“Pinewood” does a great job at setting up Gordon, Bruce and company to go up against the threat of Hugo Strange, it also presents a great upcoming obstacle with its final moment.
The search for the serial killer known as The Ogre continues with Gordon on edge, convinced that his loved one, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, may be in imminent danger. This turns out to be a very clever misdirect that brings Barbara back into the main story. The episode’s most interesting development comes when The Ogre realizes the truth and is left to consider whether or not he should kill her. At this point Barbara is so deep in her self loathing that The Ogre actually begins to see her as a romantic candidate instead of a simple victim, which makes this possibly the strangest meet-cute on television.
Following the winding down of “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon”, the season continues with an episode that stabilizes the narrative with a case of the week hinting at the iconic Batman villain, The Scarecrow. Unfortunately his characterization is undermined with a poorly-executed exposition dump that feels unearned and unclear; the episode is much more concerned with reinforcing the shifted dynamics that were established in the previous episode. It’s not uncommon for a series to spin its wheels at times during a 22 episode season, but what is disappointing is that it does so here without giving a worthwhile character his due.
The season enters a new arc on Gotham as the fallout of last week’s episode, “Penguin’s Umbrella”, begins to take effect. Gordon tried to take down Falcone and failed, but managed to set an example of what a good cop is capable of and also shed a light on how inactive the Gotham City Police Department is, as none of his colleagues came to aid Gordon against Victor Zsasz. This brings out some interesting development between Gordon and Captain Sarah Essen, who regrets not braving the storm with him. The example that he has set has also affected Bullock, who’s now on Team Gordon, which is a highlight of the episode, in particular when Bullock gives a rallying speech to the GCPD.