Last week’s episode of Gotham wrapped up a few major plot lines and prepared the show for something larger in scope. The Penguin won out against his greedy family and is now back to being his old self again. Jim Gordon finally discovered the identity of the person who framed him and ended up outsmarting Edward Nygma and sending the Riddler-to-be to jail. And little Bruce Wayne departed the company of little Catwoman in favor of pursuing a lead into Wayne Enterprises and what his father was doing before his untimely death. This week, Hugo Strange is back and this time he has some super villains on his side. Check out the review for ‘Pinewood’ in the words and sentences below.
And so we begin where we left off – with Barbara knocking on Jim Gordon’s door. Needless to say, he ain’t too happy about her showing up on short notice. But she claims that she’s all better now! She’s ready to be a regular gal and help her former b/f with his current case. Naturally, Gordon kicks her to the curb.
So it’s up to him and Harvey to take care of the Wayne murder investigation. They find someone, referred to as The Lady, who may be able to help them. Unfortunately, she is in hiding. Gordon heads out to pursue the leads the rough way and eventually finds his way to a club where she hangs out. But when Barbara shows up yet again, it’s up to her to get the information he needs from this girl’s only criminal club.
As all this transpires, Bruce is digging around in the newly recovered computer of his father. He finds a name – Pinewood Farms – and Lucius Fox confirms that it’s a black ops sort of thing. That doesn’t stop our future Batman from following up on the lead he finds – a girl named Karen who was once an experiment for the Pinewood genetic engineering program.
Hugo Strange is also aware of what’s going on, but Bruce finds Karen first. After a brief conflict, lil’ Batman uses his superior diplomatic skills to get her on board his program. Bruce also discovers that his father was the one who first started Pinewood, although he tried to shut it down once a man known as “The Philosopher” turned it into something bad. Any guesses on whom that happens to be?
Back with Gordon, he’s trying to sneak into the women’s only club only to be captured. Barbara appears to be the one who nailed him, but when the chips fall, she manages to discover more information on who hired The Lady to contract a hit on the Waynes while also saving Jim from an untimely death. Is she on the side of right? Gordon may never know, because he gets a call from Bruce and leaves his former lover in the dust. And not without more than a few harsh words.
So why the phone call? Well, Bruce, Karen and Alfred pursued their Pinewood lead and some baddies showed up. Then there was some murder. And the good guys ended up in jail. Bruce and Alfred are okay, but Karen is being shipped off. So the trio of justice makes a plan to rescue her.
Just when things look like they might be going well, Mr. Freeze shows up. Hugo Strange has decided that Karen needs to be dead, so he sent out his super villain ally to take care of business. Why does Freeze agree to this? We may never know… but he does manage to get rid of Karen and leave Bruce feeling pretty damned guilty about not being able to save her.
And finally, Barbara ends up once again with Tabitha and Butch. Lucius Fox finds out that Hugo Strange is indeed “The Philosopher”. And Strange finally has success in his reanimation experiments, bringing Galavan back to life as… Azrael.
This week’s episode was a mixture of good and bad, though mostly good. I am still enjoying the way the series has been focusing on the development of Bruce Wayne and really taking the time to show how his mental state is altering into one that we, as fanboys, can more readily associate with the great and powerful Batman. He’s becoming more intense, more intelligent, wiser and courageous to a fault. This bodes well for the future of Gotham, even if we don’t actually get the chance to see Bruce don the cape and cowl.
Also, I was almost impressed with Barbara’s role this week. The writers are seriously trying to write the hell out of this character and make her interesting. In truth, they’re doing a damned fine job of it. Unfortunately, the actress just isn’t talented enough to embody all of the nuances that are involved in this character’s transition. So you end up with a situation whereby the character is amazing but you’re only seeing a 2-dimensional portrayal of what could be. It’s a mixed bag of nuts, and most of those nuts are Brazilian as opposed to sweet, delicious cashews.
On the lame side of things, I was a bit pissed with Mr. Freeze’s motivations during this episode. Strange calls him out to go kill and he does so because he’s bored? One of the more interesting things about Freeze’s character in the traditional sense was his motivation. This incarnation, following his wife’s death, appears to have zero motivation. I really hope they make some improvements to the character, or I may just light a puppy on fire in protest.
The other thing that irked me was Karen’s unnecessary sacrifice. There was no real tension regarding whether or not Bruce and his crew could hold off Freeze, so when she charged forward to be killed, it felt hollow. What’s more, it just felt like an excuse to kill off the character who had the information that Bruce needed. And then they gave him that information anyway… so what was the point? There was none, and I’m kinda annoyed by it. A bit of sloppy writing among the usually exceptional writing of the Gotham creators.
Next week, ‘Azrael’ brings us perhaps the most vicious villain that Gotham has presented thus far. He’s a bad-ass who’s out to kill and it will take the entire team to stand up against him. Personally, I’m looking forward to this one. Check out the trailer below and see how you feel about it.