Episode Title: Prisoners
Original Airdate: 3-28-16
If you’re following along with these reviews as I’m writing them you might be able to tell how much I’m getting into these episodes as I’m breezing through them to try and catch up to yesterday’s new episode. Apparently I was right to a certain extent, but not quite as much as I would have thought. There was a bit of a time jump while Jim Gordon has been in prison, but it wasn’t a matter of years, merely a matter of weeks to months. It’s not entirely clear exactly how much time passed while Gordon was in Blackgate prison aside from one comment that he had spent “weeks” in there and there was a moment where they showed a snowy prison which suggests months rather than just weeks.
First off, I want to say that I absolutely loved how they handled the opening scene with Gordon’s first several weeks in Blackgate prison. Just the way that they handled the passage of time and the repetition and the sameness without making it boring. It also didn’t waste too much time before answering the question of why Gordon wasn’t being bothered by the other inmates while he was there during those weeks. It wasn’t until he got transferred to the general population wing of the prison before his troubles began. The only downside for me for this entire prison sequence was the mini arc with the kid-criminal-with-the-heart-of-gold. It was just so much on the nose, something akin to what I disliked so much during the first season. It was too much for him to die just as they completed their escape even though he was the one so full of life and had so much trust in the justice system. So much so that he felt too much like a caricature rather than an actual character. I did really enjoy the return of Falcone, and even though he’s “retired” from the mob scene in Gotham, he’s still keeping up his contacts and can do a thing or two with a thing or two.
As for the other half of the episode dealing with reformed Penguin reconnecting with his father, I knew there was something amiss with that whole family. What I didn’t exactly expect was that it was his father’s gold digging wife and children who were after his fortune when he died and didn’t want to have to contend with this biological wildcard thrown into the mix to take a portion of their pot. Once again, Paul Reubens as Penguin’s father was a real treat, especially with some of his wacky outfits. Even though he never exactly acted like Pee-Wee, there was just something very Pee-Wee-esque about him coming downstairs in that extremely old fashioned nightgown and cap carrying a candlestick of all things. It was especially great to see his reaction to Penguin being a career criminal as surprise at his level of fame rather than severity of his crimes. There was just so much to unpack with this family dynamic in such a short amount of time, and while I also thought it was a bit on the nose to have his father die shortly before changing his will, but to also have him die from the poison that was intended for Penguin. It was all just a little bit too much. But it was entirely entertaining to watch, especially the seduction scene. This is likely the tipping point that sends Penguin back over the edge into crime, but I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.