Gotham “Pinewood” Review (Season 2 Episode 18)

Gotham 17

On the latest episode of “Gotham,” Bruce got one step closer to the truth of what his father was up to, with an assist from Gordon, while Hugo Strange actively tried to stop them, in “Pinewood,” which also saw the return of several familiar faces and a nifty, albeit short-lived, new one with quite the appendage- more on that later.

We picked up where we left off, with Barbara (Erin Richards) showing up at Jim Gordon’s apartment, begging to be let in. Gordon did so, begrudgingly, but wasn’t above doing so while he held her at gunpoint. After leveling an apology for her actions and insisting that she had changed and was all better now- so much so that they had let her out of Arkham, in fact- Gordon promptly sent her packing.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce, Alfred and Lucius took their first look at what was on Bruce’s dad’s computer, but were disappointed to find that his files were encrypted, which would require more work decoding on Fox’s end. However, there was one clue lurking on his calendar: Wayne had a meeting scheduled with someone named Karen Jennings in regards to Pinewood Farms. Bruce looks up her address and they immediately head there, despite Alfred’s reservations, while Fox gets to work on the files.

Meanwhile, Gordon continues his own quest to find Bruce’s parent’s murderers, seeking to find The Lady (Michelle Gomez, “Doctor Who”), the woman allegedly in charge of dispatching all the hit men in Gotham. After Gordon almost single-handedly near took out her entire roster, she had been shamed out of the business and had gone underground as a result.

Gotham 6

So, naturally, Gordon took to going around and beating the truth out of as many of her associates as he could find until someone spilled the beans on her current location. After a considerable amount of beating, including putting one poor soul’s head in a toilet (!), he finally got somewhere, as someone directed him to a club called Artemis, named, appropriately enough, after the Greek goddess of the hunt and protector of women.

As it turned out, it was aptly-named, as it was a women-only club that was heavily guarded and that Gordon couldn’t access on his own. Enter Barbara once again, who naturally, had followed- re: stalked- Gordon to the location and offered up her services. Gordon wasn’t thrilled, but allows it, though it doesn’t stop him from trying to get in through the service entrance on his own, not trusting Barbara as far as he can throw her (off a church tower).

Strange gets word from Peabody that someone is actively looking for Karen Jennings, and we discover that she was his first “experiment”- and a failed one at that. Skeptical that whoever it is will be able to find her, he isn’t too stressed about it- for now- but tells her to keep an eye on the situation.

Bruce and Alfred arrive at the address he found and, much to Alfred’s chagrin, he sees what Bruce has learned in his short time on the streets- how to break into someone’s house by picking their lock. Bruce discovers a woman inside, who lashes out at Alfred, but who Bruce stops from shooting, noticing that she has an odd deformity: a chicken-like claw for a hand.

Gotham 18

This turns out to be Karen (Julia Taylor Ross, “Saving Hope”), who is well aware of who Bruce is when he drops his name. She tells him to stay away from her and if he knows what’s good for him, he’d stop looking into this. Bruce naturally refuses to leave without an explanation, so Karen tells him that she was formerly a resident of Blackgate Penitentiary, where she was imprisoned for killing her abusive father by accident- and also where Gordon was once held.

As Karen had a deformed arm, she was approached by some men who told her they could potentially help heal her, but that the treatment was experimental and strictly voluntary. Seeing herself as someone with nothing left to lose, she volunteers and is taken to the Pinewood Bioengineering Farm, where doctors did what they did to her.

Bruce’s father, who founded the division to help people with such deformities and the like with the best of intentions, found out what had happened to her and shut it down, offering to help her and others who had gone through this “experimental process” by setting them up with some money and a place to live, hence how she’d gotten out of that situation.

Bruce says his father had helped her, so she should help him by leading him to Pinewood, which she agrees to do, despite being dubious they’ll find anything. She mentions that the people in charge had gone behind Bruce’s father’s back and started up again elsewhere, but she has no idea of where that new location might be. (Cough…Arkham…cough.)

Gotham 7

Barbara finds The Lady and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: a chance to restore her reputation by helping her to capture Gordon once and for all. Shortly thereafter, the guard catches him trying to sneak in the service entrance and Gordon is about to disarm her when Barbara blindsides him with a knife and captures him.

Gordon is tied to a chair and presented to The Lady, as Barbara explains why Gordon is really there. The Lady says that she doesn’t even know the person who hired her to send a hitman after Bruce’s parents, as they only communicated via the telephone and he only went by a nickname: The Philosopher, so Gordon had come her on a fool’s errand- and was going to pay the price for what he did to her good name.

Gordon’s mission accomplished, Barbara promptly takes out The Lady and her henchman, setting Gordon free. He’s unimpressed by her psycho tactics and says that she’s wasting her time, anyway, as he will never forgive her for trying to kill Dr. Thompkins. She thinks part of him still cares for her or he would have let her die at the church that day, but Gordon dismisses her after getting a call from Bruce.

