Gotham Season 2 Episode 18 Recap “Pinewood”
Gordon doesn’t waste any time pulling out his gun when he sees his ex-girlfriend Barbara Kean standing in the hallway outside of his apartment. Who could blame him for being cautious of a woman who has proven to be a murderous psychopath on numerous occasions? To his credit, Gordon does listen to Barbara’s apology for a moment before dismissing her. Barbara can tell that her apologies have fallen on deaf ears so she offers to make up for all the wrong she has done by helping Gordon with his investigation into the murders of Bruce’s parents. On her way out the door she notices a case file Gordon has been studying. There’s a picture of The Lady right on top of the file that catches her attention. Barbara says she could be useful in collecting information about The Lady but Gordon still kicks her out of his apartment.
Bruce is pouring over the files in his father’s computer at Wayne Manor with the help of Lucius Fox and Alfred. Bruce’s first lead comes from his father’s calendar which shows, that Thomas was supposed to having a meeting at a place called Pinewood Farms with a woman named Karen Jennings the week of his murder. Bruce figures that his father was doing some investigating of his own and decides to go to Pinewood Farms to pick up where his dad left off.
Meanwhile, Gordon and Detective Bullock strategize about their next steps in finding out the truth behind the Wayne murders. Bullock recognizes the picture of The Lady and tells Gordon that she is the contractor of the assassins in Gotham, so Gordon makes locating The Lady his number one priority. He loads up on a bunch of weapons and heads off to interrogate a few criminals about her whereabouts. Now that he isn’t a cop, there isn’t anything to stop him from using his own brand of unorthodox (violent) interrogation techniques. Gordon’s techniques prove themselves useful and he learns The Lady can be found at a club called “The Artemis”
Professor Strange and Ms. Peabody oversee another one of Strange’s attempts to reanimate one of his deceased patients. Ms. Peabody is skeptical but Strange is very optimistic about this particular experiment. Peabody interrupts Strange to tell him that she was alerted that someone who has been looking into the name “Karen Jennings”. Apparently Karen Jennings was one of Strange’s first experiments gone wrong. According to Peabody, Karen survived the gruesome experiments but became very violent afterward. Judging by the X-Ray Ms. Peabody shows Strange, Karen Jennings has developed a deformity that would cause most people to lash out violently.
Bruce shows off some of the street smarts he acquired during his time under the tutelage of Selina Kyle when he picks the lock on the door of Karen Jennings’s cottage in the woods. Alfred isn’t impressed by Bruce’s new abilities but Bruce doesn’t seem to care because his “technical skills” have just proven to be very useful. The cottage is eerily quiet until Karen darts out from behind the curtains and slashes at Alfred with what he believes is a hunting knife. In actuality, it wasn’t a knife that left the deep wounds in Alfred’s hand, but instead huge claw-like talons where her hand should be. Karen was born with a deformed hand, but the talon formed as a result of Strange’s attempts to “fix” it. Karen quickly recognizes Bruce’s name and feels comfortable talking to him about his father’s investigation. She warns Bruce not to look any further into Pinewood Farms but we all know that isn’t an option for Bruce. He begs and begs for Karen’s assistance and eventually she reluctantly agrees to help.
Eventually, Karen feels comfortable enough to share the wholes story of how she obtained the talon. As a prisoner at Blackgate Prison, she really didn’t have much choice but to cooperate with Strange’s experimentations. She was born with a crippled arm and the premise of the program was to help her regenerate her arm and make it better but obviously, that didn’t work. There were many other volunteers at Pinewood Farms who simply did not survive the experiments. When Thomas Wayne found out about what was going on, he shut the program down completely. Years later, Thomas caught wind that the Pinewood Farms had started experimenting again so he visited Karen to warn her. That was the last time Karen saw Thomas Wayne alive. There is no doubt in Bruce’s mind that whoever was behind restarting the experiments is the person who had his parents murdered, so he persuades Karen to take him to Pinewood Farms.
Gordon quickly finds out that “The Artemis” is not a club he can just walk into. In fact, “The Artemis” is a women-only club for criminals. Luckily, Barbara Kean shows up just in time to help him out. Gordon is reluctant to accept Barbara’s help and rightfully so considering all the things the pair has been through together. However, he really has no choice but to allow Barbara to go talk to The Lady for him.
Barbara explains to The Lady how she pretended to be rehabilitated so that she would be released from Arkham Asylum and now she is looking to become an assassin. While Karen talks to The Lady, Gordon who couldn’t resist trying to sneak into “The Artemis” himself, gets cornered by one of the armed guards. He seems to be in trouble until Barbara appears out of nowhere and pulls her knife on Gordon, capturing him and delivering him to The Lady herself. With Gordon on his knees at their mercy, Barbara announces that her intention to deliver him to The Lady the entire time. With Gordon in front of them helpless, Barbara convinces The Lady that there is no harm in telling Gordon the name of the person who hired Matches Malone to kill the Waynes. The Lady reveals that the man’s nickname is “The Philosopher” and a second later Barbara turns on The Lady and knocks her out instead.
