SPOILER WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING REVIEW:This review will contain spoilers for the episode discussed, please make sure to watch the episode and then check out this recap, unless spoilers are your thing.
Isn’t it cute how it always seems like diabolically evil secret organizations give little nicknames to their pet projects? This week Bruce meets a young girl who helps him to understand that there is much more meaning behind a project entitled Pinewood, a meaning that connects its secretly nefarious plans to Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne. Gordon won’t take being told that the Wayne murder case is shut as he continues his own Jim Gordon Investigation techniques (mostly beating up a lot of thugs) to honor his word to Bruce and find those responsible for his parent’s death, but Barbara’s release from Arkham spells headaches for Jim. Pinewood was a great episode that furthered the mystery even while successfully giving us some long awaited answers on what The Philosopher…I mean Hugo Strange is up to.
It appears that since Lucius Fox was able to repair Thomas’ secret computer, Bruce accompanied by Alfred and Lucius, have been up all night trying to break into what data they could find within. The only thing Bruce can surmise from the computer is a scheduled date Thomas had with a Karen Jennings, with a special note of Pinewood attached. This little meeting only seems significant because it happened a week before the Wayne’s murder. I love seeing how flustered Alfred becomes as he, imagining the worst, tries to dismiss the idea and tell Bruce not to investigate an assumed affair Thomas may have had. But Bruce’s wheels are turning too fast at this point to slow down, as he finds an address for Karen Jennings and tells Alfred to stop talking and start the car, they have places to be.
Now we as the audience know that Barbara and Jim’s relationship has been nothing short of rocky as of late; what with the whole Barbara going banana balls crazy, trying to kill Lee his new girlfriend and himself, joining up with Galavan as he and his sister slowly decomposed Gotham, let’s just say they had their ups and downs. But wide eyed Barbara only wants to put that past behind her, she’s reconciled with her crazy and found the sane side of life, why else would Arkham release her if she wasn’t? Jim is having just about none of it and tells her to hit the road, when Barbara gets a glimpse of what Jim Gordon Investigations is working on. It seems Jim has come up with a name, The Lady, a big higher up in the assassination game, at least in the assassination coordination department. She may be the only one with answers to who hired Matches Malone to kill off the Wayne parents. Barbara, not the stranger to the vast underground world of crime that is Gotham, knows of The Lady, and would love to offer her assistance. Jim of course declines as he pushes her out. But something tells me she’s not the type to take no for answer so easily.
Alfred nervously pulls to Karen Jennings last address, which is a rickety old wood cabin out in the snowy side of Gotham. Bruce gets to show off his street skills as he picks the lock and Alfred, still very nervous, and Bruce break and enter into the cabin. This is when Alfred is attacked by a very sharp dangerous object and enters high alert mode. Bruce, with a gun raised, tell the assailant he doesn’t want to hurt them, and begins to put down his weapon. Out of the shadows begins to emerge the culprit, a rather young girl. Alfred tells her to drop whatever it was that she used to attacked him, to which she replies she can’t. She raises her hands to reveal her weapon, and it appears to be a very large, almost dragon like, reptile claw where her left hand should be.
So Gordon has been hard at work locating The Lady, and I bet he was starting to wonder how many criminals he was going to have to beat up until he got some answers when he finally does. He gets the name the Artemis, an off the books establishment that The Lady likes to frequent. With one more good punch in Jim makes off to have a word or two with this Lady. But he comes up to a problem he can’t solve with his fists. He is going to need a gentler touch with this predicament, as the Artemis is a woman only club, and Jim isn’t going to jive with the atmosphere. As Jim turns around to come up with a better mode of action, he just so happens to bump into his old flame, who happens to swing both ways at times, just about to enter. Barbara pulls Jim aside and gets real straight (no pun intended) with him. He needs information from The Lady, and he needs a lady’s touch to get it. No better lady than Miss Kean, who is dressed to draw stares and maybe distract someone with her beauty enough to get what she needs out of them. Reluctantly he agrees, but you see in him clenching his jaw line that he is getting prepared for any kind of messy situation to assuredly arise.
