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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Gotham Season 01 Episode 21: The Anvil or the Hammer

April 28th, 2015 by Todd Black Comments


And with that, we’re ready for the grand finale of the first season of Gotham. “The Anvil or the Hammer” delivered a decent end to The Ogre storyline, all the while subtlely  prepping everything for the end.

Let’s start with The Ogre, who once again impressed by breaking our expectations right off the bat. Just when you thought he would go slow and try and corrupt Barbara, he took a different approach and revealed his true intentions, only to note that he actually did believe she was the one for him. This was an interesting twist, as The Ogre was meant to be impossible to please, yet somehow Barbara (of all people) proved to be his perfect match…after some “conditioning” of course.

This was the other interesting part of the storyline, as his “conditioning” of Barbara was both cruel and unusual. And left her as nothing but a shell of her former self. It was incredibly dark when she told The Ogre to murder her parents. I thought for sure she was going to mention Leslie, as some kind of cruel revenge for Jim, but no, she chose her parents. And she didn’t resist when they were killed.

Gordon’s journey to free Barbara could have been incredibly cheesy, and ended on a real dull note. Instead, it again showed that this isn’t the completely pure Gordon we know from other mediums (not that he was completely pure there either in some cases). This is one who is willing to push lines and rough people up in times of great need. While some may say that’s out of character, here, it’s actually necessary. Cause if he wasn’t pushing it, then he wouldn’t be saving as many lives as he has.

The ending of The Ogre might have been predictable, but it was satisfying, as Gordon got to be the one to put him down. And despite clearly still caring for Barbara on some level, he fully admitted to Leslie that he loved her, and her alone. Thank goodness for that!

Moving on, Bruce had a fun adventure, as he tried to truly figure out what was going on in his company. In an interesting twist, he learned what he wanted…but not in the way he expected. Not only did he get caught, he found that (possibly) his father and grandfather knew about the corruption in Wayne Enterprises, yet did nothing about it. Obviously there’s more here than meets the eye, BUT, the idea of Thomas Wayne not being completely on the level is an intriguing notion. True, it could fizzle out quickly, but it’s interesting for sure.


Also, the introduction of Lucius Fox was well done. Though short, Lucius instantly made a connection with Bruce, and showed why he will be the right hand man for Bruce once he takes over the company.

Nygma had a very interesting little story. As he had to deal with the actions of his first murder. True, it may not have been incredibly enlightening in the overall story. But, it did show how he is truly moving closer to his alter-ego. That “read between the lines” letter trick was a perfect Riddler-like setup. In fact, I recall something similar happening in the first Riddler episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

Speaking of becoming one with their alter ego. Penguin got to show how crafty he could be, as he almost perfectly orchestrated the war between Falcone and Maroni. His joy as he sat back and drank, knowing the bloodbath was about to begin was perfect Penguin.

That being said, there has been something I honestly didn’t like. He noted that being under Falcone’s thumb was “becoming intolerable”, yet I don’t know why. All Falcone has done since Penguin came back was show him respect, save his life, and give him Fish’s club. He even had Zsasz “reprogram” Butch so he could help Penguin out. Where did the “intolerable” part come in?

Also, I wish we had seen more of an ending with Barbara after the death of her parents and The Ogre. Given where her mind was at the end of the episode, I highly doubt she just snapped back to reality.

In the end though, “The Anvil or the Hammer” did a good job of setting things up for the finale. The season finale will no doubt have to be big in order to keep interest up for next season. Anything is up for grabs at this point, we’ll have to see where it all ends.


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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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