Gotham “Into the Woods” Review (Season 2 Episode 17)

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On the latest episode of “Gotham,” Gordon continued on his mission to clear his name, with decidedly unexpected results; the Penguin struggled to go on in light of losing his father so soon after finding him; Barbara got a new lease on life; and Bruce finally made some progress in getting to the bottom of his father’s secret work, in “Into the Woods.”

We began with Bruce and Selina pulling their latest heist, this time for a significant amount of money, taken from some anonymous low-level gangster that they managed to evade by jumping across the top of one building to another, a risk the man wasn’t willing to take, despite whoever he had to answer to for losing the money.

Meanwhile, Captain Barnes was convinced that Bullock knew more about Gordon’s escape from prison than he was letting on and was well aware of his current whereabouts. He was right, of course, but Bullock wasn’t about to rat out his friend, despite Barnes’ claim that he was “too smart to be so dumb.”

Back at his hideout, Gordon was knee-deep in research about the crime he was accused of, the murder of Officer Pinkney, convinced that it was all connected somehow to the bomb at the bus station. He tells an arriving Bullock that it all but had to involve an active cop, as the insider knowledge was too great to be anyone else.

Bullock tells him about Barnes’ suspicions and warns him that going out could mean the end of his search at any given time, so the lower profile he keeps, the better. Be that as it may, Gordon wanted to get access to the recording of the anonymous phone call that someone made informing Barnes of the Pinkney situation, thus setting Gordon up in the process, with Gordon correctly assuming that the real killer had made the call.

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To do so, Bullock takes a bullet by sleeping with the clerk with the key to the evidence room and slips it to Gordon on the sly, who hunts down the tape while Bullock keeps her entertained. Gordon gets the tape, but makes the mistake of stepping in to help a woman who is being mugged, which slows him down just enough to get caught by a beat cop walking the streets. With no choice, Gordon hits the man and runs for it, while the cop quickly calls it in.

As all this is going on, Oswald attends the funeral of the father he never knew he had until mere days ago, openly weeping as the other Van Dahls roll their eyes at him behind his back. The funeral is barely over when his stepmother Grace (Melinda Clarke) informs him that he’s going to need to move out sooner than later, as the family doesn’t feel comfortable with him in the house, given his dubious past.

Oswald begs her to let him stay, saying he’ll do anything, even to the point of waiting on her and her family hand and foot. Seizing an opportunity to both keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t try taking any legal action, as well as get some cheap labor off of him, Grace acquiesces, though her kids are dubious.

Back at Arkham, Hugo Strange (BD Wong) attends group therapy with Barbara (Erin Richards), who is very honest about her actions and why she did them, but thinks that she’s more sad than insane, really. If anything, she just comes to the conclusion that she was in desperate need of some sleep. Now there’s a line of defense that a jury would laugh right out of court. “Your honor, I was just really sleep deprived, so I figured I would just kill my parents, as there was nothing better to do.”

Astonishingly, Strange somewhat buys this line of crap, to the point that he even goes so far as to forgo giving her the same treatment he gave to Oswald and simply lets her go, which does not go over well with Miss Peabody, who’s convinced Barbara is crazier than a bedbug. Eventually, he decides to let her go entirely, ostensibly to “release her into the wild to observe her behavior.” Yeah, that’ll go well.

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Gordon listens to the tape of the caller, but it’s too distorted to identify the voice. However, there is a sound near the end that sounds like birds, but it’s hard to tell. Realizing he needs to clean up the tape so as to better hear what’s going on, he opts to take it to none other than Ed Nygma, who is taken aback at first, but agrees to do it once he realizes that Gordon is still completely clueless that it’s him that made the call.

Back at the Von Dahl Manor, Oswald suffers the indignity of having his mother called a slut and her cooking recipe terrible by Grace, while her horrible children make a mess at the dinner table and toss their food at him. Still under the influence of the “treatment,” Oswald just stands there and takes it, but it’s clear he is reaching his breaking point sooner than later.

Gordon tells Ed he suspects that Loeb is behind the Pinkney set-up, but that Ed suggests that he wouldn’t have gone himself but would have sent someone to do it for him. Ed cleans up the tape and the two listen to it together. The voice is no clearer, but the sound at the end is, which Gordon correctly identifies as not a bird, per se, but rather a cuckoo clock, with a little help from Ed, who gives him a clue as per usual in the form of a riddle.

Unfortunately for him, his own cuckoo clock goes off at that very moment, tipping off Gordon as to the real culprit of the crime and he pulls a gun on Ed, but Ed knew he was going to figure it out and has rigged Gordon’s chair to deliver an electric shock considerable enough to knock him out, which it does.

Gordon recovers, but not before Ed snags his gun and shoots at him as he manages to sneak out of there. Gordon sustains a shot to the leg, but nonetheless is able to get out of there and head to the nearest place he knows: Selina’s lair, where she and Bruce are holed up at the moment. After telling them he knows who framed him, but not who it is, Gordon promptly passes out.

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Oswald is fixing a drink for Grace when he stumbles upon the decanter of the liquid that killed his father, which she has unwisely held onto. Suspecting foul play after smelling the remaining liquid, he gives some to the dog, which keels over dead soon after. Now armed with the evidence he needs to prove Grace killed his father, Oswald contemplates his next move.