Back at Karen’s depressing cabin, Alfred gets stitched up as Bruce tries to get answers from Karen about his father. Karen shares with them her tragic story. Born with a crippled arm she was beaten by her drunk of a father until the day she fought back. Which ended with him breaking his neck as he fell down the stairs, and even in self-defense, Karen was sent away to Blackgate for murder. It was there in prison that mysterious men approached her with an offer. They wanted to not just fix her arm, they wanted to make it better through a program only known as Pinewood. Having nothing to lose, Karen agreed to the experimental procedure, one of the every first patients, and one of the only few to survive. Karen awoke to find her arm replaced with the reptile like claw. And remember, she was one of the lucky ones. Once Thomas Wayne got wind of what was occurring at Pinewood he put a stop to it at once Karen tells them. She says how he got the only surviving patients out and shut the program down, as well as setting up each Pinewood patient with a new place to hide out. All this happened about ten years ago, and Bruce needs to know why his father had a meeting scheduled with her days before he was killed. She tells him his father did come to meet her, and tells Bruce of the suspicions he had that Pinewood was back up and working again. Bruce, his wheels still really spinning fast, begs her to take him to the old Pinewood facility and he promises he will keep her safe. And to Alfred’s objections of the plan, Karen agrees.
Gordon, whose best attribute is not his patience, gets restless and tries to find another way in. Sneaking in with some delivery drivers Gordon gets close enough get a peek inside the Artemis before the door lady, the one who told him women only, shows that she is very much on top of her job as she pulls a gun on the intruding Gordon. Before Jim can say much he is bummed rushed by Barbara, who has that all too familiar Harley Quinn-eques sparkle in her eye. Gordon gets tied to chair as The Lady watching on, Barb plays around with Gordon. Sneaky Barbara though manages to get all the information Jim needs out The Lady; she had no idea who contracted the actual hit on the Waynes, but had a name, The Philosopher. As Barbara is about to kill Jim she plays the old switcharoo and takes out The Lady and her door lady as well. Gleaming with a job well done, she lets Jim free and has this look that she can’t wait for their next adventure together.
Karen takes Bruce and Alfred to the remains of the old Pinewood facility. There isn’t much to see, but suddenly thugs appear trying to take them out. Karen uses her left claw and slices one of their necks as Alfred and Bruce take care of the other assailant. Police sirens are heard outside and there is nowhere to run for Bruce, Karen, and Alfred as they are arrested. Outside the Artemis Barbara tries to tell Gordon how all she wants to do is be a good person, and help him. He asks her why, and she tells him of when she woke up, the memories of all the horrible things she had done came rushing back like a nightmare, but the very first thing she saw when she woke up was Jim’s face, as he tried to save her. He saw her and not the monster in this moment. But Gordon tells her, if you want to be a good person then fine, but she will have to do it away from him. Gordon gets a call from Bruce and rushes off as he leaves a dejected Barbara alone in the alleyway.
Gordon gets to the GCPD as they are releasing Alfred and Bruce is inside Barnes’ office, telling him everything. Barnes has Karen moved to Blackgate and Gordon and Bruce swap the information they each found out today. They plan an escape for Karen, who would most likely be murdered before she could testify against anyone involved at Pinewood, who she says she can remember their faces. Gordon has the genius plan to bribe the guards transporting Karen with Bruce’s money, and they look like they are going to successfully get her somewhere safe. Karen overwhelmed by Bruce’s generosity, tells him that there is a reason she didn’t want him to pursue this. The harsh truth was Pinewood was started by Thomas Wayne, with the best intentions, but he was fooled by the men in charge. Pinewood was Thomas’ burden to bare, it didn’t have to be Bruce’s. And after being hit with this reality, the police truck everyone is traveling in gets hit with a cold reality from Mr. Freeze.
Unleashed by Peabody and Strange, Mr. Freeze’s suit looks much more true to form in the metallic and blue and freezing mist that escapes from it. Freeze is there to ensure Karen doesn’t talk, and Karen who decides she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to Bruce, decides to sacrifice herself by giving Freeze what he wants. Frozen and shattered, Bruce feels quite the same way as he watches Karen die right before his eyes. Mr. Freeze makes his getaway by setting off an ice bomb and Gordon, Alfred, and Bruce are left barely alive.
The end of the episode finds Bruce raging on the idea that someone close to his father would deceive him and possible be responsible for his murder. He finds an old picture of his father with some old friends, and Hugo Strange is hard to miss smiling back next to Thomas Wayne. Speaking of, back under Arkham, Strange and Peabody are celebrating. They have accomplished something they have been trying to achieve for years and years. They finally brought a subject back from the dead. The miracle patient? None other than Theo Galavan, who now seems to be going by the name Azrael.
All photos credited to: FOXTV/Gotham