Slowly but surely, the plans for the end of Gotham second season are coming together, and boy are things getting mighty juicy. Tonight’s episode, “Wrath of the Villains: Pinewood” revealed quite a bit of new information about Thomas Wayne’s secret activities to take down evil and corruption within his own corporation, as well as a final resurrection scene that many of us fans have wanted for months that goes hand-in-hand with the actual DC universe (how often does that happen anymore on this show?).
But first things first: Our jam-packed episode begins with Barbara and Gordon’s reunion, the one Babs has been waiting for since awakening from her coma and the one Gordon probably believed would never need to happen again. Barbara tries to convince Gordon that she has been rehabilitated, and after sneaking a peek at the Wayne murder file on his desk, she knows exactly how to prove her changed nature.
Bullock catches a glimpse of Barbara as she leaves and can’t believe Hugo Strange is letting criminals out of Arkham left and right, but there’s no time for a real discussion on Hugo’s plans (at least not yet). Gordon needs a lead on Matches Malone’s contractor. He finds out that one of his regular contractors is dead and the other happens to be “the Lady,” the same woman hired to dispense her A-team of hitmen to kill Gordon at Theo Galavan’s penthouse. When Gordon took out all of her best people, the Lady’s reputation was ruined, and she’s been in hiding ever since. Her only known associates are hitmen, and despite Bullock’s warnings, Gordon is off to find some answers. Cue Gordon violent-justice montage.
Eventually Gordon discovers that the Lady hangs out at one particular bar called Artemis. Unfortunately for him, it’s a lady-criminals-only kind of place, which means Babs, who has followed Gordon to the club, is the only person who can talk to the Lady and get Gordon the answers he so desperately wants. Gordon demands to know why Barbara is so invested in helping him with this case, but Barbara knows if Gordon can close this case, it’s like closing a door to his past so he can start over. And doesn’t that sound oh so familiar?
Barbara finds and bonds with the Lady, tricking her into believing she’s willing to give Gordon up. They tie the former detective up, and Barbara plays up her formerly crazy violent angle to get as much information about who hired the Lady to dispense a hitman on the Wayne’s. All the Lady has is a nickname: the Philosopher. But it’s better than nothing at this point.
Barbara believes she’s done enough to ask for and receive Gordon’s forgiveness, but Jim won’t let go that easily. She tells him that when she woke up from her coma, she remembered the look Gordon gave her while trying to save her life in that church so many months ago: He looked at her like a human being, not the monster she had become. If he could look at her that way again, she really believes she can make it. But Gordon tells her a harsh truth: If she wants to be a better person, that’s her choice to make. He can’t be that for her. And Gordon adds a gut punch to that accurate point: He won’t forgive her for trying to kill Lee. All of this dark reality is enough to send Barbara right into the arms of her old flame: Tabitha.
Meanwhile, Gordon gets a call from Bruce who has been conducting his own investigation ever since Lucius fixed his father’s secret computer. Bruce discovers a name in Thomas’ calendar, Karen Jennings, and finds an address for the girl that he and Alfred go check out, despite Alfred’s worry that Bruce is getting himself into some serious danger (Alfred is, as always, totally right on the money). After she attacks them with her strange claw, the two discover from Karen that she was part of a secret bioengineering project at Wayne Enterprises.
Karen tells the pair she volunteered for the trial because she didn’t really have many other options: She was born with a deformity, and her father abused her for being different. One day she fought back, and he died, but Karen was taken to Blackgate instead of being released on grounds of self-defense. She took the offer to get her hand fixed by Pinewood, and instead she was given the claw. She doesn’t know the names of any of the Pinewood scientists, but she remembers one face from her nightmares.
Karen reveals that Thomas didn’t know about Pinewood, and when he found out, he shut it down and put the patients who survived in hiding. But Bruce realizes that the program must have started up again and convinces Karen to take them to the old facility. But when they get there, it’s obvious no one has taken up the duties of Pinewood in that building, and Bruce discovers that Karen is very clearly hiding something. The three then get ambushed by two mysterious men, but after Karen kills one of them, they get captured by the police. Bruce makes his call to Gordon to get released (which Bullock does for Gordon), and Gordon, Bruce, and Alfred pool their knowledge together to continue the investigation.
NEXT: Azrael has emerged
While all of this action goes down, Hugo Strange and Peabody’s storyline is quickly integrated into the rest of the series (FINALLY). Hugo and Peabody are up to Patient 44 of their re-animation trial, now that they have received the vial with Fries’ serum to do just that. Peabody and Hugo talk about Karen’s recent re-incarceration news, and Hugo decides the she must be silenced as she could ruin them.
Gordon, Alfred, and Bruce team up to break Karen out of Blackgate so she can potentially identify the head of Pinewood — plus, her return to Blackgate would all but ensure her death. The three hijack her prison transport van and are seemingly in the clear when Karen reveals that Thomas Wayne actually started Pinewood. He began the trial with the best of intentions, but the Philosopher took advantage of him and ran the program with evil intentions. Thomas did more than place Karen in hiding, he took care of her like a true, good father would.
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Despite rescuing Karen from Blackgate, Gordon, Alfred, and Bruce haven’t saved Karen from everyone after her. Hugo Strange releases Victor Fries in his new subzero suit to take down the former Pinewood subject. Bruce does everything in his power to keep Karen safe, but she sacrifices herself for the team’s safety. Victor kills Karen, and Bruce takes it the hardest, especially since she was the only person who could identify who really killed his parents.
But in comes the hero of the hour: Lucius Fox. After searching and cross-checking the Wayne Enterprises database for all kinds of scientists and experiments, Lucius comes across a photo of Thomas Wayne and his friends who all had their own nicknames on the photo as well: Hugo Strange is finally revealed to be the Philosopher.
At that precise moment, Hugo and Peabody discover that Patient 44 has successfully undergone the re-animation process, several hours too early. The patients swiftly and violently kills the scientists trying to sedate him as his identity is discovered: Theo Galavan himself. But Theo has clearly not returned as the former mayor/Order of St. Dumas member. He has become so much more. He shouts the name Azrael as our episode ends, but for those us who follow DC comics, we know that the name Azrael means Gotham is nowhere near done with the Order of St. Dumas as we have been led to believe. The wrath we’ve been promised in every title of every Gotham episode since the midseason premiere is upon us. It’s about damn time.