When Bruce, Alfred, and Karen arrive at Pinewood Farms it’s like a laboratory turned ghost town. It looks like it has been years since anyone had set foot in the facility. In fact, Bruce correctly identifies that Karen knew Pinewood Farms had been deserted the whole time and only took him to the facility to discourage him from investigating any further. Their investigation is interrupted by the arrival of a couple of armed gunmen. While trying to flee from the gunmen, Karen demonstrates the killing power of her talon and uses it to almost decapitate the gunman. The other gunman is shot by Alfred who clearly has the freedom to just shoot and kill people whenever he feels the need. Alfred, Bruce, and Karen manage to escape only to find the police waiting outside to place them under arrest.
Gordon doesn’t know how to feel about Barbara’s ruse to get the information from The Lady. Her whole act hit a little too close to home and he has a hard time believing it was all just pretend. For a moment, he really thought Barbara had set him up. Barbara assures him that she has changed and even though he isn’t ready to forgive her she is still willing to help. The conversation is cut short when Gordon receives a phone call from Bruce Wayne, forcing him to leave Barbara standing in the ally while he races off toward the Gotham City Police Department. When he arrives at the GCPD he has Bullock release Alfred from his holding cell. Bruce is with Captain Barnes who is very unhappy. Barnes allows Alfred to go free but orders that Karen Jennings is sent back to Blackgate Prison. Later, Bruce, Alfred, and Gordon discuss their findings over coffee at a nearby diner. Gordon tells Bruce about his theory that “The Philosopher” is the person responsible for the Pinewood Farms experiments. He tells Bruce to have Lucius Fox find out more information about the scientists that worked for Wayne Enterprises so that Karen can try to identify which one is “The Philosopher”. Unfortunately, Karen is in Blackgate Prison and could be in grave danger. They are afraid that if she is in there for too long, the people connected to Pinewood Farms will have her killed to keep her from talking so they have to figure out a way to break her out.
At Arkham, Professor Strange is continuing his reanimation experiments when Ms. Peabody interrupts him to inform him about the Karen Jennings situation. Like Alfred and Bruce suggested, Professor Strange wants Karen dead. He and Ms. Peabody decide to employ Victor Fries to be the one to handle their Karen Jennings problem. Fries has been locked away in an icy laboratory in Arkham Asylum to continue his studies. His recent misfortunes have turned his attitude just as icy as his environment so Professor Strange thinks having the opportunity to kill Karen Jennings will help Fries let off some steam.
The Return of Freeze
Karen has not yet made it to Blackgate but is being transported by an armored prison vehicle for criminals. The prison truck driver is distracted by a huge bag of money just sitting in the middle of the street waiting to be collected. The money was a trap set by Bruce, Alfred, and Gordon and sure enough, when the driver stops the truck to retrieve the money, they seize the opportunity to highjack the vehicle. They explain to Karen that they intend on getting her out of town after she identifies “The Philosopher”. She recognizes the nickname and promises that given the opportunity she could point him out. They promise Karen that after she helps figure out who “The Philosopher” is, she will have the opportunity to escape from Gotham and start a new life. Karen finally admits the last secret she had been hiding the entire time. She reveals that she had developed a close relationship with Thomas Wayne and she had been hiding the fact that Thomas was the person who created Pinewood Farms to begin with. His intentions were good but eventually the experiments went in a direction he could not have foreseen. Thomas was determined to shut it down to undo the damage he felt responsible for causing. Bruce doesn’t have time to dwell on the new information because out of nowhere, the van is forced to skid to a halt to avoid hitting Victor Fries standing in the middle of the road adorning his cryogenic armor. Alfred and Gordon try to hold Victor off to give time for Karen to escape but it doesn’t work. Bruce watches in horror as Karen is frozen by Victor’s ice gun and shattered into a million frozen pieces.
Butch, who hasn’t’ been involved in the last few episode comes home to find Tabitha sitting in front of the fireplace with Barbara asleep in her arms. He seems pretty intrigued by what this might mean for his household and quite frankly I do too. Meanwhile at Wayne Manor, Bruce mourns the loss of his new friend Karen. He’s gotten pretty reckless concerning his own life and wellbeing but he hadn’t anticipated the ramifications his action could have on the lives of others. He also is discouraged because, without Karen, there is no one to identify what “The Philosopher” looks like; at least that’s what he thinks. Lucius Fox arrives at the manor with a photo of some Wayne Enterprises company sports team. Standing in the picture next to a Thomas Wayne is Hugo Strange with his nickname listed as “The Philosopher”.
At Arkham, Professor Strange and Ms. Peabody are realizing just how far Bruce and Gordon have gotten into their investigation when an alarm buzzes. Patient 44 who Dr. Strange has been trying to reanimate has come back to life with a vengeance. The reanimated patient is none other than Theo Galavan who screams “Azrael” at the top of his lungs as the episode ends.
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