‘Gotham’ Season 2 Episode 17 Recap and Review: Into the Woods

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Gotham Season 2 Episode 17 Cory Michael Smith and Ben McKenzie

Cory Michael Smith and Ben McKenzie in ‘Gotham’ (Photo © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co)

Hi, Ed,” says Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) hoping that his friend will help him figure out who it was on the GCPD who framed him for murder, still unaware that it was Ed all along in episode 17 of season 2 of FOX’s gritty comic-book inspired crime thriller series, Gotham.

As the episode begins, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina (Camren Bicondova) are being chased up on the rooftops after stealing some money from a third rate thug. Selina gets her jacket arm caught on something during the chase and rips it free but drops the bag full of money and makes a fast dash to jump across to the other rooftop. Bruce goes back for the bag, despite Selina yelling at him to leave it, and is able to grab it and also jump to the other rooftop leaving the overweight, exasperated thief out of breath and furious. Bruce, who has obviously gotten much faster and more athletic, just smiles and tells the thug he’s a terrible thief to let two kids steal from him. He dumps his share of the money to the ground. Selina gets upset with Bruce for doing it, but he reminds her that he’s not following her and living on the streets to steal but to understand criminals. “It’s research,” he says. Selina tells Bruce this whole research thing is getting old – clearly she wants him to become her partner in crime and on the streets – and walks off in a huff to which Bruce turns to her and says, “I kept enough for burgers.”

Meanwhile, the manhunt is on for Jim Gordon with Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) confronting Bullock (Donal Logue) trying to get him to tell him where Jim is. Harvey plays it off saying he doesn’t know, but Barnes is convinced Bullock knows more than he’s saying. The two men argue and Barnes threatens Bullock, telling him that he and the Captain owe it to the citizens of Gotham to be impartial to Jim’s plight of clearing his name and bring him in. Harvey replies, “The citizens of Gotham can eat my socks,” as he leaves the police station.

At Harvey’s place, he and Jim are going over the case and realize that only someone at the GCPD could have set up Jim because whoever it was knew too many details and the inner workings of the cases. Jim remembers that IA records all tips that come in, so Harvey reaches out to a lady friend he has in IA and after lifting her keys, Gordon is able to get his hands on the tape in hopes it will lead to the identity of the person who framed him for the policeman’s murder. While walking down a dark alley Jim comes across a woman yelling for help while two men try to mug her. Being the good guy that he is, Jim can’t just walk on. He fights off the two would-be muggers while the woman runs off screaming. Jim is about to go on his way when a cop shows up and tries to arrest Jim, first mistaking him for one of the muggers and then realizing he’s just found Gordon. Jim uses his fighting skills and disarms the officer. “Don’t kill me,” yells the cop. Jim replies, “I’m innocent,” and runs off into the night.

In another part of town, Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) is attending his birth father’s funeral and is told immediately after by Grace (Melinda Clarke) that he can’t live with them anymore because she wouldn’t be comfortable living with a criminal. Oswald assures her he’s changed and couldn’t hurt a fly. He pleads for her to change her mind, telling her he’s willing to do anything. Grace decides to keep Oswald around as their servant which will also keep him away from any lawyers who might get him to challenge the Will.

Over at Arkham, Barbara (Erin Richards) seems to be recovering very well after waking from her coma. Dr. Hugo Strange (BD Wong) decides to release Barbara back into the real world, telling her she is no longer mentally ill. Even Barbara is nervous with the idea of leaving but Hugo insists she’s ready. Hugo tells his number two that Barbara’s release is a “beautiful experiment” as they will monitor her actions while she is out in the world.

Back at Harvey’s car, Gordon plays the tape but the voice is disguised and the sounds of the background noise might be a bird but it’s not clear enough to tell. Gordon decides to go see another friend and tells Harvey he’s done more for him than any partner could ever expect but to stay away since Barnes is watching Bullock so closely. It’s clear Jim doesn’t want his partner to get jammed up because of him. So Gordon drops in on Ed for help.

Gotham Season 2 Episode 17 David Mazouz

Sean Pertwee and David Mazouz in ‘Gotham’ (Photo © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co)

Ed, realizing Jim still doesn’t know he set him up, offers to help him by cleaning up the tape. While waiting for the results of the cleaning, Ed and Jim talk about the case and Ed makes the mistake of debating if the person who framed Jim is a psychopath, getting a little too defensive and engaged in the conversation. Gordon begins to suspect for the first time that Ed might be the one who set him up. Ed plays back the cleaned tape which now makes it clear it IS Ed’s voice on the tape calling in the tip about the murder. Gordon pulls his gun on Ed but unfortunately is sitting in a chair wired to shock him, which it does, and he’s knocked out.

Nygma drags Gordon’s unconscious body through an alley to dispose of it, but when he goes to open the trunk of a car to put Jim in he sees Jim trying to escape through a window. Ed fires the gun he took from Jim and hits him in the leg. Jim makes his way through the old building and comes across where Selina and Bruce have set up house. Bruce runs over to help Gordon and leads him to the couch where Jim quickly collapses and passes out on. “Great, I’ve got a dead cop in my crib,” says Selina to a concerned Bruce.

