Episode 22: “All Happy Families Are Alike”
Gotham’s gangs erupt in war, Barbara recovers with Thompkins, and Bruce explores Wayne Manor’s secrets.
Throughout its first season, Gotham has set itself apart from the pack of super shows. Grittier, edgier, freakier than any of its peers, it nevertheless has produced one of TV’s greatest old-fashioned heroes in the form of Jim Gordon. It started off strong, largely in part to characters like Gordon, Penguin, Selena, Nygma, and even Bullock. None of them fit categorically into classifications of good or evil. They all walk the middle ground on a path that will take them to both sides of the road. All have found themselves on the other side of the road at one point. That’s the best draw of this series; the ability to see the decisions that made those people who they are during this most tumultuous time in the history of a city founded on corruption and madness.
The setting; Gotham City is a veritable breeding ground for freaks, crazies, and runaways. Add in an unstoppable criminal underworld, an apathetic justice system, and all-around atmosphere of hopelessness; Gotham City is more in need of a hero than any other city in the world. Is it scary to think Jim Gordon isn’t enough? Not just to think, rather, but to know? To know in 10-15 years time, this city will still be a crime-infested rathole where the strong prey on the weak? That Jim Gordon will still be fighting a losing battle? What then is the point of resisting this inevitable truth? The point of resistance is resistance. No matter how bad a city may get, so long as there are still people who fight to change, to make the world a better place, nothing is pointless. Change is coming.
That’s the true nature of good & evil. It’s not a measure of who’s the strongest or has the most connections or anything like that. The true measure is by who doesn’t surrender. Gotham may be hopeless. It may never eradicate crime or oppression forever. Gordon’s efforts may be futile. Batman’s efforts may be futile. But as long as the fight goes on, all is not lost. The war is not over until one side gives in, and there will always be people who fight. It’s not just Jim Gordon, or Bruce Wayne, or Alfred Pennyworth, or Harvey Dent, or Lucius Fox, or Lee Thompkins; it’s every person on every street who dreams of a better life. Even in the darkest hells of Pandora’s Box, hope will always remain. When one falls, another picks up the torch.
Now that is how you do a finale. The best thrills, the best chills, the best twists and turns of the season. Gotham draws much of its strength from the compelling nature of its villains. It only makes sense then that an episode extensively featuring the best of the Rogues Gallery would be the best episode. And a couple new ones coming out into the open. Every criminal, from the most powerful crime lord to the scrappiest street urchin, is represented herein. A mad power struggle is underway, and nothing will ever be the same. The Age of Chaos has begun.
A new king. A new menace. A new madman. A new hope. A new chapter. Gotham is going places. Dark, dangerous, exciting places. Be there.
Episode Score: 9.7