Gotham Season 2 Finale Plot Summary:
Basil impersonates Gordon (Ben McKenzie) at the GCPD, while Hugo Strange (BD Wong) faces immense pressure to unlock what Gordon knows about their operation at Arkham. Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) attempts to use her new powers to escape, while Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) is hell bent on revenge against Strange.
Good season finales tend to be action packed, and that’s certainly what we got here. I stated in the last review that Hugo Strange’s world would crumble, and boy does it ever. Not without some twists and turns though. There’s no doubt Strange was the highlight of the second half of season two. We see him with immense power and severe vulnerability all throughout this episode. As all great villains do though, even in their most evil moments, they speak some serious truths. For all of Strange’s manipulation and mad scientist shenanigans, he had the greatest affect on Jim Gordon.
One of the elements I love most about this show is how they mirror the young Jim Gordon to Batman. He puts Gotham City first, second and third. He’s stubborn as hell, and constantly finds himself in moral quandaries. After everything Gordon’s been through, we get a wholly satisfying conclusion to his season long arc – restoring his humanity. Even though it will last about two seconds, his decision felt appropriate to end the season on. This also had a ripple effect on Alfred, giving us a line of dialogue that epitomizes what Alfred wants more than anything. This is another reminder for people who still hem and haw that the show is too villain heavy. This is Jim Gordon’s show.
Speaking of Jim Gordon, let’s talk about…Jim Gordon. This was the big cliffhanger from last week, where Strange’s most ludicrous experiment (I’m calling him Clayface, I don’t care) takes on the moniker of the good detective to throw the GCPD off Strange’s tail. This was a damn good performance by Ben McKenzie. It could have easily been hammed up to the point of no return, but McKenzie found a humorous, yet deranged balance. It was funny, yet uncomfortable. It was almost as if Clayface wanted to get found out, and that’s what made it so funny. The character who ultimately figures out this isn’t Gordon was also a great call. Out of all the characters on the show, this person knows him the best. Brilliant. I’d love to see more of Clayface, but it will be a tough feat to pull off.
We’ve got plenty of other villains to cover though, so relax. Oswald was back in his element, completely in control of Butch (Drew Powell) and the gang. Barbara (Erin Richards) and he were a brilliant pairing. I guarantee that will be a huge staple of season three. Then there’s Fish Mooney, who was both a strength and weakness. While I enjoyed her role in the finale, there was almost too much weight placed on her. She just returned in the previous episode, and all of a sudden she’s a huge factor in all this. Her scenes were well written, so I’ll give it a pass. Her best moment came with a particular reunion. It was quick and painful. Perfect.
The villain who stood out most was, surprise, surprise, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). He’s been killing it all year, so it’s only fitting he get a grand finale. While I didn’t love the ho-hum set up from the previous episode, Smith really elevated the material here. He was The Riddler. His demeanor was right out of the Arkham games, and even emulated the best of what Jim Carrey did. My favorite part to all this was watching Bruce break down his mind games. That was a Batman/Riddler showdown. Awesome.
The episode started out slow, but ramped-up well, including some great Bullock (Donal Logue) moments, per usual. They definitely set up two great story lines for season three. I’ll have to watch this one again, because I feel like I missed twenty Easter Eggs in the last scene alone. As we close out Gotham’s sophomore year, I had an epiphany about this show. As much I like Gordon and all the great takes on these villains, it all goes back to Batman. Bruce Wayne is a fantastic character. You clearly see the Batman-isms, but he still remains a kid who will grow up to be Batman. The relationship between Bruce and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is dead on. What great finds those two actors were. While inconsistent at times, this is why I want the show to go on for ten years. I want to see this Bruce Wayne become Batman.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.