in Television

‘Gotham’ Season 1 Finale Recap: “All Happy Families Are Alike”

gotham all happy families are alike

The finale episode of Gotham begins with Selina Kyle is warming her hands over a fire with her fellow homeless people when sees something out in the distance on the water… It’s Fish Mooney! So she did get out of the Dollmaker and the Catcher’s clutches safely. She docks the small boat and she and the others who were imprisoned on the Dollmaker’s island get on dry land. Fish joins Selina in warming her hands and Selina is obviously intrigued by her. After a brief conversation, Fish warns her that a “new day” is coming.

Meanwhile, at the Wayne manor, Bruce is still hung up on the fact that his dad was in on the corruption going on with Wayne Enterprises. He continues to search his dad’s office to uncover more secrets. He and Alfred tear up the office with no luck until Bruce remembers something Lucius Fox had once told him — that Lucius had called his father a “stoic.” He searches through one of his father’s philosophy books and finds a remote hidden inside its back cover. Bruce pushes the small button and classical music begins to play, while the fireplace recedes into the wall to reveal an underground cellar. Bruce and Alfred are both, needless to say, in awe.

Back at the police archives, Bullock informs Jim that Falcone has been hospitalized due to an attack by Maroni, and that all the major power players of the Gotham law system have also sided with Maroni. Jim knows what he has to do and heads over to the hospital to prevent Falcone’s death at the hands of Maroni. Harvey has no clue why Jim is so intent on saving Falcone, and Jim explains: “He’s a bad man, but he’s the best bad man we’ve got.”

gotham selina

The Penguin beats Jim into paying Falcone a visit, and admits to Falcone that he was the cause of the war. He is about to slit Falcone’s throat with a scalpel before Jim walks in and holds the Penguin and his henchman Butch at gunpoint. Jim frees Falcone and asks for his help in turning the civil gang war against Maroni again. Falcone agrees and requests a couple of days at his safe house to get Gotham back under control. Meanwhile, Jim arrests the Penguin and Butch for attempted murder, leaving them as fresh meat for Maroni to finish off. But the Penguin calls up that favor Jim had promised him, and even though Jim is regretful, he keeps his promise and frees them. Maroni’s men are closing in on the hospital now, but Jim somehow single-handedly takes out several of Maroni’s men and smuggles Falcone, the Penguin, and Butch out in an ambulance.

They go to an abandoned warehouse, which is not as abandoned as they thought. They are met by Selina, who is debuting a new pompadour hairdo. Fish also debuts her own half-shaven and studded new hair shortly afterwards, much to everyone’s surprise (at her being alive, not at her hair). But really, Fish must’ve treated Selina to a salon visit or something because they’re besties now apparently. Fish has Jim, the Penguin and Falcone tied up for execution and tells them about the deal she has with Maroni: she gets her territories back if she brings him Falcone’s head. She also threatens to kill the Penguin for his mistreatment of Butch (their shared second-in-command), and then threatens to kill Jim.

Maroni later drops by to collect his loot, but before anything goes down, the Penguin takes the time to turn Fish and Maroni against each other by warning Fish that after Falcone is dead, Maroni will come after her. Maroni corrects the Penguin by telling him that Fish is really an underboss, ergo no big-time boss rivalry. Wrong move, Maroni. This doesn’t please Fish to know that she’s second rate. Maroni’s asshole demeanor irks Fish to the point that she shoots him dead in the forehead, sparking an arms war in the warehouse between Maroni and Fish’s gangs. Falcone, Jim, and the Penguin take this time to release themselves. Jim and Falcone escape while the Penguin goes after Fish. He finds her on the roof and they fight while one tries to push the other over the ledge of the building into the icy water beneath.

Eventually, each has a chokehold on the other, and their second-in-command henchman Butch arrives with a gun pointed in their direction. He isn’t sure which boss to shoot and he’s in a stressed out panic when he ends up shooting each in the leg. He hysterically apologizes to Fish, who sympathetically babies and pities him for having to deal with the Penguin. The Penguin takes this distraction into his own hands and manages to push Fish off the ledge once and for all. He is now the “King of Gotham,” and makes that clear to the skyline as Butch watches him in disbelief.

gotham ed nygma

At the police department, Kristen Kringle confronts Ed Nygma about the letter her boyfriend wrote her when he broke up with her. The letters of every first line spell out Nygma’s name, and she is suspicious that Nygma may have something to do with her boyfriend’s disappearance. Kringle, you’re on to something. Nygma did in fact stab her boyfriend to death, but believed he was in the clear because no one witnessed the murder and he managed to dispose of the body properly. Kringle is disturbed at her new discovery and leaves Nygma alone in the room. He loses his mind after she leaves and has an inner conflict about his feelings for her, his impulse for riddles, the murder itself, and how much cops can be assholes. He ends up laughing hysterically at his mental breakdown, and this leads me to believe we’ll have our Riddler by next season.

In the examination room, Dr. Lee Thompkins (Jim’s current girlfriend) is checking up on Barbara (Jim’s ex-girlfriend) after her incident with the Ogre. While Lee tells Barbara that she is physically recovered, she also says she needs to see a trauma counselor. Barbara makes it clear that she wants Tompkins to be her counselor, and this makes Lee a tad bit uneasy, yet she agrees to meet Barbara at her apartment for counseling sessions.

At Barbara’s apartment, she tells Lee that she sometimes thinks that life is a dream, that the Ogre will come back from the dead and be after her. But she also admits that she liked him knowing who she was from the second he met her, even though he scared her. She tells Lee about her time with him, and explains the night of her parents’ murder. She begins to tell her how awful her childhood was, and reveals that she was actually the one who killed them, not just the Ogre. Lee gets uncomfortable at this discovery, and runs out of the room when Barbara brandishes a knife in her face. Lee locks herself in the bathroom as Barbara loses her marbles and bashes in the door. They fight until Lee knocks Barbara unconscious. At the same time Jim, Harvey and Falcone walk in (I’m assuming because Lee called Jim for help, not because Falcone wanted to check out Barbara’s crib).

Jim comforts Lee and is troubled to find out that Barbara had lost her sanity. But the whole ordeal is over sooner than later and Jim joins Falcone on Barbara’s balcony. Falcone tells Jim that he’s decided to retire from the mafia scene, and claims that Gotham needs an honest, lawful man to save it. He gives Jim a knife as a gift, and tells him it was actually Jim’s father’s. The two were close, and Falcone reveals that Jim’s father was “the most honest man he ever met. But he carried a knife.” He walks away and leaves Jim on the balcony to mull over the future of his time cleaning up Gotham.

So there’s plenty of cliffhangers at the end of this season. Falcone, Fish and Maroni are all out of the way and the Penguin is at large on the Gotham crime scene, and Jim will be the man to oppose him. Bruce now has a whole cellar to get lost in, and his solving of the Wayne mystery has only just begun. It’s time for Barbara to get some help before she lands herself in Arkham Asylum, which is where Ed Nygma, our soon-to-be Riddler might be headed if he doesn’t get his act together quick.

All in all, this was a decent season finale. Plenty of fire fights, deaths, twists, turns and shockers, but it’s nothing we haven’t encountered, really. The gang war we were waiting for finally came and it still felt the same for some reason. Plenty of things are still over-the-top, but like I’ve said before, it’s bearable when the show is at least entertaining. And that’s what Gotham‘s been this season — entertaining. Next season may well be the same, but here’s hoping for a bit more substance.