Gotham Season 2 Episode 16 Recap “Prisoners”
Jim Gordon wakes up every day in his new home, a prison cell in Blackgate Penitentiary. He adjusts to the monotony of his new routine pretty well with nothing more than the picture of his pregnant girlfriend to keep him company. Every day he wakes up at the same time, eats the same food, does the same workout and goes to bed at the same time. But I’m not going to lie, Gordon makes being a prisoner look pretty easy. One day his routine is interrupted when he’s summoned by the warden. The warden tells him that he’ll be moved from protective custody to the “F Wing” of the prison. F Wing, also known as “World’s End”, is where the hardened criminals are sent to serve the rest of their sentences or die trying. Gordon, a convicted murderer will be sharing the same area of the prison with many of the same criminals he himself helped bring to justice so his situation has taken a considerable turn for the worse. It seems like the warden is going to make Gordon’s time in prison as difficult as possible at the urging of the former police Commissioner Loeb.
Van Dahl Manor
Penguin sits around the dinner table with his new family. They share ghost stories until the patriarch, Elijah Van Dahl informs them that the very house they are eating dinner in is haunted. According to Elijah, his grandfather, and several other family members have passed away in the house and their ghosts still roam the halls. Penguin is more interested in the story of how Elijah met his current wife, Grace, who is sitting in a chair just a few feet away. Grace was a waitress at a nearby diner that Elijah would frequent shortly after the death of his mother. The two bonded and Grace confided it him that her children, Sasha, and Charles were being abused by their father. Elijah couldn’t allow Grace to remain in an abusive relationship so he allowed her and her children to move in with him until eventually their relationship became romantic. Despite the fact that Grace and her kids are Elijah’s new family, he points out that Penguin is his only remaining blood relative. A tense moment follows when Sasha surprises everyone with her strength and inadvertently crushes her drinking glass with her bare hands. Yikes! It looks like the bloodline conversation might be a touchy subject so Elijah wisely changes the topic with a well-timed toast to “Family”.
Harvey Bullock sits at his desk at the GCPD on the phone with District Attorney Harvey Dent. He wants Dent to pull some strings to rescue Detective Gordon from the F Wing at Blackgate. Frustrated by Dent’s lack of assistance, Bullock furiously hangs up the phone. He spots Ed Nygma walking past and vents to him about the injustice Gordon is experiencing being locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Nygma feigns sympathy to appease Bullock although it was secretly Nygma who framed Gordon in the first place.
Penguin enjoys a drink and some bonding time with his Elijah. Elijah doesn’t join Penguin for a drink because his health doesn’t allow it. Elijah tells Penguin that he comes from a long line of tailor’s apprentices. Elijah had a close relationship with his mother similar to the relationship Penguin had with the late Mrs. Cobblepot. Penguin confides in his father his regrets about not always being a good son. Grace who had been eavesdropping on the entire conversation brings Elijah what he believes is his heart medication but in reality, she has been secretly replacing his pills with ordinary breath mints.
Unbeknownst to Detective Gordon, the warden of Blackgate has it out for him. He tells one inmate that he wants Gordon dead by the end of the week. Gordon has a visitor from a friendly face. His partner, Detective Bullock has arrived at the prison to deliver some bad news. While he is doing everything he can to help get Gordon out of jail, it turns out that his ex, Leslie was not able to carry their unborn child to term. It devastates Gordon on top of everything else that is going on, to find out that he will no longer be a father. Later he’s confronted by an inmate with a bone to pick. The inmate says that his brother was a member of the Red Hood Gang and Gordon was responsible for his brother’s death. When he isn’t able to provoke Gordon into an altercation he hits the former detective with a crushing headbutt. One inmate comes to Gordon’s defense but he quickly ends up on the ground next to Gordon, getting stomped by several rowdy prisoners. The guard shows up and rescues Gordon and the other inmate from the fray. He sends them both to the infirmary to get treatment for their wounds.
Penguin awakens from a horrible nightmare, haunted by memories of his former life of crime. He climbs out of bed and heads downstairs where he finds his father sleepwalking through the house. The sleeping man had wandered out of bed and into the hallway outside of his late father’s office. Penguin takes Elijah back up to bed and tucks him in. Elijah tells him that he has a hole in his heart that keeps getting bigger. Penguin finally comes clean about his criminal past but his father tells him that his transgressions are forgiven in his eyes.
Gordon and Puck, the inmate that came to his rescue, bond in the infirmary. Puck, who was incarcerated for stealing a car, tells Gordon that he admires his heroism. Gordon urges him to keep his distance during his 6-year sentence but Puck outright refuses. Puck’s goal is to complete his sentence and make it out of prison alive. The warden enters the infirmary and sends Puck to his cell. He then tries to antagonize Gordon about the loss of his unborn child but Gordon can see right through the warden’s plan. Noticing that he is not easily shaken, the warden sends him back to his cell.
