Family Matters | Gotham “Prisoners” Review

Gotham has been operating at quite a hefty pace, and we get two very specific plotlines which have huge implications in the future. “Prisoners” dove into family matters for both Penguin and Jim Gordon.

Taking the word literally, we get to see how Jim is dealing with his new life in Blackgate, and it isn’t going so hot. The Warden has it out for him since he was friends with former Commissioner Loeb. So, Loeb decides to put him in gen pop and puts a hit out on him. It’s kind of strange that the guards and Loeb would be so outwardly aggressive in pursuing his death and even going as far as to put a hit out on him. But, not all are bad at Blackgate.

Jim gets help from one of the guards; although he doesn’t outwardly stop what is happening, he certainly helps Jim. One of the prisoners does his best to protect and defend Jim. It seems like such a strange occurrence in a place such as Blackgate. But, Puck actually has Jim to thank for saving his sister who was abducted months prior. For that he says, Jim is a true hero. Puck is the embodiment of Jim’s inner hope of not being in Blackgate forever, and certainly not dying there. It’s definitely a relief seeing some positivity within Gotham, even if it is within the gates of Blackgate.

GOTHAM: Ben McKenzie (C) and Donal Logue (R) in the “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX.   ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

GOTHAM: Ben McKenzie (C) and Donal Logue (R) in the “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Unfortunately, the doom of Gotham rears its ugly head after a meeting with Bullock. Lee hasn’t visited in awhile, and we learn that she lost the baby and that she moved away. As if things couldn’t be going any worse for Jim. However, there is a faint glimmer of hope, and it comes in the form of a former Gotham City mob boss, Don Falcone.

Bullock gets some help from Don Falcone in breaking out Jim, but Jim won’t go without Puck. After getting a brutal beating, Puck is barely alive in the infirmary. When Jim and the guard go to get Puck, they are confronted by the warden but get some backup from an undercover Bullock. And they are free, kind of. Falcone says he can arrange for a discreet place in Gotham for Jim, or one out of the country. Of course, Jim chooses Gotham. Sadly Puck dies while this is happening, which is doubly sad since Jim just found out he lost his baby.

Jim is in quite the spot since he is now a fugitive. I hope we get to see some storylines of Harvey Dent develop because that would be a fantastic character to further evolve to round out the show.

GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor in the “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

GOTHAM: Robin Lord Taylor in the “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

The other prisoner is Oswald Cobblepot. He is not only a prisoner of his own thoughts, since he was a lab rat for Professor Strange, but he is also a prisoner within his new creepy household. It’s incredibly sad knowing that Oswald will never get the opportunity to be truly happy in the end. The second he begins to get close to his father, even going as far as getting fitted suits together, his father’s illness gets much worse. But we discover that it is the rest of the family that is trying to accelerate his death, presumably to gain from the inheritance. Kaley Ronayne who plays Sasha (Oswald’s new stepsister) goes as far as trying to seduce Oswald and bring him on their side, but he hilariously is having none of it.  

In his final scene, Oswald’s father, Elijah, is talking with Oswald. He’s supposed to avoid alcohol because of his illness. Instead he says, “To hell with my health,” and drinks the glass that was supposed to be for Oswald. The rest of the family put some type of poison/acid in the alcohol, and within minutes, Elijah is dead.

Although Oswald has a new found inner good that was forced out by Strange, this could very well be the tipping point that brings him back to being the old Oswald. Once he finds out that this was a hit, because I’m quite sure he will in short time, it will be glorious fun watching the punishment he doles out. Also, assuming Elijah was able to straighten out his will, Oswald would get absolutely everything! The King of Gotham could have a sudden resurgence.

Editor's Rating

Overall 100%
This episode was quite a downer in the emotional sense. Lee lost her baby and moved out of Gotham, Puck died, and Penguin’s father was murdered. Gotham is always an intensely emotional show, but not usually this gut-punching. It’s extremely hard to look for something wrong in this episode, and I honestly can’t find a single section of it that bothered me/pulled me out of the rollercoaster of emotions.
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"Worlds Finest" -- Kara (Melissa Benoist, left) gains a new ally when the lightning-fast superhero The Flash (Grant Gustin, right) suddenly appears from an alternate universe and helps Kara battle Siobhan, aka Silver Banshee, and Livewire in exchange for her help in finding a way to return him home, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.  Photo: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.
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Joey Lampe

Joey Lampe

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  • reader

    Thanks for a review worth reading all in context. I like how you picked up on the veiled messages with the symbolism and metaphors that connected characters, traits, introspection and trajectories, especially in Jim’s case. I was looking forward to this episode, as grim and wrenching as the focus would be, because I’m always eager to see Ben McKenzie show his acting chops. It’s not that he doesn’t own the action scenes and the multi-faceted detective aspects, but he has so few opportunities to shine in a personal way with emotional range and depth. Being freed from the procedural elements and having this kind of emotional journey is where he’s really been able to shine in other roles. Mute the audio and his body language, eyes and expressions say it all. Great stuff.

    I’m also a big fan of certain relationships, such as Jim and Harvey and how that’s evolved. Aspects of that played out also with Jim and Puck and Jim and the guard. I was always fascinated with the Jim and Falcone relationship and Ben McKenzie and John Doman were always terrific together. I wanted more scenes with them connecting. The missing link was Jim and Lee, which means scenes most likely weren’t filmed out of sequence before Morena Baccarin started maternity leave.

    With just the 2 stories, thankfully, there were far fewer random distractions and holes. That made it all work so much better. The Penguin plot with the bizarre family was like dark comedy in quasi-relief, but my focus was on getting back to Jim’s story and the pieces fitting together. The actors, led by Ben McKenzie, were excellent. With the pacing where it should be and not rushed or forced, it was much easier to appreciate the subtle details. Plenty of gems from Ben McKenzie there right from the start with the intro to Blackgate and his daily rhythm. No words necessary.