Was my enjoyment of the last few episodes of Gotham genuine, or some kind of Stockholm syndrome? Was it easier to find the goofy fun in this show because I had made peace with it, or was I lying to myself? I don’t know. All I know is that last night’s episode, “Beasts of Prey,” was pretty terrible.

As is often the case with Gotham, it was less an episode of a TV series and more a collection of disparate scenes that had nothing to do with each other, and very little of consequence anyways. Let’s get the side stuff out of the way first.

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• Fish escapes from Dulmacher’s house of horrors with a small selection of fellow prisoners. Of course this requires her tricking Dulmacher and lying to some of her other fellow prisoners, which is startlingly easy to do given that Fish has done nothing but trick and betray people since she was captured by pirates. She inexplicably leaves Dulmacher alive (solely so he can come back before the finale) and gets shot, but is still able to hijack a helicopter and take off. Again, if I thought that this was going to have ramifications for literally anybody other than Fish, I might be interested, but I don’t and it wasn’t.

• Alfred still has no idea how medicine or the healing process works and hurts himself within seconds of deciding to hunt after Reggie. Bruce and Selina take up the case, which ends with them finding Reggie in a drug den, Reggie explaining who hired him, although I don’t know if Bruce realizes it’s someone from Wayne Enterprises’ board or not. Reggie makes some threats, Bruce thinks about pushing Reggie out a window in what is hands-down Gotham’s goofiest scene, but is stopped with Cat pushes him instead. So Cat just murdered a dude in front of Bruce Wayne. This could be interesting if I trusted Gotham to wring some actual conflict between the two kids out of it, but I don’t.

• The Penguin gets a restaurant as some sort of future location to kill Don Maroni. It involves graphic, on-screen torture and it’s neither necessary nor interesting.

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All that leaves is Gordon and the Case o’ the Week. This time, a young cop gives him an unsolved murder of a girl who went missing for four months and was just found murdered. You don’t need to be the World’s Greatest Detective to figure out Gordon’s being set up — you barely need to have paid attention — but of course Gordon has no clue that he’s investigating the Ogre, a serial killer who also murders the loved ones of any cop who investigates him. It’s why the Ogre’s never been caught, why no one at the GCPD ever mentions him or his cases, and why Commissioner Loeb made sure that Gordon began investigating the case.

That… that’s pretty much it, actually. Gordon does some investigating, and Bullock does some bitching, but it’s all just filler until someone mentions that the girl was found with a broken plaster heart by her body, and Bullock realizes who the culprit is. Gordon briefly confronts Loeb, and boom, the rest is saved for next episode. It would be pretty dire if it weren’t for the Ogre, this week’s villain, played by Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia. His serial killer is very obviously Patrick Bateman from American Psycho with a twisted desire for the perfect relationship (and the sex-torture room from 50 Shades of Gray), but since he’s only loosely based on a DC villain, Gotham has the freedom to slowly reveal his character as opposed to it being completely obvious from the first moment.

Granted, Gotham doesn’t do much with him, but still, it’s nice to see a character we don't immediately know everything about. Hopefully this will continue in the next episode; maybe giving Gordon his own archenemy is exactly what Gotham needs.I won’t hold my breath, though. There are only three more episodes left in Gotham’s inaugural season, and I’m having a hard time imagining what the show can possibly do to raise the stakes for a climactic finale.

Let me put it another way: At one point in “Beasts of Prey,” Oswald Cobblepot obliviously walks behind Bruce Wayne while he’s doing some investigating. I was genuinely excited to see these two future foes share the screen, even just for a second. Then I realized having two characters being on-screen at the same time but not interacting with each other was literally the most exciting moment in the entire episode.

If that doesn’t sum up all of Gotham’s problems, I don’t know what does.

Assorted Musings:

• Edward Nygma, when asked to hunt down some missing evidence: “I will solve this puzzle, sir!” JESUS @#$%ING CHRIST.

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• So I was going to make a joke that the Ogre was Jess from Gilmore Girls all grown up, as both characters were played by Milo Ventimiglia, and because Jess was a huge asshole on GG. My wife pointed out that Jess didn’t have enough ambition to be a serial killer, however, and I had to concede the point.

• It looks like the Ogre gets his mitts on Barbara next week, which actually made me laugh out loud. The fact that the show actually thinks we might be worried about her character is deeply, deeply hilarious to me.

• There was also a shot of Nygma holding a knife and laughing maniacally in the “next week on” preview. I don’t know who he murders, but I do know that anything he does will be spectacularly unearned.

• If someone could get me a gif of lil' Bruce Wayne getting ready to push Reggie out the window, his hands shaking in rage like he's in a silent movie from the 1920s, I'd be most appreciative. Update: AWConn is my hero.

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• While I was procrastinating writing this recap, my pal and fellow Gotham sufferer reviewer Sean T. Collins got into a Twitter discussion of potential future Gotham plot developments under the hashtag #NextWeekonGotham. You may enjoy.


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.