Gotham has fought through a lot of its issues to reach some impressive heights this season and the fall finale was a sensational conclusion to the first half of this much improved show.
This was such a satisfying episode it could have easily sufficed as the season finale it was so entertaining.
One of the main reasons was the pacing. The writers didn’t try and stretch out the Galavan/Order of St. Dumas for an entire season allowing the subplot to neatly wrap at the halfway point. I can’t compliment that decision enough as it limited the amount of frustration of another 12-13 episodes where all the police know Galavan is crooked, but can’t do anything about it.
Instead, the anti-Galavan forces of Alfred, Bullock, Penguin and Gordon rallied to take him down. Gordon was thisclose from pulling a Heat (Heat [Blu-ray]) and riding off into the sunset with a pregnant Lee — how’s that for incorporating Morena Baccarin’s real life pregnancy into the story? — when Alfred and Bullock inform him Galavan has Bruce.
While Lucius Fox’s return seemed random (just how long had he been in the not-Batcave working on repairing the hard drive?), his inclusion to the episode quickly proved beneficial. I loved him questioning the plan to just bust in and rescue Bruce without the others considering any complications.
This was a rare instance where the arrival of the ever-present Selina didn’t bother me. It makes sense she’d be keeping tabs on Bruce and quickly learn he’d gone missing and want to help. Still, I was glad Alfred questioned Selina’s constantly changing loyalties considering she did have Bullock and Gordon at gunpoint last year.
It wasn’t enough for Theo to be set to kill Bruce, he wanted to emotionally wound him one final time by forcing Silver to worm her way back into his heart and have him confess his love for her.
I was worried this scene was going to play out sappy and corny, but Bruce wasn’t having any of Silver’s schemes saying he just pitied her. It wasn’t until Silver honestly shared that Theo was going to kick her out the family did Bruce play the hero and told Silver he loved her.
This was a well done scene on many levels. Bruce didn’t revert to a lovestruck sap, but showed the underneath it all compassion we’ve come to expect from Batman. Additionally, it sets up Silver and Bruce eventually reconnecting down the road.
As the sacrificial ceremony, The Order of St. Dumas is set to kill the last son of the Waynes when Silver pleads for them to stop. Again, this felt genuine as Silver was repaying Bruce’s earlier compassion. It didn’t matter though as Gordon, Penguin, Alfred, Selina and Penguin’s crew arrives. You could argue this was somewhat anticlimactic, but I appreciated the good guys being competent in a battle for a change.
Theo prepares his escape with Tabitha via parachutes, but pauses to threaten Silver at which point Tabitha goes Darth Vader and stops Emperor Galavan from killing Silver. Tabitha takes Silver with her leaving Theo for the cops. Tabitha ditching Theo had been subtlety foreshadowed throughout the season and I was glad to see all that buildup wasn’t for nothing.
Barnes arrives just as Gordon is debating whether to kill Theo, but Penguin knocks him out and convinces Gordon there’s only one way to insure Theo doesn’t cause any more drama.
Back at the same pier that’s come to be symbolic of their strange bond, Gordon watches Penguin nearly beat Galavan to death before calling him off only to kill Theo himself. Whoa. That was an actual surprise. After being endlessly frustrated with the same scenario repeatedly played out in Jessica Jones, I appreciated this decision.
There’s sure to be some repercussions from that decision, but for now Gordon simply meets up with Lee and proposes. I’m actually not sure which way she’ll go with that one. Probably would have helped if Gordon had a ring.
At this mysterious Wayne Enterprises medical center, some staff remark over the new arrival saying Professor Strange has high hopes for this one and we see Theo impaled with Penguin’s umbrella in his mouth. Yep, Theo is dead dead. For now.
The Gotham logo gets iced up and in the post credit scene, Mr. Freeze appears to chase a guy down and unleash his cold gun. I’ve given up complaining about the show jumping the gun on Batman’s villains and just enjoying the ride at this point. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens when the show returns from its winter break.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10