sarah Essen. As they are doing so, Jim gets an “urgent call.” Who’s there? The Ogre, that’s who, warning Jim to stop the case before he literally kills someone. Jim doesn’t back down, however, and publicly announces on local television that he is after the Ogre, and promises to reveal the names and photos of all his 11 victims while reaching out to the public for extra information. The Ogre hears Jim’s whole spiel on his television screen, and realizes his threats didn’t do squat to the man.

Gordon and Bullock continue to research the case, and Bullock finds out that a woman named Constance van Groot, heir to the van Groot fortune and one of the wealthiest women in Gotham, referred Kimball to the clinic. They believe that the Ogre may have been her son.

Bullock and Gordon invite themselves into the van Groot mansion, where they find a man hanging himself. Their visit is off to a good start, wouldn’t you think? Jim arrests him for questioning, and Bullock goes to investigate the rest of the house. He walks into van Groot’s bedroom and finds photographs with what appears to be a young man’s face scratched out (ogres don’t like the way they look in pictures). Bullock pulls back the covers on the bed to reveal Constance van Groot’s grotesquely decomposed body. Turns out, she has been dead for years.

Through their questioning of the butler, they find out that he is the Ogre’s father. His wife left them when the Ogre, born Jason Skolimski, was a child. While his father worked as a butler, Jason lived with Miss van Groot and pretended she was his real mother, developing a “mommy-didn’t-love-me” complex in the process. He had wanted to change his name and be put in van Groot’s will, but was rejected by her. Jason was so distraught that he killed her, and has been living off of her money ever since. His father concealed van Groot’s death, and had tried to hang himself so he wouldn’t get caught. He hasn’t seen his son since the day van Groot died, and doesn’t believe that his son is seducing women and killing them. He shows them a photo of what Jason used to look like, and the nickname “The Ogre” makes sense when you see the picture of a deformed Milo Ventimiglia (the actor playing Jason Skolimski). It dawns on the detectives that the Ogre had undergone plastic surgery at the clinic Julie Kimball worked at, and they confront the plastic surgeon, who admits that he did operate on the Ogre’s face to make him attractive. He draws out a rough sketch of a basic white bitch bastard, and the detectives go off of the sketch to try and find the Ogre.

While Bullock, Gordon, and Essen are all going over the new evidence they have gathered, Gordon realizes that the Ogre is behind on the trends and is going off of the newspaper headline he saw last year, when there was a photo of Jim and Barbara together. Jim pretty much forgot all about his ex-fiancee and he now came to the realization that the Ogre is after her. Psssht. Jim doesn’t love Barbara anymore, Ogre, you’re so last year. Or so we thought. In a panic, the overtly-heroic Jim dashes to Barbara’s apartment and asks Selina where she is. She tells him she left with a guy at the ball, and when Jim shows her the sketch of the Ogre’s face, Selina confrims that the man looked like the sketch, even though it’s a “pretty crappy drawing.” Jim is extremely guilty and in deep shit now.

Meanwhile at the swamp (no, I’m not apologizing for this Shrek reference), Barbara asks the Ogre is she can look into a mysterious room. He shrugs and tells her to see for herself, and music that sounds more appropriate for a fashion runway plays as she walks into his Dexter-meets-Fifty Shades of Grey “killing” room (not exactly sure what to call it). The Ogre joins her side in the room, and she slowly turns to look at him and gives him a really weird smile. Will she become an ogress like Fiona? Or just another damsel in distress for Jim to save…

So, we’ve found that the Penguin is in a dog-eat-dog face off with Maroni, Jim is hot on the Ogre’s trail, the Ogre and Barbara are now a thing, Nygma is on his way to becoming the Riddler, and Bruce is getting somewhere with finding out who killed his parents. Minus a point because we didn’t get to find out what happened to Fish. Can you tell I like Fish? Fish is a badass. I want to know if she made it out of the Dollmaker’s clutches with the poor “harvested” people. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty entertained throughout this entire episode. And no, it wasn’t because I was laughing at the ridiculous serial killer name that is now synonymous with a cartoon character to me. Even the moments between Nygma and Kringle kept me alert because I knew this was the episode the Riddler would come about. Despite all the bad reviews I had read about this episode earlier, I’ve got to hand it to the writers, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to in the next episode. But maybe it’s because I like cliffhangers.