TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 – Prisoners | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 – Prisoners

By Megan Wilde

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners

This week, there are a few deaths — a couple real, one faked. “Prisoners” has a lot going on, furthering two main story lines: Jim Gordon in prison, and Oswald (as he prefers to be called now) and his newfound family. It’s a mostly well-paced, tight episode, though some of the scenes with Jim do slow things down a little.

We see Jim in prison, getting used to the routine of his days. It doesn’t actually seem all that bad, where he is — until he’s told he’s being moved to F Block, or “World’s End”, which is where a lot of the criminals he’s arrested are. He does see a fair amount of trouble in there, getting beaten up by an inmate — we’ll call him Key — whose brother Jim killed, which leads to a riot of sorts, with another inmate, Puck, standing up for Jim. It turns out that Jim saved Puck’s sister, so Puck thinks he’s a hero; Jim disagrees. One of the guards takes to Jim and quietly helps him, warning him when he will be in danger and such, since the warden has made clear his dislike of Jim and has given orders for him to be killed. That guard is all right.

Harvey visits Jim, and when he asks about Lee, Harvey is visibly shaken as he tells Jim of the first death in the episode: Lee miscarried, so the baby has died. The news of course upsets Jim, but I was a little confused by his reaction after he leaves Harvey. I would have expected such news to have some effect, either him maybe having a death wish and putting himself in harm’s way, or taking out his anger and frustration on other inmates, but it doesn’t really seem to drive anything with him, which was surprising. Puck later gets beaten to within an inch of his life for standing up for Jim, and that seems to affect him more than his unborn child’s death.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners


After Harvey delivers the bad news, desperate to help Jim, he goes to see Falcone (!). And apparently Falcone comes through, because before long we get the second death of the episode: Jim! But not really — this is the fake one. At movie night, Key is about to knife Jim, but another one — Peele — steps in and starts stabbing him repeatedly. Key yells that Jim is his, and Peele yells at Jim, as he’s stabbing him: “You’re dead! You understand? You’re dead!” A pool of blood spreads, and his pulse is checked by the friendly guard, who tells the warden to get a body bag. Then, commercial! But, no, it’s just a gotcha — when we come back, they are taking the body bag to an ambulance when Jim sits up inside the bag, the one guard not in on the plan is knocked out by Harvey, and Harvey reveals that it was a retractable knife and fake blood. After an annoying protest by Jim — for which Harvey gives him a verbal smackdown, cementing my love for him — Harvey and the guard get him to leave. But not before they go back to get Puck out of the infirmary and the prison, and the good guard has Jim punch him so it looks like he was overpowered.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners

Jim makes a choice.

And to wrap up Jim’s story, he’s taken to the outskirts of town, where they meet up with Falcone, who gives him the choice of leaving the country or going back to Gotham in a safe place. Three guesses which he chooses. He turns to ask Puck what he thinks of his decision, and finds that Puck is dead. Poor Puck, we hardly knew ye. This leaves Jim outside the law and in hiding in Gotham, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that. He does want to clear his name so he can go find Lee, but being outside the law and seeing the things he’s probably going to see will pose some interesting dilemmas for the character, one would hope.

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In Oswald’s story, he’s getting to know his father more, and we see that things with this family are not as happy as they seem. And we would expect nothing less — it’s why we love this show. Elijah tells Oswald that he is taking medications for his heart condition — he has a hole in his heart. We also learn that his wife, Grace, and her children seem to have a plan to get rid of Elijah, although it’s not an immediate plan, apparently, because they try to keep him alive, for the most part (though she does replace his heart pills with mints — so she wants to kill him but just reeeeallly slowly?). And we learn that the kids are not Elijah’s, but Grace’s, and that she was a waitress when they met. I have to wonder if Elijah is truly taken in by them. I get the feeling that he knows something shady is going on with them and maybe he doesn’t entirely trust them but is biding his time, but we don’t get a chance to see anything like that play out.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners

She’s obviously up to no good.

So, much of the story here involves Grace and her kids trying to get information on Oswald and then trying to get close to him to see what he’s up to. Grace eavesdrops while Oswald tells Elijah that he used to be bad, that he’s done bad things. Elijah says that anything he did before they met doesn’t matter — it’s all very sweet, actually, even though you know disaster must be coming. Penguin just seems so lost right now, and he so badly wants a family and to belong, and Elijah is very accepting of him — to the point of being proud when Grace’s son produces a newspaper article about the Penguin and the murders he’s committed. Elijah is all “Son, you sell yourself  short, you’re a kingpin! You’re famous!” I love it. And Robin Lord Taylor is just so great. You totally see the vulnerability and longing to belong. I really feel like he has the best time playing Penguin, in all his guises.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners

Pee Wee’s on his way out, son.

After that, the daughter tries to seduce Oswald into telling her what he has planned for “the old man,” not realizing that Oswald just wants a family. So when that fails and Elijah has a heart episode and is told his condition is getting worse and he might not have much time, he says he wants to see his lawyer so he can add Oswald into his will. At that, Grace and the kids decide they must take action and poison Oswald. But this backfires, since Elijah drinks the glass with poison intended for Oswald, and after he tells Oswald he wants him to inherit it all and live in the house, he dies. And I swear I hear echoes of Amilyn’s death in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 - Prisoners

Penguin’s all alone again.

This is so sad, since Oswald had just found his father and a sense of belonging, but it also sets up some interesting possibilities for the character. My hope is that this will spark the dark, violent tendencies that Elijah revealed runs in the family and we will see a new Penguin emerge. As always, his is one of the more interesting stories on this show, so while this development does make me sad for him, I eagerly await seeing where it leads for the character. I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of what was lurking under Elijah’s exterior, though, because it did seem like there was more to him than what we were seeing. Perhaps that will come in flashbacks or with Oswald looking around the house and finding who knows what. Either way, I feel like there’s probably a lot more to this story yet to come.

FBI SCORE: 8.5 out of 10. “Prisoners” features some big developments, and it moves things along for Jim and Oswald. It’s a pretty well-paced episode, though some of the character reactions and situations don’t make sense to me, so I am left confused about a few things.

Megan Wilde

I'm an editor, wife and mom of two. I love to read and watch good TV and good (OK, and bad) movies. I like pop culture, sci-fi, zombies, comics, Neil Gaiman, Miyazaki movies, Star Wars, '80s nostalgia and all things geeky.

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