Gotham 2:22; Transference Review
The conundrum of reviewing Gotham is that, with the show having now embraced its more cartoonish nature, is there a point to to writing reviews of it. Either the viewers get it and are with it, or they’ve tuned out. And every review starts to read the same: it’s absurd. Can you believe this happened? Yeah, then this happened.
I’ve always loved the absurdity. It’s a twisted live action comic book, and it’s inspired by the notion that this is what it is, and I’m glad. That being said, coherence is still a necessary part of telling any good story, and this episode jumped around a bit too much. Too many characters met up with too many other characters at just the moment they needed to. Selena, for example, comes back up from Arkham’s basement just as Gordon is talking to Bruce and Lucius (who were, up until minutes before, were kept in a separate chamber from Gordon) just so that all the main characters can share the information needed to get the plot moving. The Clayface subplot was funny as hell, but what prompted Barbara to show up at the perfect moment at the police station just so that she could quickly tell that the bad copy of Gordon wasn’t actually Gordon. One minute, Nygma is ready to kill our heroes, then he’s helping them, then he’s back in a cell, and well, I’m not even sure. He was put in a cell first, then he started helping them again, and then he was put in a cell. Then I realized that this wasn’t Nygma at all: this was a plot contrivance. And why does Strange’s contact in the Court of Owls wear an owl mask that looks ridiculous. I guess I should have complained about that last episode if I was going to complain about it at all.
Let’s not be too harsh: this episode was very entertaining. Was it very good? I’m not sure. With it being the finale, everything had to come to a head, and yet they still wanted some mysteries left for next season. I’m afraid that in all the absurdities, the characters are losing the more subtle aspects and becoming too broad themselves. Hugo Strange has become so maniacal that he seems awkward in any scene where he is not the puppet master of everything, so seeing him take orders from the Court of Owls and then needing to be rescued all felt “off” somehow. He’s just a cackling Batman villain that’s a pleasure to watch only when he’s in his element.
As a finale, the episode has bit more scope to it, and by scope, I mean that Butch can come onto the scene and shoot things up with a mini-gun. Also as season finale, characters can do things – like completely leave the story – just so we can wonder during the hiatus if they really in fact “left the story,” as is the case with Gordon, who decides to drop everything and go find Lee, who left Gotham City some time ago. As much as the Alfred remarked that this was the right thing to do, I wasn’t convinced at all that Gordon would leave the city considering what happened in this episode.
What did happen in this episode? The monsters that Hugo Strange had been toying with in the basement have escaped, including Fish Mooney, a clone of Bruce Wayne (not a bad Clayface clone either) and Jerome the Proto-Joker himself (heard but not seen in the show’s final moments). As much as we all know how much Gordon misses his girl, it’s impossible to think he would leave now.
This was a super-packed episode, full of strange and absurd moments and labyrinthine plot-twists galore. All of it crammed into 40 minutes somehow, yet the show seemed to work better in those little moments as they happened than as a whole story. To wit, Ben McKenzie gave an inspired performance when he played the fake Clayface version of himself, a performance that would make Shatner proud.
My rating: 3.6/5