Gotham Season 2, Episode 16 Recap And Review: “Prisoners”


Though “Prisoners” wasn’t perfect, it was still quite impressive in that it was low-key and showed Penguin in a very different light. I found the father/son relationship between Elijah and Penguin to be quite emotional and endearing, which is a testament to the acting talents of Paul Reubens and Robin Lord Taylor.

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Spoilerific Recap: Jim is shown doing his day-to-day activities at Blackgate Penitentiary. One day, Jim is called out by Warden Grey and notified that he’ll be serving the rest of his term in F-Wing — one of the worst areas of the prison.

Penguin eats dinner with Elijah and his family — Grace, Charles, and Sasha. When Elijah mentions that Penguin is his true blood, Sasha cracks her glass out of anger.

At GCPD, Harvey is frustrated that Jim has been moved to F-Wing at Blackgate. He uses Ed as a soundboard, telling him that Jim is innocent of the crime.

Elijah gives Penguin a rundown of their family history. Elijah’s father was actually a tailor, but fell ill later in life. Grace overhears them and interrupts their conversation by bringing Elijah his heart medication — which turns out to have been replaced with mints.

Warden Grey tells another inmate, Weaver, that he wants Jim dead. Jim is soon led by a guard, Bishop, to a visiting area. There, he finds Harvey who tells him that he’s getting Dent to reopen the case. Harvey soon shares some sad news — Leslie lost the baby.

When Jim reenters the common area, Weaver approaches him. A younger inmate, Puck, attempts to break up the impending fight. But Weaver and his gang overpower Jim and Puck. The two later end up in the infirmary.

Penguin wakes up screaming from a nightmare about his former life. Going downstairs, he sees his father sleepwalking. Helping Elijah back to bed, Penguin sees his various medication on a night stand. Elijah tells Penguin that he has a heart ailment. Penguin then comes clean to him about his criminal past. However, the admission doesn’t bother Elijah.

At the infirmary, Jim warns Puck to stay away from him. Puck, though, sees Jim as a hero because Jim rescued Puck’s sister when she was kidnapped. Jim soon learns that Puck is in prison for stealing a car in order to impress a girl. As Jim is being led back to F-Wing, Warden Grey taunts him in front of his guards.

As Penguin and Elijah are talking, Grace interrupts them and notifies Elijah about Charles’s findings: Penguin is a notorious murderer. The news doesn’t shock Elijah, who still supports Penguin. Disappointed at the outcome, Grace and her children exit the room where they initiate a different plan.

Penguin wakes up and sees Sasha dressed in only lingerie. She attempts to seduce him, but he pushes her away. A defeated Sasha then exits, telling her mother that the plan didn’t work.

Bishop tells Jim to be cautious of his surroundings. Weaver then approaches Jim and uses Puck as a demonstration. Weaver has his friends severely beat Puck.

Harvey enlists the help of Carmine Falcone in getting Jim out of Blackgate.

Penguin is being fitted for a new suit by his father. Elijah suddenly starts to cough and passes out.

Bishop visits Jim as he’s doing laundry, and tells him to visit Puck in the infirmary. Speaking with Puck, Jim reiterates to him that he’s not a hero, and that it’s best to stay away from him. Bishop enters and warns Jim that tonight is movie night — which means the lights will be off.

After treating Elijah, the doctor tells the family that Elijah doesn’t have much time. Knowing the end is near, Elijah has Grace notify his lawyer. Grace, concerned that Elijah will be changing his will, tells her children that they need to get rid of Penguin.

As the movie starts, Weaver sneaks behind Jim and attacks him with a knife. Another inmate pushes Weaver away, grabs the knife and starts stabbing Jim in the abdomen. As the inmate is pulled away, Jim is left bleeding out on the floor. Warden Grey calls for a body bag.

Jim is wheeled out to an awaiting ambulance, where he suddenly wakes up. One of the guards is knocked out by Harvey, who’s disguised as a paramedic. It turns out that Jim was wearing blood packs and everything was set up with Falcone’s help. At first, Jim is reluctant to leave, but Harvey tells him that this is the only way to clear his name. Jim agrees. However, he asks for one more favor.

At the infirmary, Jim knocks out a guard who’s watching Puck. Warden Grey shows up and holds Jim at gunpoint, but Bishop knocks out Grey from behind. Bishop then asks Jim to punch him, so that their escape didn’t look like an inside job.

Elijah confesses to Penguin that his father didn’t die from a physical illness, but from a mental illness — depression and suicide. Elijah tells Penguin to never give in to the pain, and that he will never be alone. Elijah then tells Penguin that he is willing the whole Van Dahl fortune to him. As he takes a drink, Elijah starts to cough and convulse. He finally dies in Penguin’s arms. When Grace enters the room, she has Charles pretend to accidentally knock over the decanter — which reveals that she had intentionally poisoned the drink.

The ambulance pulls up to a bridge right outside of Gotham. Jim and Harvey meet with Falcone who tells them that he was happy to help. When Falcone asks Jim what his next steps are, Jim tells him that he needs to find Leslie. And in order to do that, he’ll need to clear his name, which means going back to Gotham. Jim asks Puck for his suggestion, but soon finds that Puck has succumbed to his injuries.

Next: Catch up on Gotham with a Recap of 'Mad Grey Dawn'

Best Moment: The small talks between Elijah and Penguin were very entertaining and engaging. I found myself wanting to know more about the Van Dahls.

Final Thoughts: Gotham needs to go this route — low-key episodes that have a strong emotional thread. There were some strange flaws though — like Grace replacing Elijah’s heart medication with mints. I mean, what person wouldn’t be able to tell those were mints the minute they touched his tongue? However, I would let those small details slide if it meant that the overall story was interesting and well-structured — as is the case with “Prisoners.”