Unsure what to do, but knowing Gordon needs help, Bruce takes him back to Wayne Manor, entrusting his well-being to Alfred. Upon awakening, Gordon questions Alfred as to what’s going on with Bruce and why he was staying with Selina at the moment. Alfred says he should be more concerned about his own situation. Gordon says he knows Ed was behind it, but needs hard evidence to clear his name completely.

Realizing that Ed almost certainly killed Kris Kringle, Gordon comes up with a plan, but needs someone unrelated that could believably be against him, to the point of turning him in for it to work. He remembers Selina is there and talks her into setting a trap for Ed by going to the precinct and claiming she knows where Gordon is and will turn him in for a reward.

Selina says Gordon was shot and is wounded and laying low at her address, but was leaving to search for the Penguin when she last saw him. She tells Barnes that he said he knew “where the bodies are buried.” Ed overhears this and freaks out in private, before heading immediately to the woods to dig up Kringle and move her body elsewhere, lest Gordon find it.

Unfortunately for him, Gordon is already there and catches Ed in the act of digging her up. He pulls a gun on Gordon again- Gordon’s own gun, in fact- but no fool he, Gordon has called for back-up and the police overhear Ed confess to everything, including Kringle and Pinkney, lording it over Gordon that he got away with everything right under his nose. Ed is naturally arrested on the spot, and Gordon’s good name is finally cleared again.

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Back at the Von Dahl’s, Oswald once again serves Grace dinner, but this time she is suspiciously dining alone. Calling for the kids to no avail, she starts to get a little nervous, but that doesn’t stop her from chowing down on Oswald’s latest offering. After she deems it “overcooked,” he asks her to try a different piece of meat, which she declares to also be overdone.

Personally I thought he was going to poison her, but damned if Oswald didn’t go above and beyond the call of revenge and kill both of her kids and serve them to her. Yikes! I guess that treatment of Strange’s isn’t working too well after all. Boy, when Penguin goes for vengeance, he goes hard. Damn, that was truly a revenge best served…overdone, apparently.

Oswald, by now fully returned to his Penguin self, promptly stabs Grace to death and sits down to enjoy his meal as he toasts her dead body. I guess he’s got the house all to himself now. The question is, will anyone come looking for Grace and company? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Captain Barnes apologizes to Gordon, and says that he hoped that he really was innocent, but the evidence was too damning. Gordon says he was only doing his job, and if anything, not to be too hard on Bullock for his actions, which Barnes agrees to do, also declaring Gordon free and in the clear of any crimes. Barnes asks Gordon if he’ll be returning to work soon, but he says he has something he needs to do first.

Thinking he means find Dr. Thompkins, Barnes gives him the number where she can be reached, but Gordon is actually talking about finding out who really ordered Bruce’s parents to be killed. Barnes says he’ll give Gordon everything he has on the case, but only if he calls Dr. T. first, which Gordon agrees to do. However, when he finally brings himself to call her, he chokes and hangs up after hearing her voice.

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Alfred confronts Bruce and says he needs to give up all this madness about living on the streets and come home, as there’s been a development. But before he tells him, he needs to make a decision, does he want to keep up what he’s doing with Selina or keep her safe? Because what comes next could well get her killed, as it turns out Lucius Fox has finally fixed Bruce’s father’s computer.

Bruce naturally chooses to stay out at Wayne Manor and investigate his father’s work, telling Selina he’s done with the street life. She’s more than a little upset by this, not in the least because she senses Bruce is keeping something from her, but in actuality, he’s just trying to keep her safe, as per Alfred’s suggestion. She leaves in a huff, back to the streets and her lair to plot another heist, no doubt.

Ed is taken to Arkham Asylum, where he worries about his fate amongst the insane, as a former cop, while former inmate Barbara arrives at Gordon’s door for a visit, ready to pick things up where they left off. I’m guessing he’s not going to be sharing that feeling. Finally, Bruce turns on the computer down in his father’s own lair and he and Alfred wait to see what comes up, as the episode ends.

This was a decent enough episode, even if a lot of it was inevitable and, as such, a bit predictable. Well, save maybe Penguin serving Grace’s own flesh and blood to her for dinner- literally- I don’t think anyone could have seen that one coming! But we all knew Gordon’s name would eventually get cleared and Ed would be exposed sooner or later, and that Bruce would find his way back home at some point.

Granted, it happened a little bit sooner than I thought, but I don’t know that it was a bad thing, necessarily. Why prolong the inevitable, after all? I was genuinely surprised, however, that Strange opted to let Barbara leave Arkham so soon after waking up, which seems like a dubious decision at best, and one that, as Peabody noted, could reflect pretty poorly on him, especially if things go sideways- and they totally will, right?

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From the looks of things from next week’s preview, we’ll be seeing some more familiar old faces again soon as well, including the return of Galavan. Might The Joker also be around the corner, finally? If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll likely show up in the finale, but we won’t see much of him until next season. Ditto Fish, if they opt to bring her back. In the meantime, plan on seeing Penguin plot his return to mob boss status over the weeks to come, and probably the return of Mr. Freeze as well.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Gotham”? Did you enjoy seeing Penguin get his revenge and return to his old ways? (Maybe “enjoy” is too strong a word, lol.) Are you excited to see what’s on Bruce’s father’s computer? Will Bruce’s dismissal of Selina turn her to the dark side for real this time? How will Gordon handle the return of his crazy ex Barbara? Will Dr. T. run afoul of her again? What will become of Ed at Arkham? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!