The next day Grace and her kids approach Elijah and Penguin with a shocking revelation. They tell Elijah that Penguin is a murderer and a criminal. Shocking right? Elijah of course already knows this and is not the least bit bothered. He believes that his son is a changed man. Grace, Sasha, and Charles disappear into the hallway to figure out another tactic to try to drive a wedge between Penguin and Elijah.
Once again Penguin is awakened out of his sleep, only this time his new step-sister Sasha is hovering just inches from his face. Sasha, under the impression that Penguin is using Elijah to try to get his money, tries to seduce him into a partnership. She doesn’t realize that the new Penguin barely comprehends the deceptive things she is suggesting and it’s not long before she gives up and storms out of the bedroom.
The prison guard informs Gordon that Weaver, the inmate that head-butted him earlier in the episode, is out of solitary confinement. Seconds later, Gordon finds out that Weaver has orchestrated an attack on Puck. He’s restrained by a couple of the other guards and forced to watch as Puck is beaten mercilessly a few feet away.
Meanwhile, Harvey Bullock pays a visit to his old friend Don Falcone the former Gotham crime boss to ask for assistance in getting Gordon out of prison. At Van Dahl Manor, the father/son time between Elijah and Penguin continues. Elijah demonstrates his tailoring skills by fitting Penguin for a suit until a coughing fit renders Elijah unconscious. Grace hears Penguins cries for help and orders her son to call the doctor.
Gordon is working in the prison laundry room when the friendly prison guard enters to update him on Puck’s condition. When Gordon goes to the infirmary to sit at his bedside, Puck gives him some words of encouragement. Once again Gordon urges the young convict to stay far away from Gordon for his own safety. As he turns to leave Puck resting in the infirmary, he is stopped by the prison guard who warns Gordon to be ready for movie night that evening. Everyone from F Wing will be in the main hall with the lights out so Gordon needs to be ready for anything.
The doctor tells Penguin that his father does not have much longer to live and should probably get his affairs in order. Although he is confident that he has many more years left to live, Elijah does ask Grace to summon his lawyer so that he can arrangements just in case.
Grace tells Sasha and Charles that Penguin is going to inherit Elijah’s money if they don’t do something to get rid of Penguin once and for all.
Grace leaves Penguin with a drink and leaves him so that he can continue to bond with Elijah. Elijah tells Penguin that dark impulses ran in their family. Elijah sympathizes with Penguin’s pain and offers him many words of encouragement. The two have gotten closer than ever and Elijah even takes a drink in honor of his bond with his son. He tells Penguin he will be leaving drawing up the paperwork the next day so that Penguin will inherit his riches. For a split second, Penguin is the happiest he’s been in a very long time. But that feeling of happiness turns into despair as Elijah starts to die right in front of him. Grace shocked that Elijah was the one who drank the poisoned drink calls for an ambulance but it’s obvious that the poison meant for Penguin has killed him.
With the lights out at movie night, it is easy for Gordon’s enemies to attack. Warren makes his way toward Gordon but before he can lunge at him with a blade another inmate intercepts Gordon and attacks him himself. A brawl breaks out and the inmate stabs Gordon in the abdomen repeatedly.
As the friendly prison guard and another guard wheeling Gordon’s lifeless body out on a stretcher, Gordon regains consciousness and sits straight up startling the guard. Just then Harvey Bullock appears seemingly out of nowhere and knocks the startled guard out cold. When the friendly guard unzips the body bag, Gordon is startled and confused to see Bullock and an ambulance. Bullock came to rescue Gordon from the prison and although Gordon was knocked unconscious during the prison brawl, the stabbing was staged using a retractable knife and fake blood to make it look like Gordon was deceased. For a moment, Gordon hesitates about escaping from prison but he knows that he’ll never be able to bring the man who killed officer Pinkney to justice if he’s spending time in jail. He decides to go on the condition that they bring Puck along with them. While sneaking out of the infirmary with Puck the warden does realize that Gordon’s murder was faked but the friendly guard knocks him out giving Gordon and Puck the opportunity to escape.
When Bullock drives the ambulance far enough away from Blackgate, he tells Gordon that Don Falcone pulled the strings to set up the fake prison brawl to get Gordon out of there. When they meet up with Falcone, Gordon shakes his hand and thanks him for his help. Falcone offers to help Gordon escape the country but he declines the offer. He knows in order to get back together with Leslie, he first needs to clear his name. Gordon walks over to the ambulance to ask Puck’s opinion about what he should do next, but, unfortunately, Puck did not live to experience his freedom. Gordon’s eyes are now set firmly on reclaiming all that he has lost.
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