Gotham season 2 episode 18 review: Pinewood

It’s great that Bruce Wayne is using his detective skills, but is Gotham is racing through material too quickly?

This review contains spoilers

2.18: Pinewood

Holy chipolatas for breakfast, Batman! Now that Jim Gordon has cleared his name with impressive speed, he’s decided to press ahead with his Wayne murders investigation. And with Thomas Wayne’s old computer finally waking up, Bruce Wayne, Alfred and Lucius Fox are helping out as well. Of all of the Gotham episodes we’ve seen so far, this is probably the one that has felt most like a Batman story.

Bruce is in the thick of the action this week, picking locks using his ‘morally neutral’ skillset, sneaking off while Alfred is turned the other way, and gradually coaxing information out of the scaly-handed Karen Jennings (who isn’t a character from the comics, as much as I wanted her to become Killer Croc).

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Seeing Bruce embrace the ‘World’s Greatest Detective’ side of Batman was an utter treat, and a welcome reminder of how perfectly cast David Mazouz is in the part. Whether it’s a big emotional moment or a quiet conversation, young Mr Mazouz is always good value. And it’s nice to see some genuine detective work in the show, rather than the ‘Jim Gordon special’ of pointing guns and demanding information.

One of Gotham’s biggest issues raised its head again this week, though. The show really does seem to be burning through characters and storylines at a rate of knots. I wasn’t expecting to see Hugo Strange uncovered quite so quickly, and now it’s probably only a matter of weeks before Jim and Bruce find a way to stop him.

There’s a sense of déjà vu, I’d argue, as we’ve already seen the dynamic duo find, confront and defeat one person who was trying to create a stable of supervillains this season – Theo Galavan. On the topic of which, he’s back!

The scene following Galavan’s revival was very effective, I thought, with the lights flashing on and off as the unhinged Galavan went to town on Strange’s employees. There was something entrancing about about James Frain’s manic turn, despite the fleeting nature of his screen-time. I’m verily looking forward to next week’s episode now. I’ve been finding Hugo Strange a bit boring, but an unstable undead guy on a revenge mission should liven things up a bit.

Erin Richards also brought plenty of unhinged-ness to the table this week, as Barbara was released from Arkham and immediately attempted to rekindle things with Jim in her own barmy way. Of course there’s no chance Jim will ever take her back, but her attempt to please him this week was really fun to watch (especially the scenes where she acted up to Michelle Gomez’s Lady).

Overall, then, despite the worry that Gotham races through all its plots a little too quickly, I found Pinewood to be a highly enjoyable hour of telly. We were spoilt for choice with a bevvy of guest stars (Julia Taylor Ross was particularly impressive as Karen, making it a shame that she was smashed to smithereens in the end), as well as a strong investigation plotline that allowed Bruce and Jim to chase justice in their own unique ways.

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Gotham may run the risk of fizzling out by cramming this much into every episode, but for now it’s burning very bright indeed.

Read Kayti’s review of the previous episode, Into The Woods, here.