“Into the Woods” opens with Bruce and Selena sprinting across rooftops. Hot in pursuit is a mafia thug, yelling about his money, which would probably account for the large bag over Selena’s shoulder. They manage an improbable leap across an alley to the next building, leaving the out of shape thug behind to yell threats. Bruce demonstrates how completely differently he and Selena view the world and certain resources, which leads to some friction between them.
Speaking of tension among allies, the GCPD has more than its share. The news about Gordon’s escape from prison is all over. Bullock, naturally enough, is under suspicion. Nygma is confident he’ll be fine, and Barnes is being his usual crusader self, threatening Bullock with all sorts of penalties if Barnes learns Bullock has helped Gordon. Bullock, of course, claims innocence. No one believes him.
Bullock goes home where Gordon is, indeed, hiding out. The two of them come up with a slim lead- the Internal Affairs tip called in about Gordon was recorded, per IA’s policy. If they can get the tape, they might get a lead. Bullock takes some fairly extreme (and funny) action to get Gordon access, and Gordon gets an actual reel of tape. The show is an odd mix of eras of technology. Gordon, despite the strange things they are doing to his character on this show, is still a hero, and gets himself in more trouble when he steps in after seeing a mugging. No good deed goes unpunished in Gotham.
The Cobblepot family story takes a lot of sick twists and turns this week. At Elijah’s funeral, Grace is going to throw Penguin out of the mansion until she reconsiders and uses him as a free servant. The family taunts and pushes him horribly. Strange’s reconditioning has its limits, and Oswald snaps back to his old self with a vengeance. It’s easy to underestimate the Penguin, but it’s always a mistake to do it.
In another Arkham-related story, Barbara Keen is awake now. She participates in a therapy group with Professor Strange, saying she doesn’t feel crazy anymore after her long coma. When he prompts her for a reason why this might be, she shrugs and gets off her best line of the episode, “Maybe I just needed some sleep.” Strange declines to use the same programming on her he did on Penguin, but turns her loose. Strange is definitely in position as the season’s behind the scenes big bad guy.
Bullock and Gordon study the tape. The caller used something to disguise his voice, but there are background noises that might be useful. Gordon thanks Bullock for his help and warns him to stay away from now on. Going elsewhere for help, Gordon pays a visit to Ed Nygma. Since Nygma is the one that set him up in the first place, this doesn’t go smoothly. Gordon is no idiot, and figures it out, but there’s an elaborate game of cat and mouse, electric shock and gunfire. Gordon gets away, wounded, and Nygma is frustrated.
The wounded Gordon turns to his last hope, staggering into Selena Kyle’s place, surprising her and Bruce. There was a touching scene earlier when Bruce both fixed Selena’s jacket and cooked for her. They make a cute, if very underage, couple. Bruce isn’t a complete fool, and realizes they need help. Gordon, Bruce, and Selena migrate to Wayne Manor and enlist Alfred’s skills. They come up with a plan between them to try and clear Gordon.
In Gotham City’s usual barbaric style, a $10,000 reward has been placed on Gordon. Selena goes to the GCPD to claim it. Nygma hears enough to get spooked, and goes to move Kristen Kringle’s body. This is what Gordon wanted, and he manages to snare Nygma and clear his name neatly.
Forgetting the issue of Gordon’s escape (which is hugely out of character for him), Barnes offers Gordon his job back, and Leslie’s contact information. Gordon says he can’t come back to work until he keeps his promise to Bruce Wayne and finds out who paid Malone. Barnes protests that the case is closed, but Gordon doesn’t agree. Gordon goes home to start playing detective on his own (I wonder how he’s paying rent and food if he’s not with the police at the present, and was in prison for months before that?). Gordon even tries to call Leslie, but hangs up before speaking. Good thing he did, because he gets a surprise visitor that would have been hard to explain.
Out at the Manor, Alfred tells Bruce that Lucius Fox has fixed Thomas Wayne’s computer. Bruce is excited, but Alfred brings up a good point- Alfred can’t stop Bruce from risking his own life in pursuit of this quest, but dragging in Selena is another matter. Like her being a street kid and thief is that much safer? Bruce eventually agrees, and does a very Batman-like, “We can’t be together but I can’t tell you why.” Selena is about as thrilled as you’d expect.
What I liked: I knew about what was going to happen with Penguin, but it was nicely, if brutally, done. I wonder how much would be different in Gotham, and Batman’s career, if Grace hadn’t been such a greedy, heartless bitch. Gordon clearing himself was a bit simple, but worked well enough. Bruce and Selena worked well together in the beginning. Bullock’s loyalty, and his teamwork with Gordon, is always a high point of the show. Strange is doing a great job of being a lurking menace in the shadows.
What I didn’t: Bruce managed to handle Selena in the one way nearly guaranteed to tick her off and drive her away. Is he really that clueless? If so, how in the world does he manage to become the Dark Knight? My money quibbles about Gordon to one side, Barnes overlooking his later crimes (assault, escape at the least) doesn’t ring true for how they’ve shown the character so far.
It was a good, not great, episode. At least Gordon was more like his usual heroic self. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. I hope we learn soon what was on Thomas’ computer, and that it was worth the choices Bruce is making.