“Jim, are we alive?” asks Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) to Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who’s strapped down in a chair in one of Dr. Hugo Strange’s experimental cells. “So far so good,” replies Gordon in the season two finale of FOX’s gritty comic-book inspired crime thriller series, Gotham.
As the episode begins the GCPD is right outside the walls of Arkham preparing to blow open the gate and charge in. Just then Clayface – looking just like Jim Gordon – appears and tells the cops it’s all right and it was just a false alarm. Clayface (who from this point on will be referred to as the fake Gordon, primarily because Ben McKenzie is portraying both roles) goes back to the GCPD and tells Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) that Strange is in the clear and that they were wrong about him. Harvey notices his ex-partner is not acting right and asks him if he’s okay, and fake Gordon explains away his behavior by saying he’s fighting off the flu.
Back at Arkham, Gordon is still a prisoner and Dr. Strange (BD Wong) injects him with a truth drug to try to find out how much he really knows about Indian Hill and who Hugo’s real bosses are. Gordon fights as best he can but the drug is too powerful and he begins to answer Dr. Strange’s questions. During the questioning, it becomes clear to Hugo that Gordon is riddled with guilt over not solving the murder of the Waynes for Bruce as he promised and over losing Lee (Morena Baccarin) by choosing to stay in Gotham instead of being with her. Dr. Strange tells Gordon in his drug-induced state that he should pretend that Hugo is God and he absolves Jim of his guilt. Dr. Strange asks Jim how he feels and Jim answers, “Better.” Dr. Strange then asks Gordon who knows he is at Arkham and Gordon begins to reveal his plan, telling Hugo that if he doesn’t report in by noon Harvey will have the entire police force at Arkham.
In another part of Arkham, Lucius and Bruce (David Mazouz) are trapped in an experimental cell and Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is forcing them to play his fun little game of ‘answer my question correctly and you live, get it wrong and you die.’ The first question Nygma asks them is who runs Indian Hill. They get five minutes to talk it over and then have to answer. Bruce gets it right and says Wayne Enterprises. For his follow-up question, Nygma asks who really runs Wayne Enterprises. Lucius thinks it’s the board of directors but Bruce knows that’s too easy and that Nygma is fishing to see what they know. When their five minutes is up, Lucius answers that it’s the board and Nygma laughs saying they’re incorrect. He releases a gas that Lucius and Bruce are told is poison. They grab each other and hug one last time before passing out and falling on the floor.
Dr. Strange once again reports via video monitor to the mysterious masked woman and tells her the good news that Gordon and Bruce have no knowledge of who is really running Wayne Enterprises and Indian Hill. The woman still seems concerned and orders Hugo to destroy Indian Hill and all of his experiments, demanding there be no trace of any of them. Hugo orders Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) to get all the experiments onto their bus and get ready to transfer them to another location while he goes to set up the bomb for detonation. While Peabody is having the experiments moved, Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith) tries to lure her over in order to grab her hand and get control, but it fails. Persistence pays off for Fish however when Peabody comes to put her on board the bus. As Peabody prepares to tranquilize her, Fish touches her hand and face and gets Peabody to do as she says. Fish, Peabody, and two orderlies are walking down the hall when they come across Dr. Strange who tries to get Fish to listen to him. It fails, and Fish sends Peabody after Hugo when he flees.
Lucius and Bruce wake up in the same large locked room with Gordon still strapped to the chair and starting to come out from under the control of the truth drug. The door opens and two guards walk in with Selina (Camren Bicondova) who’s still playing at being Firefly’s assistant. She calls over Bruce who asks if she’s okay and she tells him she is. He apologizes for getting her trapped in Arkham and for being selfish and manipulative, and Selina responds by telling him that he couldn’t manipulate her if her tried and that SHE has HIM wrapped around her little finger. Bruce doesn’t deny that she does and tells her if she’s able to get out, she should go for the police. She tells him she’ll go her own way, as always, and that Hugo is going to blow the place up with a bomb. Bruce looks over at Gordon who’s now untied from the chair thanks to Lucius.
Back at the GCPD, Harvey is getting more and more suspicious of the fake Gordon who may look and sound like Jim but doesn’t act like him. Alfred (Sean Pertwee) shows up at the GCPD upset that Harvey and his policemen haven’t gone in and rescued Bruce and Lucius yet. Fake Gordon once again tries to blow off Arkham by saying it’s all okay over there and that Bruce and Lucius are most likely heading home now. Neither Harvey or Alfred are buying it. This is when Barbara (Erin Richards) enters the police station looking to find out who is running things at Arkham for Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). It seems Penguin, Barbara, and Butch (Drew Powell) have become buddies as of late. Barbara goes over to the fake Gordon to flirt and finds him very receptive. Surprised, she asks him, “What? You like me again?” Fake Gordon responds, “What’s not to like?” Barbara asks about Lee and the fake Gordon dismisses Lee and curses her name which causes Barbara to yell, “You’re NOT JIM!” She slaps his face which twists out of shape as clay will do if you hit it hard enough. Harvey and Alfred realize their Jim is still in Arkham. (Good job, Barbara, you beautiful crazy nut!)
