Gotham – Rise of the Villains, Episode 18: “Pinewood”

Fox’s Gotham
Season 2, Episode 18: “Pinewood”
Directed by John Stephens
Written by Robert Hull & Megan Mostyn-Brown

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Into the Woods” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Azrael” – click here
IMG_0201Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) pulls his gun on Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) after she shows up at the door. But she’s been released from Arkham Ayslum by Director Hugo Strange (BD Wong). She’s terrified by who she was, now she says she’s cured, “totally sane,” better. She figures out he’s investigating the Wayne murders, the Lady (Michelle Gomez), trying to make herself useful to him. He throws her out, though. To the surprise of Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) just arriving with pizza and beer.
Over at Wayne Manor, Bruce (David Mazouz) has found out about a place called “Pinewood Farms.” While Alfred (Sean Pertwee) believe it sounds quaint, Lucius (Chris Chalk) advises those were used for black op programs at the company, a simple name hiding shady shit. And despite the butler’s worries, the kid is barrelling forward full steam on seeking out more answers.
IMG_0202“My Way” by Sid Vicious plays perfectly over Gordon looking for the Lady, going through the various hitmen of Gotham, dunking their heads in grimy toilets, kicking their asses through bars and alleyways. Finally, one guy tells him her possible location: a place called the Artemis.
In the pit of Indian Hill, Strange and Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) are using the cryonic formula of Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow) to try perfecting “reanimation.” They’ve also got other things to keep an eye on. Such as people poking around about a woman called Karen Jennings (Julia Taylor Ross), one of their early experiments, apparently. Looks horrific.
In the woods, Bruce and Alfred try getting into a small cabin. The young lad picks the lock to get them inside. The butler leads them in with his gun at the ready. There are scratches on the furniture, along the walls. This is where Strange’s experiment, Ms. Jennings, has been living. She’s interested to find out that it’s the young billionaire who’s come to see her, and she’s got one hell of a secret – the claw Director Strange and his experiments left her with after whatever they’ve done to her. Turns out Thomas came to visit her before he was killed. Karen’s reluctant to say anything, knowing the type of people involved in the darkness at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce begs her for any information she knows, anything to help him.
IMG_0203Jim goes to the Artemis, but can’t get in. Guess it helps that Barbara isn’t far behind. See, the Artemis is ladies only. She offers to help him out, talk to the Lady. He doesn’t have a whole lot of choice, either. I wonder how Barbara’s story will turn out in the end, where it’s headed. I like that she’s a wild card, yet there’s always the question if she truly loves Jim, or not. I think she does. Either way, “the notorious Barbara Kean” goes to talk with the Lady.
We discover Karen’s been in that cabin for ten years, since Pinewood. She explains a little about the program. She had a crippled arm from birth, an abusive father whom she accidentally killed, then wound up in Blackgate. All because “people are scared of different,” of course. Something we’ve seen far too much. Then Pinewood Farms turned her into a monster. Thomas Wayne shut the place down and paid for all those experimented on to go into hiding.
Soon, Barbara has a knife at Jim’s throat. Afterwards he’s tied to a chair, being delivered to the Lady. Is this a way for her to lure the Lady in, or is she actually betraying him as expected? Nevertheless, there are no answers about who hired the Lady for the Wayne murders. Just a nickname: the Philosopher. Luckily we see Barbara’s plan works out, she gets a jump on everybody, and Jim is baffled.
Karen takes Alfred and Bruce to the old Pinewood Farms hospital, a near derelict building. But there are other people watching; men with guns. The trio look around, as Karen recalls the horrible memories of her time there. They find nothing, not realising that Indian Hill is someplace underground. Suddenly, the men with guns show up, sending the three of them on the run. The girl stands her ground, using her claw to defend them. For a while, before the cops arrive.
IMG_0204Later, Jim gets a call from Bruce and rushes to the GCPD. Harvey is letting Alfred go, Bruce is let go, as well. However, Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) orders Karen put back in Blackgate. Uh oh; gonna get wild with that claw in there! The billionaire and his butler fill Gordon in about what they know, he lets them know about the Philosopher.
What’s their next move? They’ve got to start looking through all the scientists employed by Wayne Enterprises over the past couple decades. Wonder if they’ll come across Strange soon. In the meantime, Jim wants them to break Karen out of Blackgate. They’d better hurry up. Because Strange is ready to let Mr. Freeze out to play on a “field trip” for the first time in his new suit.
Gordon pulls a fast one on the prisoner transport to Blackgate. He, Alfred, and Bruce take the truck at gunpoint, and they’ve got Karen back in their care. They’re going to get her away from Gotham City, soon as possible. She tells the young Wayne that his father was especially good to her, like a “real father.” Yet he also started Pinewood, which ran out of control when he was manipulated by the Philosopher.
Along the road is a barricade. When Alfred brakes hard, they all find Victor Fries waiting for them with his new and improved suit. Gordon and Alfred both fire at him with handguns, a shotgun. Nothing takes the guy down. Karen urges Bruce to run, knowing it’s her Victor is after, and soon she’s frozen, smashed into pieces along the road. The young billionaire is devastated.
Not only that, Karen can never identify the Philosopher for them. One sliver of good news – Lucius found an old picture, containing a picture of Strange with his nickname next to him, the Philosopher. Wow, this is turning into a heated investigation.
What about all that’s happening in Indian Hill? Patient 44 has been reanimated fully. It’s none other than Theo Galavan (James Frain). This is gonna get crazy. He screams out “Azrael,” while snapping a man’s neck.
IMG_0205IMG_0207Another fantastic chapter getting closer to the end of Wrath of the Villains. Many intense plots playing out at once. Really love it.
“Azrael” is next and judging by the title I’m excited to see what they’ll do with the character.

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