Gotham Season 1 Episode 22 Review – ‘All Happy Families Are Alike’

Martin Carr reviews the season finale of Gotham…

Perched on the prow and majestic in torchlight stood a figurehead. Her vessel advanced with all the ceremony of a Viking burial, only to dispatch them moments later, like tattered detritus onto the banks of a murky Gotham morning. Crunching shingle under foot as she moved the woman approached them. Gathered around burning oil drums they said nothing as she stopped for a moment glancing into the flames. Heat began to gently thaw her fingers in the silence. Standing off to one side was a teenager cloaked in leather. She was used to quietly sizing up her opposition and choosing each syllable with care; today was no different. A seasoned professional barely out of training bras, this older woman represented something new perhaps. As early morning sun bled through the smog Fish cast her blue eye upon the young charge. Her face spoke of long-held grudges, vengeance on a choke chain and blood before sun down. She promised the girl a new day and moved away from the burning embers.

 

 

So begins the season finale of Gotham.

Having reviewed the conclusion of both this and The Strain, it became obvious in the first few minutes which one worked. If Gotham had shown this level of organisational skill early on, it would have been a very different animal. Looking like a throwback to John Carpenter’s Escape From New York crossed with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Pinkett Smith is having a blast. Metal studs down one side of her head, going full on punk with plunging necklines she comes on like the original Death Race 2000.

 

 

Gordon meanwhile goes all Pacino in The Godfather tooling up against his own and the opposition. Doman and Zayas get their moment in the sun while Cory Michael Smith takes a leap off the nearest sanity cliff, helped in part by some natty visual effects. There are homages to The Shining, secret lairs hidden away down darkened corridors and the occasional reference to Roman emperors for good measure. Somehow it seems the narrative weight has been lifted in this final outing. Exposition and character development can be a burden for many and in this case it felt more apparent. That is not to say however that Gotham has been all bad.

Yes the fan boy pressure was unnerving. Sure they wanted something which was never on the table. We all know the arguments. They are all too young. You can’t bring in that character it will never work. Whoever thought this could be entertaining? Then they were picked up by Channel Five. Look, I have stuck with Gotham through thick and thin, even when reviews took a long time to come. Not only because I am contractually obligated but because I am at heart an optimist. In the closing lines of my last review I said something about maintaining cohesion; something it would be wise for me to reiterate here.

 

 

Gotham seems to have found its feet and hit the ground running at last. Let us hope those episodes of needless exposition are banished forever. It is far easier by and large to write nice things. After all no one wants to sit through something they dislike, only to sit down and repeat the experience on paper. Anyway my point is simple; Gotham may never be great, but it has a chance of being good. People will disagree and to them I say be damned. They thought Bridesmaids was good for God’s sake, and you know what, they were wrong. I honestly don’t hold it against them but need those ten minutes of my life back. Seriously, there is no punchline coming I am completely serious. Never have I experienced such a comedy vacuum as I did with that movie. And they put this man in charge of Ghostbusters III?