Last time on Gotham, things were starting to come to a head from all the drama. Gordon escaped from prison and was now on the hunt for the person who framed him. The Penguin was dealing with his crazy-ass family and the death of his father by said crazy-ass family. Oh, and Barbara came out of her coma… unfortunately. So what shall be the aftermath of all that drama? The series is coming close to its season finale, yet there is still no solid villain to speak of. And while ‘Into the Woods’ doesn’t provide us with anything concrete, it does bring an excellent and sometimes hilarious 42 minutes. Read on for SPOILERS and more.
We begin with Bruce and Selina. They’re out stealing money from crooks, although they seem to differ on what to do with that money. Bruce wants to toss it into the streets so that everyone gets a cut. Naturally, his companion isn’t on board for the charity drive. At least the rest of their relationship seems to be going okay.
On Gordon’s side of the story, he’s on the loose and Edward Nygma has to watch his back. Gordon and Harvey Bullock bang their heads together and figure out that the person they’re looking for is almost certainly another cop, but Gordon has dozens of cops who hate him enough to frame him for murder. So the only solution is a visit to IA. Apparently, they record phone calls coming into the GCPD and there’s a chance that the person who snitched on Gordon is present in hard copy somewhere.
Lucky for him, Bullock is banging someone on the inside. He gives her a shag while Gordon steals her keys and makes his way to IA HQ. He snags the tape, but the snitch has (duh) disguised his voice. Needing someone to unscramble it and search for clues, Gordon goes to the worst ally ever – Edward Nygma.
While hanging out with Nygma, Gordon realizes that things aren’t quite right in the dude’s head. When Jim says something that attacks Ed’s ego, the man loses his cool. It isn’t long before Gordon realizes who he’s chilling with. Nygma, however, has already prepared for such developments. He shocks Gordon unconscious and drags him out to his car. Unfortunately for the Riddler-to-be, Gordon is playing possum and makes his escape when the time is right.
Finally escaped from his nemesis, Gordon ends up at Selina’s pad. She and Bruce bring him back to the mansion for some stitch-up time and together they make a plan. Selina is sent into the GCPD with “information” on Gordon’s whereabouts under the pretense of getting her hands on a fat reward. She also drops the bomb that Gordon is looking for an unmarked grave in the woods. Nygma panics, runs out to relocate the body of Miss Kringle and ends up caught.
So what’s happening with The Penguin all this time? He attends his daddy’s funeral and, desperate to have somewhere to be, ends up as the house servant of his father’s killers. Step-mommy figures it’s best to keep him close so he won’t run out and find a lawyer to contest the will, but she really doesn’t know what Mister Cobblepot is capable of.
After a fair amount of abuse, Oswald stumbles upon a decanter containing the poison used to kill his father. He tests it out on the dog first and, in a fit of laughter, we have the old Penguin back. He confronts his step-mother about the poisoning and eventually puts a knife in her, but not before cooking her up a very special meal.
And then there’s Barbara… She’s awake and living in Arkham Asylum. Hugo Strange decides to declare her sane. Out into the real world she goes, though only because Strange wishes to study her reactions. So where’s the first place she goes? To the home of her old lover, Jim Gordon, of course.
And, finally, Bruce discovers that his father’s computer has been fixed and he can continue his investigation. But Alfred gives the young Batman an ultimatum – ditch Selina if he’s going to be going after murderous businessmen. He agrees, but their parting doesn’t go well.
This week’s episode was a good one. We finally got to see Nygma and Gordon going toe-to-toe. That story arc may be over for now, but it’s not likely to be ended permanently by any stretch. Eddie is in Arkham now and he’ll be dealing with the mental mechanizations of one Hugo Strange. Here comes the Riddler!
The best part for me, however, was seeing the reemergence of Gotham’s biggest asset – The Penguin. He’s back to evil now and we can expect more villain-y goodness from him in future episodes. What’s more, there has been no obvious plan for him thus far and, with 5 episodes to go, there’s no telling where the writers may take the character. I’m guessing he might want a little payback against Tabitha, Butch and, most importantly, Hugo Strange. This might land him on the side of Gordon when it comes down to the wire. Gobblepot shippers the world over will cream themselves if that happens to be the case.
But what’s really impressed me with Gotham is something that it’s taken me 39 episodes to realize. While the series has its ups and downs and definitely doesn’t land every episode as far as the writing and plot developments go, it does have one thing which sets it above pretty much every other super hero show out there today – characters.
Gotham possesses a wide range of talent portraying dynamically realized characters who, when you go back and see what they started as compared to what they have become, change in a realistic and compelling manner. Couple that with some incredibly talented actors – Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith, David Mazouz – and you have characters who will keep you coming back for more.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to everyone. There are a wide variety of static characters with amazing actors playing the roles – Donal Logue as Bullock, Sean Pertwee as Alfred and Camren Bicondova as Selina, to name a few – but there are also actors who don’t seem to be holding their own within the Gotham dynamic character agenda. As much as I hate to say it, Ben McKenzie is almost consistently unconvincing as a developing character. Jim Gordon feels, despite his many challenges, pretty much the same as he did when the series began. And don’t even get me started on Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney or Erin Richards as Barbara…
In short, Gotham was great tonight. And it looks to be getting even better as the season comes to a close. Let’s just hope that they continue to learn from their mistakes and that, when season 3 rolls around, we’ll see Gotham peak in a glorious, madness-induced vision of Batman-esque goodness.
Now that the smoke has cleared, what’s in store for next week? This trailer for ‘Pinewood’ suggests that we’ll be looking at Hugo Strange’s makeshift army of super villains causing more havoc as well as Bruce and Gordon digging deeper into the mystery of who killed little Batman’s parents. Check that out below.