Season 2, Episode 16: “Prisoners”
Directed by Scott White
Written by Danny Cannon
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Mad Grey Dawn” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Into the Woods” – click here
Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is waking up to his first days in Blackgate Penitentiary. One day blends into the next. He tries doing all he can to keep on surviving. Isn’t easy. Not exactly the place for a member of the GCPD.
Warden Carlson Grey (Ned Bellamy) comes to see Jim. A few weeks in, there’s been no trouble. Seems that Jim is headed to “World‘s End” – the shitty F-Wing in general population. For this long he’s been in protective custody. Might be nasty when he’s put in there with people he himself has arrested.
So, how does the detective plan on making it through in one piece? Gonna need a little help, there’s no other way. Not with a Warden who’s friends with former Commissioner Loeb.
In fancier places elsewhere in Gotham, Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) dines with his new family, the Van Dahls – his father Elijah (Paul Reubens), stepmother Grace (Melinda Clarke), their children Sasha (Kaley Ronayne) and Charles (Justin Mark). Everything is just too good to be true. Oz is the only “blood relative” left to Elijah, and it looks as if the stepchildren aren’t thrilled about that, either.
At the PD, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is worried sick about his partner in jail. He brings his worries to Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), whose response is lacklustre, to say the least. We know why, obviously. However, Dt. Bullock won’t be stopping the fight for his friend any time soon.
Elijah tells Oswald of his own father and mother, the “temptations of the city,” Gertrude. He apologises for abandoning them both. Meanwhile, new wife Grace is keeping an eye on things, surely not wanting to let her husband’s fortune slip away to a long lost son. Wonder if she’s going to get devious with poor Penguin, she’s already trying to put his father into an early grave switching out his heart medication.
In Blackgate, Jim watches the daily routine of the other criminals, the guards, so on. He knows something fishy is going on. And that’s good, ’cause the Warden is ordering someone kill him before the week’s out. Jim gets a visit from Harvey, who advises his buddy try keeping a low profile, not to get in trouble. He asks about Lee. Harvey has to tell him that she “lost the baby” – assuming a miscarriage. What a thing to have to hear from somebody while he’s doing time.
Later, Weaver (Christian Frazier) attacks Jim, but a young prisoner named Puck Davies (Peter Mark Kendall) sticks up for him, only to get beat down, too. The whole thing’s broken up soon. Although it looks like maybe our detective could have a friend behind those walls after all.
Oswald finds his father sleepwalking during the night. He helps Elijah back to bed again. Seems his dad has a hole in his heart, takes a good deal of medication. Both of them get to talking about their personal “demons,” of which they have plenty. The son tells his father of his criminal past, or, well, a bit of it, anyway. Regardless, his father accepts him.
After getting stitched up, Jim has a chat with Puck in the infirmary, though he asks the young guy to stay away. He owes a personal debt because of his own family, they were helped by Dt. Gordon. Hopefully he won’t get hurt or killed trying to help Jim at any point. Because violence follows the detective everywhere he goes.
Grace and her kids go to Elijah with a newspaper ad about Oswald, not knowing he’s already told his father about his past. The father finds out of his Penguin moniker. Still, he believes his boy has changed, no longer the harsh criminal kingpin of the newspaper headlines. Back to the drawing board for stepmom and the stepchildren.
A guard gives Jim a heads up that Weaver is being released from the hole early. Surely a plot by the Warden, to get things sewn up faster. Puck’s already being beaten brutally. Guards hold him back while others take their time rushing to the kid’s aid. Playing by some sketchy rules. Blackgate, like Gotham, is a cesspool. In the meantime on the outside, Harvey goes out looking for help trying to get Jim out of that place. And who does he go see? Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Oh, lord.
At home, Elijah has an attack, and an ambulance is called. The doc doesn’t have much good news, whatsoever. He tells Osawld that Elijah doesn’t have much longer to live. Therefore, the father better get his affairs in order; he doesn’t think it’s a big deal, he also has no idea that Grace and the kids are trying to kill him on their own.
Blackgate has a movie night, which means people are in there together, the lights are off. Could be the perfect time for some real nasty shit to go down, scores to be settled, that kind of thing. Jim is ushered into a specific seat by the guards. Eyes are watching him at all times. Weaver jumps up, then a scuffle starts. Moments later Dt. Gordon is bleeding out all over the floor. He’s carted away in a body bag. After that he pops free, Harvey is waiting outside with an ambulance: all a fake to free him, so they can start finding the culprit behind Jim’s arrest. Before they go, Jim goes back for his friend Puck.
“Whether you like it or not, you‘re a hero.”
We find out later that Elijah had a violent father, his family’s afflicted with a bit of madness. Probably where Oswald gets his predilections. So, the dying father tells his son to try fighting the darkness in him rather than give into it as did his own father. After that they toast, Elijah drinks. Except the liquor was meant for the younger of the two, it’s been poisoned by Grace, of course. Again, Oz is left alone. Now he’s an orphan all the way.
Jim and Harvey stop for a chat with Don Falcone just outside the city. The detective thanks the mobster. The Don can keep him safe in Gotham instead of him having to leave and hide elsewhere. Jim needs to clear his name before he does anything else first.
Great episode, love that we got to see a bit of Gordon behind bars. An interesting little chapter in this season. “Into the Woods” is our next slice.