It’s the season finale of Gotham, and it is chock full of action and craziness. The mob war reaches its peak, Penguin faces off against Fish Mooney, Barbara seeks counseling, Bruce investigates his father’s secrets, and there are wall-to-wall gunfights. Let’s settle in for part one of our “All Happy Families are Alike” discussion. That’s right, part one. There is a lot to process.
Selina and some other homeless people warm their hands on a burning trash can, like cartoon hobos. A boat docks right near them – it’s Fish Mooney and her crew! They were on a helicopter last time we saw them. Also, Fish seems to be OK after getting shot. Clearly some stuff happened that we didn’t get to see. Five dollars says they put out a Gotham comic during the break that explains it. Fish tells Selina that a brand new day is coming, and Selina clearly thinks this is the coolest person she’s ever met in her entire life.
At stately Wayne Manor, Bruce is still looking for secrets and breaking stuff along the way. Alfred tries to explain that Thomas Wayne didn’t have a secret life and worked very hard all day. He’d often lock himself in his study while he worked, which leads Bruce to believe the secret is in that room.
Falcone’s driver takes him out to a warehouse so he can buy a live chicken. Look, I don’t know what Falcone does either. But the point is, two of Maroni’s guys ride up on a motorcycle and shoot Falcone’s car with a bazooka. He gets clear of the explosion, but only just.
Back at the precinct, it’s a hotbed of activity, with uniformed officers bringing people into custody. One guy salutes Gordon, and Gordon warns him that maybe that’s not the best move for his career. Yeah, Gordon’s pretty sure he’s going to be fired and/or dead before this is all over. He stops into Leslie’s office to see…. Barbara. Leslie confirms that she’s physically OK but needs trauma counseling. I feel like this is outside Leslie’s job description, but she’s trying to help. Barbara insists that she’s happy and just wants to thank Gordon for saving her life. Leslie again stresses the need for counseling, and Barbara agrees if Leslie will come over and be her counselor. Leslie tries to back out, but Barbara talks her into it. Awww. This will work out for everybody, I bet!
Bullock tells Gordon about the Falcone hit and confirms that he survived but he’s in the hospital. Also, there’s a rumor that City Hall is supporting Maroni now, which seems unwise. Falcone wakes up strapped to a gurney in a hospital room that’s clearly only used to make it easier to murder people. The rest of the hospital looks normal, and then he’s in this basically empty room. It’s really funny, actually. Penguin and Butch show up with flowers and guns. Falcone doesn’t have a great read on the situation, and he thinks they’re here to save him.
Nope, Penguin wants to say good-bye in person before Maroni’s guys show up to finish him off. He confesses that he started the war and that it was his plan all along. Falcone is genuinely surprised by the betrayal and tells Penguin he’ll never run Gotham. Penguin puts a scalpel to the man’s neck and then Gordon shows up to arrest Penguin and Butch. He handcuffs them both to a table and unties Falcone. Gordon agrees that Falcone can end the war, but Penguin reminds him that Maroni’s on the way to kill him. Also, he doesn’t like Penguin much, so it’s not going to end well for anybody. Gordon goes out to guard the door with Butch’s rifle and calls Bullock for backup. Harvey thinks this is maybe not the best plan, but Gordon says Falcone is the best bad man they have.
Gordon agrees to get Falcone out of there and then Penguin calls in that favor Gordon owes him and demands to he released. And that’s when Tommy Bones and a crew of gunmen show up. Gordon just asks Falcone, who’s holding a pretty sweet knife, not to kill Penguin and then heads out to the hallway. Know who’s there with the killers? Loeb. He orders Gordon to leave, but when that doesn’t work, he orders the guys to kill him. It’s a gunfight in the hallway and Gordon manages to win in a pretty great action sequence. He’s shooting two guns like he leveled up in Saints Row. Bullock shows up to help him get away. He’s accepted that they have to get Falcone out of there, but then Gordon says they’re taking Penguin and Butch, too. Donal Logue’s reaction is hilarious, but he gives in. They escape in an ambulance, taking fire from Maroni and his guys.
Let’s take a breather and check in on Bruce. He’s taken all of the books off the shelves, unsure of what he’s even looking for. That’s our breather, because we go straight to a Falcone warehouse, where Gordon and the crew are hiding out. Falcone says nobody knows about the place, and then Selina Kyle walks in with a new haircut. See, she got it cut just like her new hero, Fish Mooney. Fish strides in with her crew, looking as badass as she ever has.
Over at Leslie’s she’s counseling Barbara. Barbara says everything feels like a dream and the Ogre is still alive, waiting for her. Back at the warehouse, Fish is happy to see Butch but she can tell he’s kind of broken now. She calls Maroni to let him know that she’s alive and well and looking to make a deal. Falcone, Penguin, Gordon, and Bullock are all tied up. Falcone says he has a knife in his sock, and Gordon tries to get Selina to help but she doesn’t want to blow this gig.
Fish explains that Maroni will give her all of her territory back in exchange for Falcone’s head. She tells Penguin that he’ll die slowly and painfully for what he did to Butch. (Which is actually like the one thing he’s innocent of. That was all Zsasz.) She tells Gordon he’ll die, but they’ll keep it simple. And then to Harvey: “And you? We’re cool.” HA!
