It has been a bumpy-old ride; from the urban gloom of series one to the cartoonish capers of series two, Gotham has steered an uneven course, veering from absurdity to brilliance, sometimes in the same episode – hell, in the same scene.
We’ve seen characters painstakingly introduced then discarded, others plonked into the action for no apparent reason, and some of the regulars showing a complete lack of coherence. But the bits of brilliance, not just the Batman fan service but also the sheer invention and madness of the show, have made up for a lot.
This episode wasn’t a great finale. The action kind of peaked with the destruction of Azrael, and we didn’t expect anything to top that; there were too many strings to tie up an no opportunity for anything to go off at a tangent.
Last we saw, Bruce and Lucius were being interrogated by Ed Nygma, Jim had been duplicated by ‘Clayface’, and Selina had narrowly avoided being incinerated by Firefly. But Strange gets orders to pull out of Arkham and blow everything up, so we’re set for a tense finale.
Strange’s interrogation of Jim goes on too long, slowing the action, and seems to be trying to bring about some sort of redemption for Gordon, who has been travelling along successively darker paths; that he decides in the end to leave Gotham in search of Lee is presumably the end of this phase of his character development.
We enjoyed the performance of Jim/Clayface, so over-the-top that even nutty Barbara recognized that it wasn’t Jim; having pulled back from Arkham, Bullock then has to steam back in to save the day. But in fact it’s Fish Mooney who saves everyone, breaking out with a busload of maniacs as Firefly and Mr Freeze face off in a special effects extravaganza.
Also fun was the brutal machine-gunning of the prison bus – a reminder that the old-time gangsters are still a force to be reckoned with.
We’re still not quite sure how Fish Mooney’s cuttlefish genes give her the power to control others, but it’s fun to see her wrapping Miss Peabody around her little finger, and we look forward to seeing how her powers will develop next season, and to how she’ll come to terms with Penguin.
But we suspect that with the end of Indian Hill and the Professor Strange plot, by the start of the next season, several years will have passed. The refugees from Arkham will have needed time to adjust, Gordon will have needed time to resolve things with Lee and rejoin GCPD, and Fish Mooney will have needed time to reestablish herself. We bet that there’ll be an estrangement between Bruce and Selina, and that Bruce will have dug deeper into his father’s files, found out more about the going-on in Waynecorp,and positioned himself to do something about it.
Then there’s the wild card – the spooky Bruce-alike seen disembarking from the prison bus. A long-lost identical twin? A clone? A Clayface-type imitator? We won’t know until next season. Scuttlebutt has it that we can also expect a bigger part for Poison Ivy (played by a different actress), and the introduction of DC Comics character Vicki Vale and Mad Hatter.
If all goes as we suspect, Gotham will become even more comic-book and Gothic then, and will perhaps lose any viewer who isn’t a superhero fanatic. When the cops finally realize that they can’t deal with the forces Strange has unleashed, it will indeed be a whole new kettle of Fish.
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