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REVIEW: Gotham 2X17 “Wrath of the Villains: Into the Woods”

As of late, watching Gotham has been more painful than having all of my teeth pulled one by one. Seriously. We’ve reached the point where Monday rolls around and I have to slowly drag my feet to the TV and resign myself to the fact that there’s a 96% chance that I’ll be wasting a solid hour of my life. The storylines have felt slow and inconsistent and very few of the show’s characters feel worth watching anymore. What’s been particularly disappointing about this season is the fact that the central focus of the show, Jim Gordon, is no longer a character that I’m ever really rooting for. He’s become a cardboard-character whose hypocrisy drives the, “plots,” of each episode and has transformed him into a character so monotonous and perplexing that I don’t even want to puzzle him out.

Luckily, “Into the Woods,” seems to have realized that Nygma is one of those few aforementioned characters that are still fun to watch. Bringing the focus towards the quirky villain and his interactions with Gordon was the only saving grace of this episode… and this whole bogged down arc in general.

Spoilers ahead!

Oh the irony.

Cold-blooded murderer Jim Gordon is using his newfound freedom to clear his name for one of the few crimes he actually didn’t commit. As previously mentioned, one of the largest issues with Gotham lately is how high and mighty Jim still is despite the fact that while, yes, he’s not the man responsible for Kringle’s death, he is responsible for a slew of other bad deeds that have seemingly yet to cause him any sort of internal regret. For Jim, the repercussions of killing Galavan have really only involved being fearful of getting caught. He’s spent the entirety of the season moving further and further down this path of darkness, to the point where I don’t actually care if he manages to clear his name where Kringle is concerned.

Because, Jim, is a murderer and he does deserve to be in prison… whether he fully grasps that fact or not.

Which brings us back to, “Into the Woods,” where the shamed detective is approaching Nygma of all people, the man with perhaps the least amount of incentive to help, to assist in catching the real Kringle killer.

The Gordon/Nygma dynamic has essentially been a cat-and-mouse game from the get go, with the latter generally serving as the actual cat and the former laughably thinking he’s the cat. Nygma has spent much of the series battling with his own, “path of darkness,” but has done so in a far more interesting and entertaining way than his counterpart. While both men have spent some portion of the series trying to fight said darkness, Nygma’s acceptance of it has escalated him as a character while Gordon’s weird rejection/acceptance when it’s personally beneficial to him of the darkness has just morphed him into an individual whose inability to make a decision and stick with it has turned him into an unlikeable and unremorseful lead.

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This episode did a fairly solid job of really ramping up the mental match between Ed and Jim. We’ve of course seen hints of it over the series but everything came to a head in, “Into the Woods,” as the two men brought out the metaphorical and actual big guns. Nygma being arrested for Kringle’s death was an interesting choice for the show because it’s an event that will likely lull Jim into a false sense of A. accomplishment and B. relief.

To Gordon, this is an enormous victory but in the grand scheme of things, the false accusation of being responsible for the officer’s death was really the least of his worries. At this point barely anyone in Gotham still trusts him, which likely means that he’ll soon have to face real repercussions for the crimes that he has committed over the years.

Elsewhere, Cobblepot is back to being the Penguin, thankfully putting an end to that ineffective subplot of him going good and finding that his blood family isn’t necessarily family, and Alfred is giving perpetually angsty Bruce some rather obvious advice that honestly could have been left unsaid.

Episode Grade: C

Episode Highs:

  • The scene with Nygma cleaning the audiotape coinciding with the kuckoo clock going off was actually one of the better ones of the season. All of the literal and figurative pieces clicked into place and the gun vs electric chair scenario was solid.

Episode Lows:

  • Does everything need to be said out loud? I feel like the Gotham writers think their audience is comprised of the densest humans on earth because every bit of reasoning, advice, thoughts etc. is vocalized to the point where it seems as though the show is just trying to say, “This was already pretty apparent but we need to kill a few more minutes so have a pointless monologue.”

Additional Thoughts:

  • Now that Gordon has been cleared for this murder, how long do you think it’ll take for his actual bad deeds to come back and bite him in the butt?

What are your feelings on the latest episode? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen