For those of you out there who (somewhat understandably) have felt as though “Gotham” has done a little too much in some of its episodes, Monday night’s “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” was an exercise in simplicity. It was also an exercise in strangeness. To think it did this without even having Dr. Hugo Strange turn up in any form.
There were two principal narratives that nominated the majority of the screen time tonight, and while both were effective, they were also a little problematic.
Gordon behind bars – It was inevitable that Jim would somehow find his was out of Blackgate prison. The idea of him being locked up there forever was too depressing. While most the prison “beat up the cop” scenes were incredibly stale, seeing Bullock’s rescue mission and where it led to was the real pleasant surprise: The return of Carmine Falcone, who helped Gordon escape to help continue his personal mission. Lee Thompkins supposedly lost her baby and has moved south, and it’s his goal now to clear his name and win her back. In some ways, this was an easy route to write Morena Baccarin off the show for maternity leave, but we get it. The ending to this story was strong, but the beginning rather ho-hum.
Oswald with the Van Dahls – This was just … odd. We never quite believed Elijah was really his father, but as it turns out, he was genuine. Unfortunately, he didn’t count on Elijah’s new wife and stepchildren being so firmly invested in making sure nothing came between them and their inheritance. Elijah was a man who, despite awfully creepy, seemed to want to teach him about the good in the world. Unfortunately, his wife ensured that this did not happen, and also that she did not get left out of the will. Elijah was poisoned before he could rewrite the will, and therefore, the deed is done.
The biggest flaw with this storyline more so than anything else was the sole fact that there was a whole lot of it that could have been more effective if the Van Dahl family had been made a little more normal. Yes, we understand that you had Paul Reubens, but you already know he can play weird! Surely, this is all going to take the Penguin back down that dark path once more. Episode Grace: B-.
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