Gotham Episode 22: All Happy Families are Alike Review

Well here we are! After twenty two episodes, we’re finally here at the finale of the first season of Gotham. The first season has been a bumpy ride to say the least. It had its fair share of both good(Penguin’s Umbrella, What the Little Bird Told Him) and bad(The Mask, The Blind Fortune Teller) episodes. We’ve had memorable villains like the Scarecrow and Penguin, and forgettable ones such as… what was that guy in The Mask called again? I can’t really remember. There are still dozens of loose ends to be tied up in a forty minute episode and if the show’s creators aren’t careful, we could be left with a bad taste in our mouth by the end. So, does the season finale manage to end the first season with a bang and end all the little arcs that have been progressing throughout the season gracefully? Or does it handle its plot elements with all the grace of a fish flopping about helplessly on land? Let’s find out!

The finale gets off to a great start with Falcone being attacked and captured by Penguin while checking on his chickens. You’d think with his experience he’d be more cautious… Anyway, Penguin is just about to take his life and steal his status until Gordon bursts in, stopping him and Butch. Apart from being strictly against killing unless absolutely necessary, Gordon has decided he wants to keep Falcone alive as he’s the lesser of the four evils, Penguin, Falcone, Maroni and Fish, who are fighting to take control of the city. I really liked this, as it shows that Gordon has been worn down by all the corruption in Gotham and is willing to let it continue instead of going on a suicide mission to try and stop it all like he did at the start of the season. However, I do think he was waaaay too chummy with Falcone this episode, and vice versa. Remember when Falcone kidnapped your ex girlfriend Gordon? Remember when Gordon broke into your house and held you at gunpoint Falcone? You’d think it would be a reluctant relationship at best but they make an unbelievable couple of pals throughout the episode.

So, after an action-packed fight with some of Maroni’s men come to kill Falcone, Penguin, Butch and Bullock are all roped in together as they head to one of Falcone’s safe houses. Unfortunately, Fish-who is apparently completely fine after getting shot in her previous appearance-is waiting for them and captures all of them. Maroni arrives and dies pretty quickly after pissing Fish off and not taking her seriously giving them all the chance to escape. And they do… for five seconds! They make a pathetic attempt to hide in a container and are instantly recaptured. Penguin managed to find a machine gun however and starts attacking Fish’s men giving them all another chance to escape. Falcone says he doesn’t want to be a gang boss any more which disappoints Jim as well as me. You’d think after his brutal actions in ‘What the Little Bird Told Him’ he’d be more raring to go than ever before but he was surprisingly tame after that. Well, I suppose his weird attraction to chickens would cause problems for him. Oh, and Selina was part of Fish’s gang for this episode. That was a thing.

Jim Gordon’s arc for this episode was incredibly chaotic and unorganised, though certainly thrilling. From a story point of view, this episode was a complete mess, though there are still plenty of good points which make this episode much better. Mainly, the showdown between Fish and Penguin at the end. The fight is intense but eventually it comes down to one of my favourite characters: Butch. He’s eventually forced to choose between shooting Fish or Penguin, his loyalty, or his psychological conditioning. Comically, he finds a compromise by shooting them both in the knee, but Penguin is used to being crippled and uses this chance to push Fish of the roof presumably killing her. I loved how Butch had such a pivotal role in this episode and Penguin was excellent as always, but Fish wasn’t the only thing Penguin threw off the roof. All the character development she’d done up to that point, all the episodes we’d watch her use her cunning to escape the Dollmaker’s island were also thrown off. It makes her huge story arc seem pretty pointless, but oh well, at least they didn’t kill off Penguin.

As well as this, the main arc is occasionally broken up by a few short scenes featuring Bruce and *sigh* Barbara and Leslie. Bruce doesn’t really do much, he continues to search for any secrets his father had in the library, much to the exasperation of Alfred. Eventually he finds a secret passage and we’re left on a cliffhanger. It’s nothing brilliant, but it was a hundred times better than what we saw of Barbara and Leslie. Barbara, who is very obviously insane, asks Leslie to be her psychologist after the whole ‘Ogre’ incident. They talk for a while about Gordon and ‘The Ogre’ pretty much having a verbal catfight with each other that was downright painful to watch. In the end, Barbara flips out and attacks Leslie in a hilariously bad fashion. She manages to fight her off just as Gordon comes in and that’s what we’re left with for the finale. I pray to god that Barbara disappears, for at least the first half of Season Two.

So, did I enjoy the finale of the first season of Gotham? Yes, and no. While the episode was certainly entertaining to watch, it left me very dissatisfied at the end. Bruce’s arc felt like it was just setting up for the second season, and personally felt very out-of-place to me in the finale. I need not say any more about Barbara and Leslie. The main arc started good, plummeted, and then ended on a high note with the fight between Fish and Penguin at the end and Butch’s frantic decision. However, even this had its bad points, completely destroying all of Fish’s development up to this point. Oh well, at least the finale didn’t forget about Nygma who was brilliant as always. Overall, the finale could of been a lot worse, but it also could of been a hell of a lot better. Hopefully Season Two will start on a much higher note.

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