Someone is going around killing people by making them face their deadliest fears. Gordon and Bullock investigate and discover that a mysterious incision is made in the side of the first victim. The victim, who was afraid of heights, was found attached to a pulley system and tied to a chair on top of a building, the killer having hanged him and then reeled him back in to perform his post-mortem surgery. Bullock interviews a woman, Scottie Mullen, who knew the first victim and runs a Phobias Anonymous group of which he was a member. Gordon, meanwhile, traces the chair back to a defunct local manufacturer where they investigate and happen across an intended second victim. They save the victim and shoot down the killer, but Gordon still wonders if there might be a second killer.
Bullock goes to tell Scottie that they caught the killer and ends up joining the group for the evening. Mid-meeting, Scottie is lured away by a distraught member and ends up getting kidnapped. Her abductor is Dr. Crane, apparently performing experiments in fear on his fellow meeting members. As Bullock and Gordon try to find her, they discover that she’s afraid of drowning and that there is a specific pool from her childhood in which she almost drowned. They find Scottie already at the bottom of the pool with Dr. Crane looking on. Gordon chases Crane but loses him, while Bullock saves Scottie. It is revealed later that the incision in the first victim was to remove the adrenal gland.
This Dr. Crane has a teenage son who, if not an active accessory to his father’s murders, is at least fully aware of them. And while this son seems uncomfortable about those murders, is at least convinced by his father that they are necessary. My theory here, is that Dr. Crane will very likely either die or be incarcerated by the end of next week’s episode and that his son will become the obsessive Scarecrow we know from the Batman era. Crane himself said he feared he was passing his obsessions and phobias on to his son, Jonathan Crane. It should be interesting to see how the mania is passed from father to son – which at least sets up another one of Batman’s adversaries to be in his age range.
You know love must be in the air when even Bullock pursues a budding romance. While Thompkins and Gordon reconnect awkwardly but manage to end the episode with another passionate kiss, Bullock has a thing for Scottie Mullen. If Scottie may have been ambivalent about Bullock early on, him saving her life certainly intensifies their relationship. Bullock could use someone to keep him in line, to socialize and sensitize him, and Scottie is a no-nonsense kind of woman who won’t hesitate to admonish Bullock for his crass behavior. Meanwhile, Nygma seems to be breaking through Kringle’s defenses, if only slightly. Could there be love in the future for these two adorable geeks? If so, tragedy will likely follow swiftly upon it.
While Cobblepot and Maroni celebrate the downfall of Fish Mooney – Cobblepot arrogantly assuming she’s dead – Maroni gets a call from Mooney where she reveals that Cobblepot has been playing sides. Maroni immediately formulates a plan where he and Cobblepot take a trip to an isolated cabin where Maroni intimidates and terrorizes Cobblepot. Cobblepot immediately has suspicions and tries to arm himself with Maroni’s gun when he’s not looking. When the truth comes out about Cobblepot and Falcone, Cobblepot tries to shoot Maroni but the gun is filled with blanks. Maroni tries to have Cobblepot squished to death in a car compactor, but Cobblepot weasels his way out and escapes. He is found by a bus full of black women on a church trip the next morning and he hitches a ride back to Gotham with them. Meanwhile, Mooney’s safety is compromised as a mysterious man infiltrates her ship and shoots down the crew.
Bruce was always kind of a loner, but he’s systematically shutting himself off from the few people he kept close. First Selina snubs him, which breaks his little heart, then he turns around and practically dismisses Gordon – releasing him from his promise to find his parents’ killers. It even looks like next week Bruce goes off on a survivalist trip on his own, making Alfred stay behind. The more I see of Bruce, the more I totally buy him as the future Batman.