Tuesday, May 05, 2015

My Review of Gotham's 1x22: "All Happy Families Are Alike"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Danny Cannon

Oswald: "Goodbye Fish."
Fish: "It's all good."

And that episode just happened. It's no lie to say that Gotham has had something of a divisive first season and this finale in some ways perfectly capped off that feeling as well but can we at least say one thing about this episode? It wasn't boring. Not for one second.

The mob war stuff has been such a dominating factor of the show's first season and while it's been tedious and repetitive in some episodes, this finale did us all a massive favour by actually shaking up the dynamics here by taking two of the main players out of the equation while one walked away and the other can now (sort of) reign supreme for the time being.

Much as I like David Zayas, I don't think I'm going to miss Maroni all that much as a character. Between him and Falcone, he wasn't as interesting and his hotheaded ego got the worst of him this week with his constant patronising of Fish. Seeing the latter then put a bullet in his head was pretty welcomed after having to endure his irritating sexism one too many times here. Of course, Maroni wasn't the only fatality of this episode.

Fish herself literally went sailing to her death following a fiery rooftop confrontation with Oswald. One of the missed opportunities of the first season was that Fish and Oswald's dynamic was never properly fleshed out and while the former's death did pack a bit of a punch, it might have had more impact if the dynamic with Fish/Oswald had been better explored throughout the first season. However, I did laugh with Oswald's hilariously OTT announcing that he was the King of Gotham. If I were Oswald, I wouldn't get too comfortable with that title just yet.

As for Falcone - he actually took himself out of the equation. Sure, he came close enough to death a few times, got captured with Gordon, Bullock and Oswald at least twice but out of the four vying for Top Dog, he was smart enough to get the hell out of the city. I don't doubt that Falcone's retirement will be short term but for now, this episode actually gave the character a pretty dignified temporary exit. I liked that.

Of course it wasn't just mob stuff that this episode had in spades. Clearly spending time with Jason tapped into Barbara's inner psycho as she delighted in telling Leslie that she was the one who bumped off her parents before trying to kill Leslie herself. I did like that Leslie was the one who took Barbara down but what does this mean for Barbara next season? Will she be spending some time in Arkham or has Gotham thrown out the first seeds of a new female villain for the second season? Either way, this darkened version of the character is a lot more interesting to watch than what we got at the start of the season.

Last but not least - did Bruce and Alfred just discover the Bat Cave? I don't know but it was a fantastic way of ending this episode either way. While the two of them were detached from the main plots this week (and most of the season, truth be told), I do like that Bruce is getting a little closer to learning some of his family secrets though.

Also in "All Happy Families Are Alike"

For one episode only, Selina became Fish's right hand woman and even got to lord it over Gordon and Oswald as well.

Fish: "Good morning, child."
Selina: "We ain't children and it ain't morning."
Fish: "Oh, it will be soon. A brand new day."

Really liked the cyber punk looks that both Selina and Fish with their crew were going for in this episode.

Gordon (re Falcone): "He's a bad man but he's the best bad man we've got."

Fish (to Gordon/Bullock/Oswald/Falcone): "I know, it's astonishing. Sometimes I astonish myself."

It wasn't just Barbara going crazy in this episode. After Kringle deduced Nygma's name in the letter, Edward himself lost it as well.

Selina: "How you gonna kill them?"
Fish: "I love this girl."

Fish (to Maroni): "Don't call me babes."

Now that Maroni is dead, will it be Falcone who then pushes characters like Harvey Dent to their future fate?

Leslie: "That's not kids stuff."
Barbara: "To be fair to them, they simply never understood me. They have no clue who I am. Even when I was killing them, they just gaped at me like fools not understanding."

Leslie (to Gordon, re Barbara): "She just went crazy."
Bullock: "Told him that woman was trouble."

Standout music:  Romeo and Juliet: Montagues and Capulets (Dance of the Knights) by Ukraine National Symphony.

Oswald: "I'm the King of Gotham."

Chronology: A two week jump from where "The Anvil Or The Hammer" left off.

Now that was a fun finale. I'm not gonna say it's the best one we'll have this current season but I do think "All Happy Families Are Alike" did nail everything pretty well while setting up some interesting plots for the second season. Gotham's first season has been far from perfect but it has been a fun ride and now that some of the mob stuff has been rejigged, hopefully it'll mean focus on other villain aspects for next season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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