The first season finale for Fox’s “Gotham” leaves the series in an interesting place as we wait for season two to begin. While there were some bizarre missteps that were similar in scope to the first few episodes of the series, there were also some cool revelations and Easter eggs for Batman fans that will help to push the characters forward strongly into their sophomore season this fall.
As the episode opens, we’re seeing the chaos created by the war between Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni’s organizations, which leads to the reintroduction of Fish Mooney and, oddly enough, the first flirtation that Selina Kyle makes with outright criminality. The police department has their hands completely full, and the chaos created by the conflict puts Gordon and Bullock in a particularly tight spot. Gordon, who is caught between a rock and a hard place with the mob and the power they wield, finds himself fighting for Carmine Falcone’s life. He sees Falcone as the “least worst option” in maintaining order in the city, since his death would create a power vacuum that would lead to even more chaos.
Meanwhile, one of the more satisfying moments of the episode came at the courtesy of Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma. Following upon the well-established rules of the Riddler’s compulsion and addiction in incessantly leaving clues that self-incriminate, his hint to Miss Kringle in the fabricated note from her former boyfriend has come back to bite him. That makes for a strangely obsessive and creepy monologue that gives the slightest hint at what the Riddler’s ongoing problems will be when he ultimately becomes one of Batman’s most prominent enemies, and Smith did a nice job in balancing the compulsive with the methodical. Riddler usually does question exactly why he does the things that he does, but he always just goes right back to doing them. That’s, ultimately, the source of his rise and fall at the hands of the police, and later, at the hands of Batman.
One thing that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, is the use of Jim’s ex-girlfriend Barbara Kean as a source of horror. While it was competently performed by the involved actresses, the writing just didn’t seem to follow a very logical path, and the outcome raises a lot of strange questions about Jim’s future, and the future of Leslie Thompkins (who still has yet to meet Bruce, which I personally find annoying).
Likely one of the bigger occurrences that will shape the immediate future for the series is a large discovery that Bruce makes while searching through his father’s study, trying to find clues as to what kind of man he really was. Over the last several episodes, Bruce has had to learn a lot of hard truths about his family’s company, and the implication from one corrupt executive that his father was complicit in Wayne Enterprise’s less-than-legal practices has crushed Bruce’s conception of the kind of man Thomas Wayne was. This leads he and Alfred to find something that will define the lives of both of them going forward, and represents perhaps the first major step forward for Bruce on the oath to becoming Gotham’s Dark Knight.
Overall, the episode was an enjoyable one. Although, like the early episodes written by showrunner Bruno Heller, there were some lapses in overall logic to the character interactions of the scenes. Plot was largely fine, but it’s the specifics of certain moments that start to lose me. Still, “Gotham” has become one of Fox’s most popular shows, and hopefully it will be able to carry the momentum into the next season.
Was the finale a home run? No, not really. Still, the events of the first season as a whole will bring me back this fall, and hopefully it will prove to be an interesting next step towards the eventual greatness that’s waiting for both Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne, along with the terrible brand of greatness awaiting the likes of Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Harvey Dent, and the cackling child we saw at the circus.
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