The past few weeks have been very busy and I’m still catching up on the many TV season finales that aired recently. Forgive the lateness of some of these recaps, but I still plan to follow through with shows I’ve followed consistently this season, including ‘Gotham’.
The second season finale episode, ‘Transference’, opens with Harvey sending a SWAT team to Arkham Asylum to rescue Jim Gordon. Before they go in, however, Jim walks out and calls them off. Except that, it’s obviously not Jim. It’s the clayface loony that Prof. Strange disguised as Jim. He’s a really bad actor, but the ruse works anyway. Fake Jim tells Harvey that there’s nothing to see inside and Strange checks out OK. Harvey is confused but doesn’t want to question his friend.
Meanwhile, inside the asylum, Prof. Strange is ordered by his mysterious masters to transfer all of his patients upstate and blow up the building. He grudgingly agrees.
Unaware of this, Ed Nygma continues to toy with Bruce and Lucius. He makes them play a guessing game, and if they get an answer wrong he’ll fill their room with poison gas. His first question is, “Who runs Indian Hill?” When Bruce correctly guesses Wayne Enterprises, Nygma then asks, “Who runs Wayne Enterprises?” Bruce recognizes that this is a trick question, but is stumped as to what the answer could be.
While Ms. Peabody prepares the experiment test subjects for transport, starting with the lowest risk patients first, Prof. Strange gives Jim a truth serum and asks him a lot of personal questions. He tells Jim to imagine that he’s God, and then absolves him of guilt for his sins. When Jim proves to be compliant, Strange asks him who controls Gotham and runs everything behind the scenes. Jim doesn’t understand the question. Strange asks about the “secret council,” but Jim has never heard of it.
When the time limit that Nygma gave them runs out, Bruce and Lucius desperately say that the Board of Directors runs Wayne Enterprises. Nygma tells them that they guessed wrong and pumps the room full of gas. However, rather than die, they merely pass out and wake up a few minutes later in a room with Jim. He tells them what happened to him and apologizes for being such an arrogant fool.
Nygma believes he’ll be rewarded for doing a good job, but Strange just locks him up in a cell again. Strange then reports back to his masked superior with the good news that neither Jim Gordon nor Bruce Wayne knows anything about their Court. Their secret is still safe. The woman orders him to go through with blowing up the asylum anyway.
Alfred charges down to police headquarters demanding to know where Bruce and Lucius are. Fake Jim plays dumb (well, he is dumb) and says that he thought they went home.
Selina finds Bruce and unlocks his room. She also warns him about the bomb.
Ms. Peabody goes to prepare Fish Mooney for transport and allows the woman to touch her hand. She instantly falls under Fish’s control and releases her. Fish’s first order of business is to confront Prof. Strange. He runs, locks down the asylum, and sets the countdown timer on the bomb for 30 minutes.
Barbara goes to police headquarters to talk to Jim. She’s much smarter than Harvey or Alfred, and immediately recognizes that Fake Jim is an imposter. She slaps him across the face, leaving a huge imprint in his rubbery flesh. Realizing what happened, Harvey orders SWAT back to the asylum.
Prof. Strange orders Mr. Freeze to kill the other captives, including Selina. This leads to a standoff with Firefly, who won’t let her servant/friend be harmed. In a very comic book-y moment, Freeze and Firefly shoot their respective ice and fire weapons directly at each other, the beams canceling each other out. As they continue to battle, Strange is hit in the crossfire by both weapons.
Jim, Bruce and Lucius arrive to find Strange barely still alive. He says he’s willing to die, and won’t tell them how to disarm the bomb, even though the explosion could possibly cause a radioactive cloud that will kill most of the city. He says that risk is worth it to prevent his monsters from getting out.
Nygma claims to know where the bomb is and how to get to it. He deactivates security throughout the building, which allows Fish Mooney to escape driving a bus filled with Strange’s experiments.
Lucius and Jim run to the bomb but have no idea how to disarm it. They find Ms. Peabody in the room, sitting on the floor like she’s just coming around from the spell she was under. She mutters, “Water.” Lucius pours water on the bomb, shorting out the circuitry and stopping the timer. (Even by comic book logic, this seems like a stretch.) Relieved, they turn back to Peabody, who it turns out was just asking for a drink.
SWAT storms the building. Nygma is locked in a cage again and Strange is arrested. On the streets, a cop car chases Fish Mooney’s prison transport bus when both are fired upon by a Gatling machine gun. The bus crashes. The machine gun is wielded by Butch, who struts up to it with Penguin and a bunch of henchmen. Penguin expects to find Prof. Strange inside. Instead, Fish Mooney reveals herself. Flabbergasted, Penguin exclaims, “Impossible!” Fish touches his face, putting him under her spell, and says, “Nothing is impossible.” Butch and his gang run away.
In wrap-up scenes, Jim announces that he’s leaving Gotham to go find Lee. (He’ll be back as soon as he finds out that she’s Deadpool’s girl now.) Bruce resolves to uncover the secret council pulling the strings behind Gotham.
A homeless woman comes across the bus. (Did the police really not secure the crime scene?) She opens the door, releasing all of Strange’s monsters into the city. They’re all photographed out of focus so that we can’t see them clearly (and so the show’s writers can worry about thinking up the specifics next season) – except for one. A boy who looks exactly like Bruce Wayne with long hair leans into view, thanks the woman, and walks off.
What the what?!
The finale episode does its job, in that it wraps up most of the season’s storylines and sets up a new one. However, it’s unsatisfying on the whole. The plotting feels perfunctory and is filled with silly contrivances, like the business about shorting out the bomb with water or the monsters all still being left on the bus. It’s also disappointing how badly Penguin’s presence on the show was reduced this season following the pointless story thread about his crazy family.
Since he wasn’t killed, I take it that we’ll see Prof. Strange again. It also appears that Fish Mooney will be a major player again next season, which I’m sure will annoy a big portion of the show’s fan base.
As for the mind-screw twist with the second Bruce Wayne, I have to assume that he’s either an evil twin or a clone. Neither option seems very appealing. Of the two, the idea of a twin brother feels like the bigger cheat, because I can’t imagine how or why Bruce’s parents would hide the existence of a brother from him. A clone, though? That’s not very good either.
The show’s second season was pretty messy and not all of the storylines (especially in this second half of the season) worked out very well. Regardless, I’ll still tune in again next year and hope that the writers can pull things back together.