Gotham’s second season was a wild ride as it evolved into a serious guilty pleasure. Yes, it frequently went over the top and fully embraced the go big or go home motto, but somehow it worked. Gotham’s season finale, Transference, revealed the other side as it did a face plant instead of sticking the landing.
Perhaps it was just a matter of trying to cram in too many interesting ideas into one last episode. Transference refers to the show’s version of Clayface stealing Gordon’s identity and keeping the GCPD off Strange’s tracks. The faux Gordon had promise if it was allowed a few weeks to play out. Instead, Clayface played Gordon so ridiculously over the top the GCPD and Bullock were back to looking like morons. And they’d made such progress this season. Barbara randomly stopping by the police station and being the one to determine this was a fake Gordon was silly.
The episode’s best moment, not surprisingly, involved Nygma. Arguably this season’s MVP, Nygma had Bruce and Lucius in a death trap where he’d release them if they correctly answered his questions. Gotham has been guilty of rushing future Batman events and villains too quickly, but this was a nice precursor to the eventual Batman and The Riddler rivalry.
Hugo Strange did his own interrogation to determine if Gordon knew about the Court of Owls. Teasing the Court this season was a smart move. I’m not so optimistic about Bruce trying to track them down unless he tries and completely fails. The Court is a better behind the scenes adversary at this point and Bruce shouldn’t even know their name at this stage in his young vigilante career.
Selina had some nice moments as she set Mr. Freeze and Firefly up to fight each other. Seeing characters that use flame and ice go against each other always makes for a cool visual. Strange went completely stupid trying to race in front of them to escape. That stunt should have killed him, but how else would Gordon learn about the bomb? Gordon and Lucius shortening it out with water was way too anticlimactic although there’s not much tension with the setup that all the show’s principal characters are going to get killed in a nuclear explosion. This isn’t Arrow after all.
Of course with Fish Mooney back, the writers couldn’t help but make her a focal point. For the season finale, that felt completely unearned. It felt weak that the season’s big moment was not about Gordon, Bullock, Bruce or even Penguin, but Fish busting Strange’s monster experiments out of Arkham. Fish’s return was something that again needed more time to develop. Jada Pinkett’s Smith might have had something to do with that, but then don’t make her such a pivotal figure in the last two episodes.
In a rare, happy coincidence with the comics, DC is setting up a Night of the Monster Men crossover just as they’re running around in the show. The most intriguing? A Bruce Wayne clone Strange whipped up.
Transference wraps up like a sequel where everyone already knows another installment is on the way. Gordon says his goodbyes to the gang before searching for Lee. Complete with a hah-hah moment of driving away with Bullock’s car. It would have taken a disastrous episode to undo all the goodwill the season earned, but Transference really gave it a good shot.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX