TV Review: Gotham - Season 2 Finale "Transference"
Episode 22: "Transference"
Synopsis: While Gordon, Bruce and Lucius remain at Indian Hill, the city of Gotham will be met with a new threat as Hugo Strange’s inmates devise a plan to escape and start their new lives in Gotham.
Recap: From the beginning, Gotham tried way too hard to be a gritty and serious police procedural take on the iconic Batman comic books. While the ratings remained good, fanboys were enraged at the lackluster execution of the mythology in comparison to series like Arrow and The Flash. When season two rolled around, showrunner Bruno Heller and his writing staff took off the training wheels and started to get kind of goofy with the material. While it remained uneven for most of the sophomore run, Gotham certainly upped the ante on the insanity by opening a Pandora's Box of villains during tonight's finale. While the two halves of the season never quite lived up to their subtitles (Rise of the Villains and Wrath of the Villains), they definitely have set themselves up for the third season to be the craziest and most Batman-like yet.
The season finale picks up immediately after the events of the previous episode with Clayface impersonating Bruce Wayne and our heroes all imprisoned within Arkham Asylum. Hugo Strange gives Jim Gordon a truth serum to find out what he knows about Indian Hill and Wayne Enterprises while Ed Nygma interrogates Lucius Fox and Bruce under penalty of poison gas. Both scenarios end with the reveal that no one but Hugo Strange knows about the mysterious Court of Owls revealed last week but that is not enough for the shadowy council who orders Hugo Strange to kill everyone in Arkham and Indian Hill. Strange seems reserved about this decision but he also fears his overseers and does what they ask. He sets a bomb in the basement of the facility while evacuating all of his experiments to move them upstate.
But, the wrench in the works is none other than Fish Mooney. Using her new superpowers of persuasion, Mooney manages to get herself free and forces Hugo Strange to set his bomb early. Leaving his experiments and prisoners behind, Strange finds himself stuck between Mr. Freeze and Firefly who vie for the life of Selina Kyle. Strange is injured in the fight and reveals that the radioactive materials are still in Indian Hill. If the bomb goes off, the nuclear fallout could reach Gotham. Strange concedes failure but Gordon and Lucius Fox head back inside with Ed Nygma to stop the detonation. Fish Mooney makes her way out and comandeers a bus loaded with Strange's experiments. Back at the GCPD, Barbara Kean shows up and deduces the strange behavior from Gordon is because he is not who he says he is. Bullock organizes a squad to head to Arkham, along with Alfred, to save his friend and stop Strange. At the same time, Penguin and Butch see the news of Strange's plan and they head to stop the bus.
When all is said and done, Gordon and Fox manage to difuse the bomb thanks to an accidental comment from Ms. Peabody as she asks for a cup of water. Not very realistic, but it was well executed. With Strange in custody, Gordon tells Bullock about the bus full of monsters. The cops try to head it off, but it is Butch and his thugs armed with a gatling gun that takes down the vehicle. Penguin thinks he is going to get his revenge on Hugo Strange but finds the very much alive Fish Mooney instead. Her touch knocks Penguin out and Butch scatters in fear. Fish then walks off, presumably to be a villain next season. Back at Arkham, Gordon bids farewell to everyone and promises he will return someday but he must find Lee and tell her he loves her. Bullock is left in charge of the GCPD and the hunt for the monsters while Alfred is convinced that Bruce's crime-fighting days are over. But, Bruce now knows of the existence of the Court of Owls and will not stop until the conspiracy on top of the Wayne Enterprises conspiracy on top of the Indian Hill conspiracy is resolved. Did you follow that?
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit because it really went batshit crazy and fast. From Ben McKenzie acting like a bizarro version of Clayface as Jim Gordon to the myriad of villains who made it on screen, this episode threw everything at us to try and make a case for another season. While I do not think the promise of the wrath of the villains really lived up to what I was expecting, we definitely got a rise of the villains. In fact, the final scene really sets the stage for what comes next. A homeless woman opens the door of the crashed bus and unleashes multiple horrifying monstrosities. While we cannot make out exactly who or what these characters are, one appears to be a doppelganger for Bruce Wayne but with long hair. The real kicker is in the background you can clearly hear the unmistakable laugh of The Joker.
This season was definitely a step up from last year but still felt incredibly uneven. The more serialized approach worked in making the show more palatable and less dour by injecting some fun into the mix. Gotham has tended to take itself way too seriously and not apply the pulpy fun that makes The CW superhero shows fun to watch. I am definitely going to tune in next season to see what comes next but only because this finale sets up the potential to bring us characters we have never seen before. Who is the mysterious Bruce clone? How will the Court of Owls play into everything? Will Bruce finally begin some underaged vigilante activity? It all hinges on if the writers can find a worthy hook to capture out attention but they also risk wasting the talents of our main villain characters by introducing too many new ones. Still, I want to see how they will execute The Joker and some of these other monsters lurking in the shadows.
Episode Final Verdict:
Season Final Verdict:
Next Episode: Gotham returns for Season 3 in Fall 2016