Prisoners Plot Summary:
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is moved to the general population in prison, while Bullock (Donal Logue) desperately tries to get him help. Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) and his new father (Paul Reubens) bond, but his step family has other plans.
All good streaks must come to a close, as this week’s Gotham ends a run of great consecutive episodes. Not that this was bad, but in Gotham terms, fairly mediocre. Despite a couple big story points, not a whole lot happened here. They were wise though not to dwell on a couple arcs that could have been real problematic had they bled into next week, so this felt like a setting up the chess pieces kind of episode. In fact, I think Oswald played chess with his new dad, so let’s start there.
Oswald pretty much fell into a new family last week, as his biological dad has taken an immediate shine to the newly rehabilitated Oswald. Their relationship was genuine, and Robin Lord Taylor and Paul Reubens certainly have a good chemistry. The problem is Elijah’s crazy family, who came out of the gate devious as hell. All these story points were very predictable, right down to the personalities of each family member. The performances were fine, but we had the scheming mom (Melinda Clarke), seductive sister (Kaley Ronayne) and preppy dim-witted brother (Justin Mark), who reminded me of Chuck Bass from the one episode I saw of Gossip Girl. We’ve seen these tropes before, and none of them were interesting here. I’m not looking forward to their story continuing next week, although I would get a ton of satisfaction if Oswald played them all, and went back to his evil ways, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The main storyline was Gordon in jail, which thankfully fared much better. The best part of the episode by far was the very beginning, with a very sad, emotional montage of Gordon going through the motions in prison. Soon enough, Gordon is transferred to general population, run by a corrupt Warden (Ned Bellamy), obviously. You got to have the corrupt Warden! And of course, Gordon gets locked up with many crooks he put away. I wonder what’s going too happen? McKenzie gave a great performance throughout, but nothing was compelling here at all. The conflicts Gordon has with the Warden and prisoners were fairly generic. The bright spot was a friend (Peter Mark Kendall) he makes in prison, and that’s where the writers put some effort into the dialogue.
Donal Logue got a chance to shine in this one, as he’s not only funny, but brought the drama as well, including delivering some not so good news to Gordon. He definitely gave the most dynamic performance, and even orchestrated the return of a character we haven’t seen in a long time.
There were a few good character moments with Gordon and Bullock, but everything else was pretty forgettable, especially the Oswald stuff. I have no doubt Gotham will rebound quickly, as next week’s episode looks jam packed.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Slightly Better Than ‘Meh’)