A very simplistic episode, “Prisoners” honestly only had two real storylines, Gordon and Penguin. Both dealing with their new situations in life, albeit very opposite ones. This approach is rarely done on Gotham with all the characters it has, but it worked really well here. Even if only a little advancement was given to the plot.
For Gordon, he had to adjust to life on the inside. I really appreciated how they started with a cycle sequence of his new life routine. And how it was painfully clear that he was slowly accepting his new life. But, his old life kept calling, and not all of it was good news.
I’m not sure how to feel about news that Leslie has lost the baby. As Batman comic fans know, Gordon has two kids, James Gordon Jr., and Barbara. It would’ve been an interesting twist to have them come from two different women (as Barbara is still in play) but now he’s lost one. So where does that leave his future?
Then, the Warden of F-Wing (aka World’s End, a reference to Earth-2 in recent comics) proved to be not only corrupt, but a friend of former Commissioner Loeb. A fun reminder of what Gordon has done since arriving in Gotham.
Again, what really sold this struggle in prison was that Gordon fully accepted his fate. Even realizing he would likely die, and that anyone attached to him would be in danger. Enter Puck. A nice little ray of light, but one that honestly didn’t feel needed by the end.
Bullock’s involvement in the episode really nailed his friendship with Jim. Going so far as to ask Don Freaking Falcone to help him break out of jail! Did not see that coming! Then for Gordon to literally break out, and option to go back to Gotham to clear his name was also good for his character. Nygma will likely be going down for this. But will it be next episode? We’ll find out won’t we?
As for Penguin, his life in his new family was anything but straightforward. From the outset we knew that the Van Dahl’s (can you say…Vandal?) were not as happy as they seemed. And indeed, the wife, and children were after papa van Dahl’s money. Shocker. Then, when it became clear that Penguin was…well, Penguin. They tried to have him removed, then tried to kill him.
Paul Reubens’ was again the star of this story. As he sold not only a dying man, but one filled with compassion and forgiveness. You truly believed him when he forgave Penguin of his past life, and that he wanted to spend many more years with him. Yes, we knew he would die, and he died ironically saving his son. What now? I don’t know. But the cracks in Penguin’s sanity may come forth soon…
“Prisoners” was a simple episode, but a nice step back from all that has happened. And one that set up Gotham’s return in two weeks (why the gap?). It was simple and solid, and many shows wish they could be that.