TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 – Into the Woods | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 – Into the Woods

By Megan Wilde

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 - Into the Woods

“Into the Woods” brings us back from the short break with a bang! A lot happens. Jim is the most interesting he’s been in a while, Nygma reveals his true self, Bruce plays Robin Hood, Barbara is awake, and Penguin is BACK!

Jim is in hiding and is working with Harvey on trying to clear his name, and this search takes Jim out on the streets, in full “cat burglar” costume. Thanks to Harvey getting it on with a lady who has access to certain files, they obtain a tape with the recording of the phone call with the anonymous tip about Jim killing Galavan. The voice is disguised, but there are some noises in the background that they want to try to decode. So Jim takes it to Nygma at his apartment. Ed thinks he’s caught at first, but then realizes he’s not, offers Jim a seat and goes to make tea. I thought the tea would be poisoned, but when Ed starts talking about and defending psychopaths, Jim figures out that Ed is dangerous, and Ed is one step ahead of Jim and gets the drop on him with an electrified chair instead. Also, pro tip, Ed: When making an anonymous call to frame someone with your voice disguised, maybe you should call AFTER your cuckoo clock chimes.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 - Into the Woods

“That’s funny, you and the anonymous caller have the same cuckoo clock!”

So now it’s obvious that Ed is a villain. Jim gets away as he’s being dragged to Ed’s car, but Ed gets a non-lethal shot in as Jim ducks through a window. Thanks to Ed not being able to keep his mouth shut about his cleverness, he gives Jim a clue about Kristen Kringle while he’s chasing him, but Jim escapes again and goes to Selina and Bruce for help. Jim gets Selina to help him set up Nygma to reveal himself to the GCPD. Because of what he overhears Selina say at the PD, Ed goes to Kristen’s grave in the frozen woods and starts digging her up. (But according to my source in the Northeast, it’s near impossible to dig in frozen ground, so that’s not very realistic. But then, half of this show isn’t, so what’s one more thing?) Nygma ends up surrounded and is taken to Arkham at the end, clearing Jim.

And so Edward Nygma is caught and most likely has completed his transformation into The Riddler. It was an interesting arc for sure, and the longest to develop on the show. They really gave this one time to grow, instead of a quick transformation in an episode or two, and it certainly feels well earned. Also, in this episode we see more of his dual personalities in the mirror and how they fight, with a cool and interesting effect, one I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future. But for now he is in Arkham, looking rather timid and scared. It’s intriguing to think what will happen if Strange gets hold of him.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 - Into the Woods

Jim, why so serious?

But while Nygma’s story was fully developed, this arc of Jim’s story is over too quickly. That’s not to say he’s not interesting in this episode, because he is — he’s sneaking around and almost becoming a vigilante — but I would have liked to see a bit more of him on the run; it seems awfully neat and convenient that that particular story wrapped up so quickly. A more extended time on the lam would have been interesting for his character, serving to solidify his conviction that he wants to remain on the good side of the law and clean up Gotham.

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Meanwhile, Bruce is on the streets with Selina still, and they seem to be getting along pretty well. She’s teaching him to steal: They steal a bag of money from a mob-looking guy who chases them, and they both jump from one roof to another. Bruce makes the jump without hesitation, landing safely, and it’s another glimpse into his future activities. He turns and starts throwing the money off the roof because he doesn’t want to actually steal, which pisses off Selina. (But he kept enough for pizza, Selina!) Also in here, Selina comes home to Bruce cooking pasta, and he tells her he sewed up a hole that had developed in her jacket. She looks at it, and the stitching is totally an homage to Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic Catwoman costume! Very cool. Moments like this make this show fun.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 - Into the Woods

Alfred disapproves.

When Jim comes to them for help, after he gets away from Ed, Bruce takes him to Wayne Manor. Alfred gives Jim a piece of his mind about leaving Bruce alone with Matches Malone, after which encounter Bruce decided to leave home. Alfred tells Bruce that Lucius Fox fixed his father’s computer, so of course Bruce decides to stay, and he wants to show Selina the secret room of his father’s. Alfred forbids him, saying that she has been nothing but loyal to him and has been a good friend, and he can’t allow Bruce to put her in danger by letting her know about whatever his father was trying to figure out or hide. Bruce understands, and tells Selina he’s not going back with her. She thinks he looks down on her as street trash, but he can’t tell her that he’s doing it because he cares about her and wants to protect her, and it’s sad. I don’t like when those two are on the outs; they make each other better.

We also get a few scenes with Barbara, Strange and Peabody, which are always creepy fun. Barbara wakes up and has group therapy with other inmates, plus Professor Strange and Miss Peabody. Peabody thinks her sane, contrite act is just an act, but Strange says he’s not sure, and he sends her out into the city to see what she’ll do, sort of a wild card. And what she does is go visit Jim. Dun dun DUNNN! I am interested to see where they’re going with her now; I liked crazy Barbara better than earnest Barbara, but I’m not sure how excited I am to see her back. Hopefully they’ll make her fun, at least.

TV REVIEW: Gotham Season 2, Episode 17 - Into the Woods

He just misses his dad.

And poor Oswald! He buries his father and is weeping, while his new family are all like “See ya; get out.” He is reduced to begging, and it is very sad to see him like that. Grace has the idea that if they and let him stay, they can have free household help, and he’s just happy to be able to stay so he agrees. They are awful to him, though, calling his mother a slut and scoffing at her goulash recipe, Grace’s kids throwing rolls and food at him after dinner; poor Oswald just tries to get them to stop. There’s none of the Penguin fire yet, though I thought that might bring it back. But then he discovers a decanter of sherry hidden in a cupboard in a towel. He sniffs it and apparently it smells awful; he decides to give the dog a sample, then discovers that it is poison and quickly puts two and two together, realizing that Grace poisoned his father. We see the old Penguin look come back, and sure enough when we see him again, he’s got his old spiky hairdo (Grace even commenting on it! Ha!) and a look of evil glee on his face as HE FEEDS GRACE’S CHILDREN TO HER!!! This scene is straight out of Titus Andronicus, and it is pretty awesome, if brutal. Grace is at first oblivious, commenting that the meat is overcooked, prompting Penguin to urge her to try the other flank, as it’s more tender. He confronts her about the poison, she denies it and calls for her kids, who are nowhere to be seen, and Penguin tells her they can’t hear her and that he thought Sasha was more tender. As the fact that she just ATE HER CHILDREN sinks in, Penguin brutally cuts her throat. I do believe he’s worse than he’s ever been, which would give credence to the theories that Strange is running some sort of supervillain factory. I like it when this show is dark, but this might be a bridge too far; cannibalism is perhaps too much. I am glad that Penguin is back, though, and I’m excited to see whether he’s his old self, or even more extreme. Robin Lord Taylor is, as always, excellent in all of Penguin’s/Oswald’s iterations, and I hope the writers let him loose.

FBI SCORE: 8.5 out of 10. “Into the Woods” was a packed episode with some very good surprises and payoffs. However, it solved Jim’s story a little too neatly and quickly. But the excitement and brutality of Penguin’s return, plus another awesomely creepy appearance by Strange and Peabody, earn it a high score.


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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