Wow. Gotham Season 1 Episode 22 felt like a mess.
I know that Gotham Season 1 has had plenty of issues and flaws over its episodes, but the finale was the chance for it to really turn its focus on and drive it all home. This was supposed to be the exclamation mark to cap it all off and get me excited for more.
Instead, I was left staring at my screen shaking my head as the hour tried to cram every character in, tried to compensate for its story with numerous action scenes, and marked each ridiculous moment by an even more ridiculous one.
You can certainly argue that some stuff was wrapped up that has been playing out over the course of Gotham Season 1, and there were some general teases of what’s to come in Gotham Season 2, but it just felt sloppy without a satisfying payoff when all was said and done.
I was glad that the hour decided to give some focus on Barbara dealing with the traumatic events of the Ogre, and even more pleased when Leslie told her that her experience wasn’t really in that field to be able to help.
But of course, the two loves of Jim’s life needed to be forced together just because, and we got a therapy session where Barbara kept bringing up Jim. And she even asked if he hit Leslie. Wait. What?
Clearly, Barbara was turning the crazy up to another level when she said she stabbed and slit her parents’ throats. And then there was a fight where Barbara tried to kill Leslie.
At least we established Barbara needs some serious help, but the whole situation was just absurd. And good luck seeing her ever get back with Jim in the future.
The real meat of the episode was the focus on the turf war between Carmine and Sal, and I was pretty impressed that Oswald looked like he was coming to take Carmine out himself. He was really going to personally take control.
Then he started monologuing for what felt like forever, allowing Jim to show up right before he was actually going to do anything.
And that same type of scenario played out multiple times with lengthy dialogue scenes of characters talking about killing their enemy (especially when they were right there) and then not doing it because some circumstance just so happened to prevent it.
That happened twice for Fish, who returned to Gotham and gained new recruit Selina (because Selina needed to be in the episode and why not throw her in with Fish for the hour). She had Carmine, Jim, Harvey, and Oswald, and then they escaped.
Selina captured Jim, Harvey, and Carmine (with eye-rolling “cat got your tongue” quote) for Fish, and then they escaped again after Oswald showed up to cause another action scene.
Yes, Fish killed Sal, after he couldn’t stop calling her “babes,” but even with him out of the way did anyone really believe she could take over?
Suddenly you get a new eye and a new haircut and it just seems more probable, right?
We did get the anticipated fight between Fish and Oswald, but the hour also decided to conveniently bring back Butch being trained or fixed to only follow Oswald’s orders. Wait. What? I know that was initially discussed back when Butch returned from the dead, but the subsequent episodes made it seem like he was perfectly fine. So why now switch it back?
But the worst part for that scene was Oswald killing Fish by pushing her off the ledge of the building. She practically helped him by doing nothing to stop him from shoving her off. She didn’t even really fight back at the very end.
Fish returning to Gotham was ultimately pointless besides the fact that she was squeezed in to help wrap up the mafia war: Fish is dead. Sal’s dead. Carmine’s retired.
That only leaves Oswald to conveniently step in and fill the void. King of Gotham, I guess.
Harvey was definitely under used in this episode (and come to think of it, a lot of recent episodes), but it was fun getting to hear him moan about helping Jim and then seeing him actually help his partner. He was a highlight of the hour for sure.
Jim stayed pretty consistent with his trying to do the right thing and keeping some order to Gotham. But even with his chat with Carmine at the end and getting that knife; its not like his outlook really changed. He’s still trying to do good in Gotham, but it will be interesting to see what he can do with Carmine out of power. And he did get his own cool gun scene.
I actually liked that Edward’s journey to becoming the Riddler was taking its time, and then this episode decided a switch needed to be flipped and Edward should become Gollum/Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings. And voila, he’s pretty much the Riddler now.
As for Bruce’s discovery of presumably his future Bat Cave, that moment was already spoiled in the promo tease, so it wasn’t some cool surprise. And even if I didn’t know the reveal, it seemed pretty obvious what the show was trying to do throughout the hour.
But to what end?
I get it might offer some truth about Bruce’s father, but why bring the Bat Cave in now at Bruce’s current age other than to throw out the Batman-reference card again?
It’s just truly frustrating to know that the series has such a solid cast, has such a fantastic mythology and story to pull from and expand/take in new directions, and yet it just feels like it’s spinning its wheels, never really straying from the surface level, and maintaining an uneven tone of super campy and then super dark/violent.
And it’s disappointing that what could have been a solid finale, allowing me to probably forgive and overlook some of the problems of Gotham Season 1, just felt all over the place with absurd and eye-rolling moments. I wanted to like this episode and this first chapter in the series, but it just didn't deliver for me.
What did you think of the finale? Did you like how it all ended? Sound off below, and if you missed any episode, you can watch Gotham online now.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.