'Gotham' finale recap, 'All Happy Families Are Alike'

Penguin, aka Oswald Cobblepot, pays a special visit to Carmine Falcone.
Penguin, aka Oswald Cobblepot, pays a special visit to Carmine Falcone. (FOX)

Gotham is on a knife's edge, and it's only become sharper and deadlier. Nobody got out unscathed.

"All Happy Families Are Alike" had some hits, some misses, but overall, it had a lot of flash that made for an enthralling end to the season. I just wish the character development matched the fighting choreography.


The Maroni versus Falcone shooting war has continued, and now Falcone gets hit. He gets rushed to the hospital.

Penguin, in all his demented glory, visits Falcone, who's strapped to a gurney. "It was me, old friend," he cheerily confesses to Falcone. "I did this to you." He then leaves a bouquet of flowers on his chest, as if he's already lying in a coffin.


Jim hears that Falcone's in the hospital then rushes to his rescue. So not the Jim we're used to. "He's a bad man, but he's the best bad man we got," he tells Harvey. Leaving his spot open would leave Gotham in chaos.

This character shift is unexpected but not surprising. He's already been beating himself up for endangering his ex. Commissioner Loeb knew Gordon would go after the Ogre, who, in turn, would go after his loved one.

So, he's learned to adapt. He's softened around the edges and has accepted that that to be good in Gotham, you have work with the corrupt without becoming corrupt.

Later, after Jim, Harvey and Falcone escape from being held hostage by Fish, Falcone has a heart-to-heart with Jim.


Falcone says he's ready to retire and he's giving up the throne, even if that leaves Gotham in a mess. He then gives him his knife, originally a gift from Jim's father.

"Your father was the most honest man I ever met," Falcone admits to Jim, "but he carried a knife."

In other words: Guard yourself, because you're going to have to work with crooked people you don't trust. Expect nothing less in Gotham.

Especially when your emotionally traumatized ex insists on getting therapy sessions from your current girlfriend.

There are so many things wrong with that session before Barb even pulled the knife on Leigh. Conflict of interest comes to mind, as does holding the session at her apartment.

Agreeing to counsel her boyfriend's unstable ex sounds like the worst idea ever. One knife fight later, and you know Leigh regrets that decision.

I'm not buying Barbara's swan dive into the deep end. Sure, she had her drug and booze addictions, and it was no secret she had issues with her parents.

But it was too sudden for her to go from helpless victim to full-fledge Stockholm Syndrome-turned-bloodthirsty killer in just a few episodes. She wasn't around the Ogre long enough to let his craziness seep in her.

As much as it pains me to say this, because I absolutely can't stand her, they should have spent more screen time on Barb to better develop her character. She went from boring to batty in a flash.

(Side note: An example of character development done right: Ed Nygma. Even if you know nothing about the Batman mythos, you could tell he was a ticking time bomb from the get-go.)

Barbara will likely fill in Fish's role as the next female villain. Not that she can have as much power as her, oh no. She's not as strategic as Fish. No one can ever match her theatrics or smarts. But I doubt Barbara will be banished to Arkham forever.

It's such a shame Fish was killed off, even though we knew it was coming since Jada Pinkett Smith already admitted she isn't returning next season. Even more of a shame was how she was killed off.

I was hoping for a firework display that rivaled the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve rolled into one. Don't get me wrong — the shootouts leading to that scene were epic and movie caliber. But her final scene went off more like a damp squib.

Fish and Penguin have one last fight on the top of a skyscraper, until a pistol-wielding Butch comes along. Each of them begs Butch to shoot the other.

The "kill him/her" shootout scene is cliché. Fish deserved better. The only twist is that Butch shoots them both then rushes to Fish's side. Guess all of Penguin and Zsasz's brainwashing only went so far.

Penguin then shoves her off the side of the ledge, and she plummets into water below. This? This is how Fish goes out? Not with a bang but with a ripple?

Fitting for a woman named Fish, but ho-hum ending for a woman with metal spikes coming out of her head. (So that's what she was hiding under that wig and turban!)

Penguin then stands on top of the ledge shouting, "I'm the king of Gotham!" But no king of Gotham goes unchallenged. With Falcone retired and both Fish and Maroni dead, who will Penguin's arch nemesis be?

The next shot is Ed going through files at GCPD, followed by a seismic breakdown of racing and paranoid thoughts. Looks like we have our answer. Glad to have you aboard, Riddler.


Best line: "Please don't call me 'babes,'" Fish says to Maroni. That's all she should have to say actually, she shouldn't have to say it at all), but Maroni is a grade-A chauvinist pig. First, he mansplains how and why he should be first and she only second in command of Gotham. Then he taunts her by rattling off every other sexist term. She answers back with a bullet between his eyes. Boom, bye.

Best Harvey one-liner: Tie! "Told him that woman was trouble." – Harvey about Barbara after she went stabby on Leigh. And, "We have to take Penguin and Gilzean… They're in my custody," Jim rationalizes. "I don't even want to argue with you!" Harvey fires back.

Oldie, but not goodie: Careful with those Dutch angles, Gotham. The director shot a hospital scene with this infamous tilt, and I'm not convinced it was worth the campy Adam West-vibe.

Most terrifying line: "All the best guys are a little scary," Barb says to Leigh, hinting that Jim's a jerk who hits women. He's not, of course, but she wants to break them up. Real low, Barb.

Who let the cat out of the bag?: That'd be Fish — how fitting! Selina's gone completely bad, refusing to rescue Jim just because they "kinda know each other." Hiss. If that's how it is with Jim, you know her friendship with Bruce is only going to get worse.

Like fathers, like sons: The parallels between Jim and Bruce trace back to their fathers, who both learned to work alongside the corrupt without compromising their values. Jim has accepted this, but Bruce is still coming to grips with it. He'll soon learn have to adapt to fight crime when he becomes Batman. Speaking of...

Batman's journey: Bruce searches high and low for his father's secret in his father's study. He finds nothing, until he uses a cryptic clue from Lucius Fox: "Your father was a true stoic."

In a philosophy book about stoics, he finds a remote control to none other than the Batcave. I like how the season ended with the next step in Bruce's journey from billionaire to superhero.

With all the captivating villains, it's easy to forget that "Gotham" is about how Batman came to be. It should be interesting to see if this revelation gives Bruce more airtime next season.

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