Gotham “All Happy Families Are Alike” Review (Season 1 Episode 22)

Gotham All Happy Families Are Alike Season Finale 2015 (4)

On the season finale of “Gotham,” sides were chosen, some with the potential to be good going bad and others who were already bad becoming worse, in “All Happy Families Are Alike.” As to be expected these days, there were indeed some casualties, though not necessarily the ones we might have expected…sort of. Let’s start at the beginning and work our way down the list.

Arriving first on the scene was a black robe-clad Fish, looking like she got a makeover at Villains ‘R’ Us, complete with weird piercings in her face and an amped-up bustier officially making her the first character on the show to actually look like a proper comic book baddie- albeit not for long. In no time, she had recruited a small army of followers, including Selina Kyle, who was looking like she also had a makeover recently, which is interesting given that she’s essentially homeless!

Cut to Falcone at a meeting, when someone walks up with a missile launcher (!) and opens fire, hospitalizing but not killing him in the process. Yep, it’s officially open season on mobsters, and then some. Gordon discovers that City Hall and the Mayor basically okayed the hit on Falcone, choosing to go Team Maroni, and- after checking in on Barbara, who agrees to a little post-traumatic home therapy later on, but only if Dr. Thompkins administers it herself- heads to the hospital himself, in hopes of stopping Maroni and Loeb’s thugs from killing Falcone.

Meanwhile, Falcone wakes up, tied to the bed, with no one in sight at the hospital- save visitors in the form of Penguin and Butch. Penguin tells Falcone he’s done with him and admits he’s been planning this for ages, and that he was going to take care of Maroni next and be the new mob boss of Gotham from there on out. He goes to kill Falcone, but Gordon arrives and intervenes, cuffing the two to a radiator. He calls Bullock for back-up, but Loeb arrives first, with various thugs and tells Gordon to leave while he can, which he naturally refuses to do.

A shoot-out then ensues and Gordon goes into full-on bad-ass mode, busting a cap in many a thug’s behinds, left and right. Bullock arrives and the two are able to smuggle out Falcone and company in ambulance, much to Maroni’s chagrin, who gives chase. They head to a warehouse of Falcone’s to hide-out, but then Fish arrives with her mini-army of teens with guns, including Selina, and strings them all up, literally. Selina refuses to help Gordon, but Fish lets Bullock off the hook. Fish notices that Butch is a little off, but nonetheless lets him go as well.

Enter Maroni, who arrives and agrees to let Fish command her old territories for turning over Falcone. Unfortunately for him, he gets a little sexist one too many times with Fish for her tastes, and emphasizes the whole “second-in-command” thing in regards to Fish a little too hard, instead of the partnership she desired, so she promptly shoots him in the head, killing him instantly. I guess that makes her number one, now- at least in the short term.

Chaos erupts, during which Bullock sets everyone free and they hightail it out of there as Maroni and Fish’s people shoot it out. Falcone announces he’s had it with Gotham and wants to bail altogether and head to a retirement place he has set up. Selina finds them and turns them back over to Fish, but Penguin emerges and opens fire and they escape yet again, this time in a nearby Cadillac, as Penguin chases Fish up some stairs to the roof. They fight and Butch catches them and is unsure who to shoot- so he shoots them both!

Penguin hits Butch and proceeds to toss Fish off the building- but into the water. So, despite actress Jada Pinkett’s insistence that she wouldn’t be returning, technically her character could have survived yet another near-death experience. I suppose her return will depend on contract negotiations, right? Either that, or I suppose they could recast the role. Hey, they could get the guy who gave the Ogre his makeover to do it! Falcone notwithstanding, Penguin rejoices that he is now “The King of Gotham!” (Was it me, or did this seem like some sort of Bizarro World version of Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous “Titanic” scene?)

While all this is happening, Dr. Thompkins meets Barbara at her place and they talk through her experiences with Jason, aka The Ogre, as well as her past and her history with her parents. As these scenes progressed, I became more and more convinced Barbara had drugged Dr. T’s tea, what with all the questions about her and Gordon and the nature of her relationship, but I most certainly did not expect Barbara to confess that she, in fact, killed her parents, not Jason, and then proceed to go full Jack Torrance (as in “The Shining”) on Dr. T, Medical Woman.

From brandishing a knife at her to going ballistic on her bathroom door to get at Dr. T. to a full-blown cat fight in the living room, it’s safe to say that Barbara went, if you’ll excuse the pun, batsh*t crazy. Batwoman she is not, nor Oracle, for that matter. (Yes, I know it is typically Gordon’s daughter with Barbara that actually assumes this mantle, but still, it’s hard to imagine these two getting together now, given her wacko state of mind and her confession here.) Gordon arrives just in time to potentially stop Dr. T. from bashing her brains in, but the damage is done- this woman is clearly not right in the head, even before she had them knocked into the floor.

Falcone gives Gordon a knife Gordon’s father gifted to him, telling him his father was the most honest man he ever knew and that, more than ever, Gotham was going to need a strong lawman in charge, what with all the stuff that happened in this episode, and Falcone’s own impending exit. Speaking of exits, Bruce discovers a remote control hidden in a book Lucius Fox sort of alluded to when he said Bruce’s father was a “stoic” man. This proves to open up a secret passageway behind the fireplace in his father’s office, with steps leading down to…one assumes a sort of proto-Batcave. And all the Batman fans squeed with delight!

That was about it, save Miss Kringle being onto Ed Nygma’s hidden messages in his faux note to her said to be from her ex, Officer Dougherty. After she essentially called him out, he all but had a nervous breakdown, talking insanely to himself as if he were two different people. Clearly, the Riddler is coming down the pike sooner than later. It might have taken the better part of the season to get there, but I think we’re finally getting somewhere with this thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was entertained, more often than not, and despite the occasional missteps along the way, overall, this was about as good of a first season of the show as one could have hoped for, given the premise.

Granted, is the show somewhat hampered by the fact that we essentially know where all this is headed? Yes, to a certain extent. But this is, at the very least, a story that really hasn’t been told before, and I think, a valid one. Sure, we’ve seen the death of Bruce’s parents more than a few times, but to the best of my knowledge, we’ve never gotten a full-blown look at all the main characters’ early years, and that to me, was the big draw in the first place. We might know where they all end up, more or less, but it’s the journey that will be the most fun. Now that a lot of the major groundwork has been laid, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty next season. I, for one, can’t wait. For all its faults, this has been a solid enough debut season, and I really do think it will only get better now that the essential framework has been put into place.

What did you think of the big “Gotham” finale? I thought it was quick-paced, action-packed, and certainly never boring. I liked that they threw viewers for a few loops with the possible survival of Fish when most everyone expected her to die and certainly the Barbara thing was unexpected, on the whole. (I figured she was setting up Dr. T. but I didn’t think she’d go THAT far off the rails!) I will be curious to see where certain characters head from here, notably the Penguin, the still-future Catwoman, and the Riddler.

Naturally, I’m also curious as to what exactly is down that secret passageway in Bruce’s dad’s office- are they going to suggest that his father was the original Batman? This being its own thing, “Gotham” could take it anywhere they want and it would be fine. It’s hardly the first time new writers/filmmakers have rewritten the lore, and likely won’t be the last. Why not do your own thing? So far, they have, and it will certainly be interesting to see where they take it next. What do you think will happen next? What other changes will they make? What other villains do you hope crop up? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next season!