The therapy session continues. Barbara starts talking about how she was more scared of Gordon than of the Ogre and then asks Leslie if he ever hit her. What are you doing, Barbara? This is taking a weird turn.
Maroni shows up at the warehouse and gloats about his victory. At this point, Fish has untied Bullock, but he’s being watched closely. Penguin pleads for his life and says that Maroni will kill Fish as soon as Falcone is dead. He asks why Maroni would want another boss in town. And I don’t know if he planned it or stumbled into it, because it works brilliantly. Maroni says it’s fine because Fish isn’t a boss. She’s an underboss. And this is news to Fish. She says she won’t be taking orders from him. Maroni tells her to relax and calls her “babes”. She says not to call her that, and Maroni gets in her face over it. He backs off and agrees that she’s a partner. He’s just partner number one, and she’s number two. Dammit, Sal! Stop poking the bear! Then he calls her “babes” again. He gives a rousing speech about the dynasty he’s building and adds “right, babes?” Yep that was one too many because FISH SHOOTS HIM IN THE HEAD!
There are some great looks of horror from those assembled, and then it’s a shootout with Fish’s crew and Maroni’s guys going at it. Selina runs off and Bullock unties Gordon, Penguin, and Falcone.
While this is going on, Leslie and Barbara sit down for tea and cake. Leslie pushes Barbara to talk about what actually happened to her. First, Barbara wants to know about her relationship with Jim, and Leslie’s not playing along.
Back at the gunfight, Gordon, Bullock, and Falcone try to plan an escape. Falcone says that if he can get away, he’s giving it all up. He’s not going to try and end the war, he’s just going to retire. Then some thugs head their way and they have to run. A group led by Selina catches up with them and they’re recaptured. Falcone congratulates Fish and tells her that he’s out. It’s hard to tell whether she’s considering letting him go, because right away Penguin starts shooting a machine gun into the crowd. When he’s out of bullets, he picks up a handgun and starts screaming for Fish. He sees her climbing a staircase and heads after her. Gordon, Falcone, and Bullock get away in Maroni’s car in all the confusion.
Barbara tells Leslie about her time with the Ogre and recounts things that we’ve seen, with one big revelation. She talks about how the Ogre made her tell her parents all about her issues with them and also… she’s the one who actually killed them. Wait, what? I didn’t see that coming, but she says she stabbed them and slit their throats. And then she grabs the nearest knife. Leslie locks herself in the bathroom, but Barbara starts hacking away at the door in full “Here’s Johnny!” mode. Cut to Gordon, Bullock, and Falcone stepping into an elevator where an old woman is holding a dog. Hee!
Leslie smashes a mirror and grabs some glass to defend herself, and then it’s a full-on fight. Leslie gets the upper hand and smashes Barbara’s head into the floor again and again, knocking her out just as Gordon and the others arrive.
Penguin tries to find Fish on the rooftop, and then she pops out from her hiding place and starts beating him with a metal pipe. He manages to get the pipe and then he’s smacking her around. Everything about this episode is awesome, and now we’ve come to a good old-fashioned pipe fight. Finally they’re grappling at the end of the roof when Butch shows up. They both demand that he shoot the other one, and the guy just has a complete breakdown and shoots them both. He runs to comfort Fish and she assures him she’ll be fine. Penguin whacks him with a two-by-four, then runs at Fish and dumps her off the roof into the water below. A jubilant Penguin declares himself the King of Gotham.
And then, we cut to Nygma who’s sitting quietly at his deck. Kristen comes to see him and says she noticed that the first letter of every line in Doherty’s note spells out his name. Ed agrees that’s a weird coincidence but nothing more. When she leaves, he has a full freak-out and argues with himself that she’ll keep digging and he has to do something about it. It’s a full-on Gollum moment
Gordon sits with Falcone, who says he’s going to miss the place. Falcone says that Gotham needs somebody like Gordon more than it needs him. Then he shows Gordon that knife he’s been carrying around. It used to belong to Gordon’s dad, who gave it to him as a birthday gift. Gordon seems shocked that his father and Falcone were close. Falcone says Gordon’s dad was the most honest man he’d ever met, “but he carried a knife”. He gives Gordon the knife and goes off to his retirement.
Finally, Bruce finds a remote control tucked into the cover of a book on stoicism. (Lucius called Thomas a stoic last week.) He clicks the button, and the fireplace slides into the wall, revealing a staircase leading down into a dark cavern. GUYS! BATCAVE!
Well, that’s the season!
Since this episode was so bonkers, instead of trying to quickly sum up my thoughts, I’m going to do a follow-up next week, and then post-mortem on the first season. Suffice it to say this episode was the craziest thing I’ve seen on TV this year, and I loved it. So check back here for more Gotham content soon. For now, let’s just luxuriate in the craziness.
Actually I want to point out one thing. I assumed that any character who’s traditionally around when batman first appears would be safe on this show. But then Fish shot Maroni in the head. Maroni’s the guy who throws acid in Harvey Dent’s face! Nope. They opened up some new frontiers with that, and I’m pretty excited about it. But I’ll get into it next time, when I’ve had time to reflect on a season that ended with a pipe fight.
You? We’re cool.