Last week’s Gotham featured a few key changes in the way things are going to play out for at least a couple of future episodes. The Penguin now has a father and a family, although some of those he’s related to don’t really seem to appreciate his presence. Gordon was outsmarted by Edward Nygma and is now locked away in prison for the supposed murder of another police officer. And Bruce Wayne had his first adventure on the streets, stealing cash and getting beaten to a pulp thanks to Selina’s plan to make a few bucks. This week, Gordon tries to survive behind bars and Penguin tries to survive the trials of his newfound family. Scroll on for a (SPOILER filled) review of ‘Prisoners’.
We begin with Gordon behind bars and living out his new life, day to day. He’s getting a taste of what the other side is like and the days are melting by. Unfortunately, the corruption that is Gotham City allows a pissed off former Commissioner Loeb to manipulate the system. Gordon is moved out of protective custody and into general population, the same place where most of the people he’s put away hang out.
It’s obvious to Gordon that the prison is full of corruption and the warden sees the “boy scout” as a threat. So he sets out to have him killed. More bad news – Thompkins lost the baby and ran off to the south somewhere. And Gordon’s only real ally is Bullock, working tirelessly on the outside to figure out a way to make things right.
Luckily, Gordon has a few friends inside the barred city. One is another inmate whom Gordon inadvertently did a favor for. The other is a guard who is just as fed up with the corruption as Jim is. Attempts are made on Gordon’s life and one seems to succeed… until we realize that Bullock contacted an old friend – Carmine Falcone. Once everyone thinks that Gordon’s done for, he’s smuggled out of prison and now has the freedom to begin his hunt for the real murderer.
On The Penguin’s side of the story, he appears to be having a nice, new life with his nice, new family. Daddy Elijah loves his long-lost son, but the rest of the family ain’t so pleased. They were in line to inherit all of dad’s cash when he kicked the bucket but, now that there’s a blood relative in the mix, they could end up without a penny. Worse still, Elijah has a heart condition, so there isn’t much time. Needless to say, black widow Grace doesn’t feel like waiting and has been poisoning poor Oswald’s dad.
Seeing an opportunity to get him kicked to the curb, Grace tells dad about all the horrible things that Oswald’s done. But it’s too little, too late. Oswald’s already come clean. In fact, when Elijah finds out that his son was a famous gangster who went by the name of The Penguin, he’s even a bit proud.
After that, Grace sends her daughter Sasha to seduce Oswald. That doesn’t work either. So the final solution is an assassination attempt. Unfortunately, poisoning someone’s drink rarely goes right when it’s done on television. Elijah drinks the poison instead and now Oswald is left, once again, without a father. Worse still, he has a greedy, homicidal family to deal with.
This week’s Gotham was all about the character development, with little action to speak of. It’s the second it the row like this, but it worked well. You can see the build-up toward what will inevitably be a rather intense time for all involved. Gordon will find out the truth of Nygma, Penguin will snap back into his good old self again and Bruce will cast aside his rich-boy pretensions in favor of the truth.
I enjoy the way they’re going about it, taking each of these three main characters and putting them into a situation that is the opposite of their comfort zone all at the same time. It’s like the story has been turned upside down, if only for a moment. Eventually, everything will have to go back to normal, of course. Too much of this will becoming tiring and repetitive.
Oh, and then there was the arrival of another Penguin mainstay – daddy’s monocle. I love how they just teased it for a few seconds, just enough to get the fanboy in me a little excited. Yeah, it’s corny, but The Penguin’s always been one of my favorites. Let me have my moment.
There were a few things this week that seemed out-of-place. The weird little subplot with Peter seemed senseless. I’m guessing it was there to give Gordon some sort of light at the end of the tunnel? Knowing the character, however, we also know that he doesn’t need any such thing. Jim Gordon is a hard-ass and he’ll always be a hard-ass. Some dude thanking him for saving his kid sister doesn’t have any meaningful impact on that. Paired with that oddity was the goofy inspirational speech moment at the end of the episode. Again, Gordon doesn’t need someone to tell him to keep fighting. He just does it.
All-in-all, it was another good, if not great, episode of Gotham. There’s no episode next week, but April 11th’s entry, ‘Into the Woods’, looks all sorts of crazy. We get more Riddler, more Bruce on the streets, Penguin looking happily psychotic again and, of course, Gordon doing his Gordon thing. Check out the trailer for that one below.