Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gotham Season 2 Finale Review: 
The Ones Who Got Away
I'm just going to come right out and say it: "Transference" would have been great if it hadn't positioned Fish Mooney to be a major player when Gotham returns for Season 3. It had everything—Edward Nygma hosting the worst game show ever, Firefly vs. Mr. Freeze, Selina being awesome, Bruce being awesome, LUCIUS M.F-ing FOX, Penguin home decorating tips and the Court of Owls. Oh, I mean the "Secret Court." Whatever. It's the Court of Owls, and the Court of Owls is awesome. 
Fish Mooney is not awesome—she's a cartoon in a world that ditched the cartoonish at the end of its first season and her obnoxious overacting is infecting the others. Ben McKenzie's fake-Gordon was painful. I get that no one can exude self-righteous hypocrisy like our Jimmy, but you'd think that the science project hand picked by Hugo Strange to infiltrate the GCPD and masquerade as Gordon could at least, I dunno, try?  Maybe Strange just had too much to juggle, what with potentially nuking most of the city and pouting about that Marie Antoinette-looking HBIC told him to smash his own toys and stop pretending to be God. It's creeping all the other creeps out. 
WTF deliveries aside, "Transference" left me pining for a nice cryogenic nap so we can skip right to the next chapter—preferably with Gotham deciding that Fish shouldn't be walking around on dry land like they own the place. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
I'm fine. Everything is fine. Let's focus on the positives—of which there were quite a few! Season 2 of Gotham came full circle in its finale, when once again, manufactured madness was let loose on a helpless city. There has been more time and care dedicated to developing these potential villains than was given to Galavan's Maniax—these are the rogues who are meant to last, who are just as flawed and vulnerable as the warped and mangled city they call home. At the risk of letting my little theater-nerd flag fly too high, I'm invoking Wicked (I know, I'm sorry) to more eloquently describe the biggest difference between the Maniax and the Indian Hill escapees: Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?
I know, we could get really sociological about things and argue that the Maniax were just as much victims of a rigged system as Hugo Strange's projects were, and I give Gotham a lot of credit for stepping up and not sucking this season, but I can't give them too much credit. The show isn't that deep. The Maniax and the electroshock gang are two sides of the same coin—one devoted completely to the chaos and the other, trying to eke out some kind of understanding and control in spite of the chaos.  Case in point? The Maniax totally would have slaughtered that bag lady who opened the door of that school bus just for funzies, just because she was there. The Arkham refugees were just thankful to be free. 
This understanding doesn't excuse the impending body count waiting to pile up when Gotham returns for its third season, but it does add the delicious layers of complexity that any decent Batman interpretation embraces. Even the animated series of the '90s managed to do it right. 

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