Gordon wakes up on the couch in the study at Wayne Manor. It seems Bruce called Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and had him come and take Gordon, Selina and himself back to Wayne Manor. During a few moments alone, Gordon admits to Alfred he failed to protect Bruce from the hardship of hunting who killed his parents and feels bad about it. When the gang is all together again, Gordon tells Bruce and Alfred his plan to set up Ed. He needs someone to go into the GCPD and tell Barnes that he/she has seen Gordon and wants to collect the reward. Jim says in order for it to work it has to be someone Barnes would believe would betray Jim. Bruce, Alfred, and Jim all look right at Selina who’s eating and only half-listening. When she realizes they are looking at her, she asks, “What?”

Back at the Van Dahl mansion, Oswald has been made to be the family’s cook and maid and they enjoy picking on him and putting him down. Through the insults and taunts Oswald is still able to maintain his demeanor and never loses it until he discovers the decanter of alcohol that was used to murder his father. He tests it on the dog and sees it die just as quickly as his father died. Oswald’s step-siblings enter telling him to make a roast for them and he lets out an insane creepy laugh… The Penguin is back!

Selina enters the GCPD looking for the reward as planned and it works. She tells Barnes, with Ed listening in, that she saw Gordon and he’s looking for Penguin because he knows where the body is buried. This causes Ed to believe that Jim knows where Kringle’s body is and he goes off to dig her up and move her body. Of course Jim follows Ed and catches him digging up Kringle. Ed turns and points Jim’s own gun at him and Jim ask what happened to Ed, reminding him that they were friends. Ed reveals he murdered Kringle and he set Jim up to get rid of him investigating. As Ed talks, more and more of his insane personality comes out and Jim realizes the old quirky, smart, and likable Ed is no more. Just as Ed is about to shoot Jim, Barnes yells for him to drop the gun and give up. Seems Jim had Barnes and Harvey, along with about 30 other cops, out in the woods listening to their conversation. Ed makes a feeble attempt to run away but is quickly captured.

Back at the GCPD Barnes almost apologizes to Jim and says he’s happy he’s in the clear and that he owes him one. Jim asks him not to go too hard on Harvey for all his help. Barnes asks Jim when he can start back to work but Jim says he’s not coming back right away; he needs to solve the Waynes’ murder case for young Bruce first. He asks Barnes for the file which Barnes gives him along with Lee’s number, telling him to call her. Later in private Jim does call Lee, hears her voice and hangs up.


At Wayne Manor, Bruce tells Alfred he’ll be going back to the city with Selina when she’s ready to head back. Alfred finally has a chance to tell Bruce that Lucius fixed his father’s computer and his work can now be continued. Alfred also tells Bruce that Selina has been a good friend to him and cares about him and she doesn’t deserve to be put in danger over what got Bruce’s parents killed. Alfred says he can pursue this with him and say goodbye to Selina or go back to living in the city with her but he can’t have both, for her sake. Selina enters ready to leave and asks Alfred if they can get a ride back into the city. Alfred excuses himself and leaves the room. Bruce tells Selina he’s not going with her and that he’s grateful for everything she has taught him. Selina becomes upset, mistakenly taking Bruce’s actions as a rejection of her, her life, and their relationship. “After all we’ve been through,” says the Cat, holding back her emotions as best she can. She leaves out the same window she almost always uses to enter the Wayne study and Bruce tries his best to hold back his tears.

Back at the Van Dahl mansion, Oswald has prepared two different roasts for Grace for her dinner. After she has tried both he reveals in true classic Penguin form that he knows she killed his father with the poison and she just ate some of her own children. Before the true horror of what is happening registers in Grace’s mind, Penguin kills her with a big knife.

Jim Gordon is at his place looking over the Wayne file when there’s a knock on his door. He goes over and opens it and is shocked to see Barbara standing there. “Hi, Jim,” she says.

Gotham season 2 episode 17 review:

Dark, action-packed, and smartly written, episode 17 titled “Into the Woods” finally has Gordon clearing his name and discovering the truth about Ed Nygma while also having the long overdue rebirth of The Penguin and his homicidal ways. The two stand-out performances in this episode go to Ben McKenzie and Robin Lord Taylor for their wonderful portrayals of two characters who go through an emotional and intellectual revelation. McKenzie is great in the scene in the woods where Jim confronts Ed and discovers his suspicions are true about him being the one who set him up. It’s not anger or fear he shows but genuine sadness as he asks Ed why he did this, they were friends. It’s a brief but fantastic moment from McKenzie as Gordon shows he’s actually hurt that one of the few people in his life who he considered a friend has betrayed him so completely.

Robin Lord Taylor brings back the murderous, evil psychopath The Penguin in glorious over-the-top chilling form as he murders the Van Dahls for killing his father. Truly, it’s nice to have the real Penguin back.

With Jim, Bruce, and Alfred looking into the conspiracy that killed Bruce’s parents, Nygma getting locked up in Arkham, The Penguin now taking over his birth father’s fortune, and Barbara showing up at Jim’s door, it looks like things are really heating up and getting even more dangerous in Gotham as the show heads towards its season finale.

GRADE: B+

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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