Bruce and company arrive at Pinewood, where we see someone was waiting for him, just in case someone came poking around. They follow them in, as Bruce sees that, as Karen predicted, the place is abandoned and empty, with very little left behind. Karen is more than a little overwhelmed to be back and when the men come after them, she strikes out with her claw hand and kills one of them, while Alfred takes out another. They go to leave, but are spotted by security, who call the cops, and all three are arrested coming out of the building.

Gotham 3

Gordon meets them all at the station, where Bruce and Alfred are let go, after Bruce tells Barnes what they were up to, but Karen is arrested for murder and ordered to be sent back to Blackgate. Gordon tells Bruce what he discovered about The Philosopher, and Bruce tells Gordon that Karen can identify the men who operated on her by their faces but doesn’t know their names.

Gordon sets to getting together a list of doctors with a record to show to her, but points out that she’ll never survive Blackgate- so they are going to need to intercept her on the way. As Gordon and company plan a way to do that, Strange gets word of these developments and decides to send Mr. Freeze after Karen to kill her before she even reaches Blackgate.

As the transport truck carrying Karen heads there, the driver spots a bunch of money in the street and pulls over to investigate. While she does so, Gordon knocks out the other guard with her and rescues Karen. He then tells the driver she and the guard can keep the money if they keep quiet about what happened, save in the most minimal of details. She agrees and Gordon and Alfred take off in the truck, while Bruce gets into the back with Karen.

Bruce tells her he’s going to help set her up elsewhere, just like his father did, and she thanks him. He tells her about The Philosopher and she recognizes the name. Gordon tells her they’re in the process of putting together some pictures for her to look at, and will be in touch. At that moment, though, someone causes Alfred to skid and crash the truck and they have to get out.

Gotham 19

It’s Mr. Freeze, of course, and Gordon and Alfred open fire on him, but he’s wearing a protective metal suit that is able to deflect their bullets. Gordon recognizes him as Victor and tries to plead with him, but Karen runs out and sacrifices herself to let them get away. Mr. Freeze does what he does best and freezes her, then smashes her body into a million pieces, killing her instantly. He then drops an ice bomb on the ground and takes off, as Bruce and the rest scramble for safety.

Barbara shows up at Butch’s place, and Tabitha takes her in, much to Butch’s surprise, who thought she was at Arkham still, while Bruce finds Karen’s music box that his father gave to her and blames himself for her death. Alfred says if this is the path he wants to go down, she won’t be the only one to die, so he needs to prepare himself for that or quit while he’s ahead.

Gordon frets about his actions getting out, figuring that his days at the GCPD are numbered if he keeps this sort of thing up. Lucius Fox comes in, saying he might have found something. It’s a photo of Bruce’s father with a group of men that seems to be his Pinewood science team. The photo listing includes the men’s names and additionally, their nicknames on the team- including one named “The Philosopher”: none other than Hugo Strange.

Back at Arkham, Peabody reports back that the people looking for Pinewood were none other than Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon and that they are obviously working together. Strange finds this quite interesting, but is interrupted by the news that “Patient 44” has woken up and is active. It seems that Strange has long since been trying to revive people from the dead, with little success- until now.

Gotham 4

We, however, know “Patient 44” by a different name: Theo Galavan (James Frain). Galavan takes out a bunch of guards, as Strange stands idly by, letting it happen as he marvels at his success. Galavan starts rambling about his sister and saying one name in particular over and over: Azrael. I so called this ages ago, and my loyal readers know this. Yes!

I think it’s safe to say that Galavan will only be the first to be revived- count on Jerome to return sooner than later, likely this time as The Joker. As the process clearly makes whoever is brought back a little “different”- sometimes, as they say, “sometimes dead is better”– count on all who return to be even more off than they already were to boot. Even though I saw it coming, I am very happy it happened sooner than later, as I was beginning to suspect that we wouldn’t get there until next season.

More power to all concerned for not dragging things out- it’s safe to say that things on “Gotham” will be back to full-on bonkers in no time, not that they weren’t still pretty crazy already. After all, over the last few episodes alone, we’ve had a woman with a chicken claw for a hand, cannibalism, a “Clockwork Orange”-style “treatment” for patients in a mental institution, and Pee-Wee Herman.

Not too shabby, to be sure, but I was starting to miss the go-for-broke other mode of the show, so I say bring that back ASAP, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s this show in batsh*t crazy mode, let me tell you. I think it’s safe to say that’s the direction we’ll be heading in soon enough. Can’t wait to see the “birth”- or perhaps “rebirth” is more accurate- of the villains we all know and love in earnest.

Gotham 5

What did you think of the latest episode of “Gotham”? Are you as excited as I am for the direction this all seems to be headed in? What do you think will happen next? Who will be revived next? Will Bruce get to Strange before it’s too late? Are there more “failed experiments” out there? What do you think Azrael will get up to? Let me know what you thought down below, and see you next week!