GOTHAM: Cory Michael Smith in the“Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Last week on Gotham, the focus was on little Bruce Wayne and his struggle to find (and kill) the person who murdered his parents. Upon finding the man, however, Bruce had a change of heart. His “no kill” policy has begun to flourish, bringing him one step closer to becoming a proper Batman. We also saw the release of The Penguin from Arkham, although it seems that his jailer, Hugo Strange, has more in mind for him. And then there was a bit with Edward Nygma. He thinks that Gordon is catching on to him and so now the challenge is begun. This week, ‘Mad Grey Dawn’ brings more Nygma, more Penguin and the start of Bruce Wayne’s adventures on the street. Scroll on for all the info.

We begin in an art gallery. Edward Nygma is there and he’s about ready to play his very first Riddler prank. He pretends to set off a museum-piece bomb and then, once everyone has fled the scene, he steals a painting, leaving his soon-to-be-classic question mark logo behind.

Naturally, it’s up to the GCPD to find out what happened. Gordon, however, has other things on his mind. Someone’s playing the snitch and claims to have seen Gordon kill Galavan. So the investigation is reopened and the future commissioner is more than a bit distracted. Still, he and Bullock have to figure out the puzzle that Nygma left behind. After a minor amount of brain power, they figure out that the art thief is planning on bombing a Gotham train station. So off they run.

riddlers clue

Getting rid of the bomb is fairly easy, though blowing Gordon to pieces is just one of Nygma’s many solutions to his rival’s investigation into Miss Kringle. The second part involves murdering a cop and setting Gordon up to take the fall. The Riddler-to-be manages to make the officer look like he’s the one who’s snitching on Gordon and then gets Jim’s fingerprints on the murder weapon. So off to jail he goes.

On The Penguin’s side of the story, we find a newly reformed and very non-violent Cobblepot running around chatting up his old mates. First he goes and apologizes to Butch, though Tabitha isn’t too happy to see him. Still, Cobblepot walks away with his life and then proceeds to Nygma’s house. Unfortunately, Ed isn’t pleased with Oswald’s new state of mind, so he sends The Penguin packing.

Finally, the former King of Gotham arrives at the cemetery to have a chat with his deceased mother. There, he runs into a surprise – a man also visiting the grave of his mum. And that man just happens to be his father. Oswald accompanies his father back to his lavish mansion and becomes part of the family. For now, at least.

gordon arrested

The third part of the story follows Bruce and Selina on their underworld adventures. Looking to make some cash, Selina visits little Ivy. She’s in her element now, growing things, though those things happen to be magic mushrooms. Selina decides she’s going to rob the dealers whom Ivy works for by slipping them some of the happy-time mushroom variety and then walking away with the cash while they trip out. Unfortunately, some non-drugged baddies return home and snatch Bruce and Selina up. Bruce gets his rage up and has the living crap kicked out of him, but finally the two escape from their enemies’ clutches. In the process, Bruce’s inner Batman is tapped and he discovers that combat seems to be the best way to silence his demons.

And, finally, cut to 4 weeks later. Gordon has been found guilty and gets shipped off to prison. He tells Thompkins to take off and leave him alone, potentially exiting her from the picture. Miraculously, Barbara wakes up from her coma at the same time. And then we get The Penguin hanging out with his family. He seems right at home, though the rest of them are less than pleased by his presence.

daddy penguin

This week demonstrated once again that, while Gotham isn’t necessarily always throwing us curve balls or creating ultra-dramatic moments, the writers are good at creating a steadily progressing story which keeps out interest. Sure, they drop the occasional bad guy of the week in there to spice it up, but those episodes tend to be the weaker ones. I much prefer to see things unfold deliberately and watch as the characters develop over time.

By far my favorite element this week is that we’re finally getting a taste of what Edward Nygma will eventually become. The Riddler is in the house, complete with his question marks and elaborate puzzles. And though Jim Gordon may be his first victim, it won’t likely be long before Bruce has to pit his brain against Nygma. Perhaps even sooner than we think? Maybe Bruce will have to figure out a way to prove Gordon’s innocence and get him out of jail? There’s plenty of potential here.

cobblepot family

I’m also happy with Bruce’s exploration on the streets of the city. He’s learning more about how the underworld truly works and forming opinions on what exactly constitutes right and wrong for him. He’s already decided that stealing from bad guys is okay and that fighting makes the bad dreams go away. He’s becoming closer and closer to his Batman-ness – something that Gotham has really been concentrating on during this season.

The only thing I have to complain about this week is the fact that Barbara woke up. Yeah, they had to do it eventually, but I was holding out for season 3. Or maybe season 4 or 5 or 6… Either way, all we can do is pray that the writers find a way to make her interesting. And that she decided to spend her free time taking acting classes. Anything to alleviate the pain of her being on-screen.

Next week, ‘Prisoners’ has Gordon trying to survive on the wrong side of the prison bars. We’ll also (thankfully) be getting a lot more Penguin, as he attempts to deal with what looks like a family full of greedy sociopaths. Check out the trailer for that one below.

Category: reviews, TV

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