Gotham: “All Happy Families Are Alike” Review
Gotham Season 1 Episode 22
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“All Happy Families Are Alike” was the absolute perfect encapsulation of all that has been good and bad about Gotham’s debut season. There were some good twists that really shook things up, but they were outnumbered by strange character decisions, way too goofy scenes and just a lot of stuff that didn’t make much sense. This was probably the most action-packed episode of the season, but even this couldn’t cover up the many shortcomings.
We went through an entire “overthrow Falcone” plot earlier in the season, and all of the build up to that was quickly thrown out the window when Falcone rallied and ousted Fish. From here, we went through the same thing all over again, except this time Falcone just decided to throw in the towel at the first real sign of trouble. The whole thing just seemed like a quick and easy way to mix things up again, without it actually making too much sense. And speaking of repeating storylines, Fish’s “death” definitely isn’t going to stick, right? Going by the laws of every TV show or movie ever, if a character falls into water and a body isn’t shown, they’ll be back. So I guess we have Fish returning to Gotham again to look forward to.
This episode’s action wasn’t all that inspiring, with plenty slow-motion shots of Gordon firing his gun and a whole conservatory worth of glass breaking. Hands down, my favorite part of the gang war plot was Fish just shooting Maroni in the face after he called her “babe” one time too many. I liked Maroni a lot more than Fish, but I have to applaud the show for taking such a large leap away from the established canon of the universe. What I could have done without, though, was Penguin declaring himself the “King of Gotham” over and over again on top of the building ala Titanic. It just seemed almost too goofy for the moment. I’m also not sure how much of a king he can be, considering the soldiers who would make up his army are lying dead downstairs.
Selina’s part in all of this was just plain bizarre. Fish arrived on shore near Selina with her minions, and there wasn’t even a single mention of that major gunshot wound she picked up the last time we saw her. Time flashed forward two weeks and Selina was suddenly a gun-toting member of Fish’s crew, one that was seemingly willing to watch Gordon get executed. This was a completely odd turn for her character to take, and it just felt like she was being shoehorned into the story so she would appear in the finale. Similarly bizarre was Nygma’s sole scene this week. His “Nygma” clue that he left for Ms. Kringle was quickly discovered, and this led to him having some sort of crazy, multiple personality breakdown. It looks like his bout of murder has made him even more unhinged than before, but the way it was portrayed here didn’t really come across all that well.
Barbara was actually my favorite part of the whole finale! I never thought I’d ever type those words. It was obvious that something was going to happen while she was spending that time alone with Leslie, but the twist that she was actually the one to kill her parents last week was very well done. Barbara has now made the transition from annoying, needy person to full-blown psycho killer, and it’s perhaps the only way they could have made her character interesting. Her pursuit of Leslie had a little bit of a cheesy horror movie vibe to it, but it didn’t go too over the top by Gotham standards. I’m really curious to see where they go with this angle considering Barbara’s place in the canon, but Maroni’s death has proved that they’re willing to shake it up a little.
Thus ends Gotham’s first season. It’s been a bumpy ride to say the least, with every good point matched by a frustration counterpoint. Still, though, there are some things to look forward to going into the next season. Penguin in charge could be fun, and it’ll be interesting to see how he manages to control the city. Crazy Barbara could be pretty cool if they handle her correctly, and there’s even a Harley Quinn-esque vibe from her. Closing out the season with Bruce’s discovery of a secret cave could end up having a big payoff. I don’t believe we’ll see anything remotely close to Batman on the show yet, but that cave could hold a lot of secrets about what his father had been up to before his death. I’d like to see the Court of Owls make an appearance, given they have the makings of a decent mystery here. There’s the makings of a decent show in Gotham, they’ve just got to pull it all together next season and trim away the fat.
60/100 – Okay
I’d like to know what you thought of the finale, and I’d also like to know whether you’ll be sticking around for Season 2. Tweet me @OldSnake24. Also, be sure to follow us @YouNerded!
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