As we come up on the season finale of ‘Gotham’, I feel like even the characters on the show are confounded by the plotting. More than one of them this week questions the motivations or logic of another, before ultimately shrugging it off and pretending that the plot makes sense anyway.
I’m not sure if this was a local or a national issue, but I wasn’t able to watch the show during its Monday broadcast this week, because the first 15 minutes aired with the dialogue channel completely missing from the soundtrack. I had to wait a day and catch it on Fox’s streaming app, which was also unsatisfying. The app only plays in basic stereo sound, and locked me into watching the same three unskippable commercials over and over at every break. Thanks for nothing, Fox.
As for the episode itself…
Who Gives a Hoot?
The Shaman brings Bruce Wayne to a council meeting of the Court of Owls, and chides the members that they’ve been naughty, naughty boys and need to be punished. One of them asks him something to the effect of, “What are you talking about? Aren’t you our leader?” Then a bunch of ninjas come from out of nowhere and kill them all. For a moment, I thought it was suspicious that Kathryn wasn’t at the meeting, but then I remembered that Barnes decapitated her last week, which would make her attendance a little difficult.
Following the map from the crystal owl statue, Jim, Harvey and Alfred (who’s basically an unofficial cop at this point) raid the Court chambers too late and find carnage at the scene. One of the Court members is still alive and blurts out something about Bruce Wayne being responsible. Alfred refuses to believe that his young master could have been involved in such unpleasantness.
Jim gets sidelined for the rest of the episode when he receives word that Lee returned home. This leaves Harvey and Alfred to follow up on the Court business on their own. (Where is Lucius this week?) They follow clues that lead them to Bruce and the Shaman meeting with Prof. Strange, who has brought them a bomb to disperse the weaponized Tetch virus all through the city. The Shaman tells Bruce that he serves someone else. (It won’t take much effort to guess who.) He also expects Bruce to detonate the bomb himself.
When Harvey and Alfred arrive to bust up the scene, Strange calmly surrenders. Alfred chases after Bruce and the Shaman. Bruce won’t let him shoot the Shaman, nor will he go back with Alfred. He’s clearly not himself. (Funny how Alfred doesn’t even consider the possibility that this could be the clone.) After Bruce leaves with the Shaman, Alfred is left shaken by the encounter.
Later, while Harvey is preoccupied with Jim’s storyline (more on that in a minute), Alfred (who, again, is not actually a cop) interrogates Strange and demands to know what happened to Bruce and where the bomb is. When Strange won’t talk, he takes him up to the roof and dangles him over the ledge. He also offers to help Strange escape police custody. Strange tells him that Bruce’s mind is no longer his own. He belongs to the Shaman now.
After escaping from the Court, Ed Nygma returns to see Barbara, Tabitha and Butch, and informs them that Penguin is still alive. They shrug this off as being more Ed’s problem than theirs, but he claims that Penguin holds them all equally responsible for betraying him.
Penguin, meanwhile, is holed up with Ivy and Selina. He’s also furious that his army of freaks are nowhere to be found when he needs them. As he whines about this, Ed and Butch barge into Penguin’s mansion. The time is up on their truce, and Ed has come to finish the job he failed at earlier. Penguin has a trick up his sleeve, however. He and Ivy slip away as the house goes into lockdown. Selina bolts out through a window, but Tabitha captures her outside.
Penguin moans some more about there being no code of honor among villains, and about his lack of a monster army. Stupid Ivy admits to having told Selina where they’d go, which means that now Barbara knows. Ed and Barbara soon arrive with guns.
Penguin refuses to call Ed “The Riddler,” which he thinks is a stupid name. This enrages Ed. However, before he can act on his anger, who should arrive on the scene but the long-absent Fish Mooney? She takes Penguin into her own custody.
Six Feet Under
Fearing that Lee infected herself with the Tetch virus (why would that even seem like a possibility?), Jim goes to her house to ask her what the hell she’s thinking and beg her to get help. Of course, he finds her infected. Lee tries to seduce him in a really creepy way and says that the virus brought out her love for him. Then she knocks him unconscious and loads him into the trunk of her car.
Lee turns up next at the GCPD station – which, as always, has absolutely zero security to keep raving villains out. She boasts about having locked Jim in a casket and buried him alive. Over a walkie talkie, she tells Jim that he has about an hour’s worth of air. She says that she’s left a syringe of the Tetch virus in the box with him. His only hope of escape is to inject himself and find his darkness.
Jim resists as he holds out hope that Harvey will find and rescue him. However, as his time and air run out, he relents and doses himself, then punches his way out of the coffin. By the time Harvey finds the spot where he was buried, Jim is already gone. Seeing an empty syringe on the ground, Harvey calls the GCPD and warns them that Jim is infected and may be on his way. Lee, of course, escapes in the middle of all this, but not before revealing that the bomb will detonate at 5 PM in Union Station.
Instead of going to the GCPD, Jim heads straight for the train station and makes a scene.
Alfred finds Bruce and the Shaman at Wayne Enterprises. He shoots the Shaman and begs Bruce not to detonate the bomb, but Bruce defiantly pushes the plunger anyway. The wounded Shaman tells Bruce to find the “Demon’s Head.” Any fan of ‘Batman’ mythology will take this as confirmation that the Shaman’s boss is the supervillain known as Ra’s al Ghul.
The episode ends with Jim in the room when the bomb goes off. A cloud of red smoke rises from the building and begins spreading throughout the city.
This episode feels strangely half-hearted. I think that even the show’s writers have given up caring much about it. The storylines make very little sense and are obviously contrived just to set up the finale.
Lee infecting herself with the virus is simply ludicrous. If Jim is also infected now, then obviously a cure must be forthcoming. The hero of the series can’t turn into a monster for more than a brief gimmick plot twist.
The Shaman’s motivations for killing off the Court of Owls – which he runs! – are unfathomable. Are we supposed to take it that the Court is done for? Are they all dead? If so, that whole storyline feels like a gigantic waste of time.
Likewise, Bruce being so easily brainwashed by the Shaman makes me think that all his character development up to this point has been for naught – and also leaves me questioning what the purpose of the clone storyline was.
I seriously doubt that the finale can resolve any of these issues satisfactorily, or will even try.