Dr. Strange is able to knock out Peabody and program the bomb’s countdown to 30 minutes. Hugo shuts the doors and gates to Indian Hill, trapping everyone inside including Fish and the bus full of Dr. Strange’s experiments. Dr. Strange then goes to collect Mr. Freeze, Firefly, and Selina to escape, but Selina starts asking about the bomb and Hugo decides she needs to die. He tells Freeze to kill her and Selina responds by asking Firefly to protect her. Firefly does, which sets up a battle between fire and ice. Selina makes a run for it, heading back to where Bruce, Gordon, and Lucius are still trapped. She opens the door and Lucius asks what now, and Selina explains to the three men she’s been biding her time waiting for the right time to escape. She turns to go and the three men are still standing there so she says, “You guys coming or what?” They run back to where Hugo is now lying on the floor after ending up in the crossfire of Freeze’s and Firefly’s gun battle. Gordon wakes him up and makes him tell him where the bomb is located. Hugo tells him but refuses to explain how to stop it or how to get to it since everything is locked down and that it’s better if he dies here than face the wrath of his employers. Selina tells Gordon Nygma knows a way down to it. Gordon tells a reluctant Bruce and Selina to get out and as far away from Arkham as possible while he and Lucius go off to try to stop the bomb. The bomb’s blast is capable of not only killing everyone in the building but if Indian Hill’s radioactive material goes up, it could form a radioactive cloud around the blast resulting in the death of thousands. Jim and Lucius make Nygma – who was put back in his cell after interrogating Bruce and Lucius – show them the way down and unlock the gates and doors.
With an exit now available, Fish drives her bus full of monsters out of Indian Hill and speeds off with one of the arriving cop cars hot on her tail. Back down with the bomb both Gordon and Lucius are looking at it not knowing how to disarm the thing with less than two minutes to go. Gordon suggests they start unhooking wires thinking that will get it to stop counting down. Lucius fears it may actually activate it sooner. It’s then that Peabody wakes up and says “need water,” and Jim realizes she means they need to pour water over the control board of the bomb and short it out. Jim quickly grabs a cup, gets water from the fountain, and pours it all over the controls and wires, shorting out the bomb just seconds before it was about to explode. Peabody continues to ask for water, and Jim and Lucius realize she just wanted a drink of water…but the plan worked anyways. WHEW!
Outside, Gordon tells Bruce, Selina, and Alfred that he’s leaving Gotham for a while in order to find Lee and try to win her back. Selina tells him that girls like chocolate to show her support of his plan, and Alfred and Bruce wish him good luck. As Jim’s about to leave, Harvey asks him where he’s going now that they have a bus full of monsters to catch. Jim tells Bullock that he’s in charge and he’ll do just fine rounding them all up with his police force. As Jim gets in Harvey’s car he tells Bullock that he’s in charge now so he should think about getting a haircut. As Gordon drives off to go find his beloved Lee, Harvey yells out, “Hey, that’s my car!” Alfred suggests to Bruce that Gordon is smart putting all of this behind him and going to be with the woman he cares about, hinting Bruce should do the same. But Bruce tells Alfred they learned a secret society is really running Wayne Enterprises and Gotham and that they are so close to finally discovering who is really behind the death of his parents. Alfred, frustrated, looks at Selina who is smiling at Bruce. Selina says, “Hey, don’t look at me. This is all him,” and she turns back and smiles again at Bruce proudly, the way a young girl smiles at her boyfriend when he’s just done something brave or noble.
Fish’s monster bus is able to take out the cop car but crashes after getting attacked by Penguin and his men. It seems Penguin wants to make Hugo Strange pay for bringing Galavan back to life but doesn’t know that the mad doctor is back with the GCPD under arrest. Penguin is yelling at the bus when Fish comes up behind him and touches his shocked face which causes Oswald to pass out. Fish then walks off into the night. An older woman comes along and sees that there are people trapped in the bus so she opens the back door to let them out. She’s horrified when she sees all the weird-looking creatures exiting the bus and she falls to the ground. Just as she is about to pass out from the shock, a young man with long hair who looks exactly like Bruce Wayne exits the bus. He approaches her, bending over her to say, “Thank you.”
Review of the Gotham season 2 finale:
Suspenseful, action-packed, and quite eerie, episode 22 titled “Transference” ends the crime thriller series’ second season strong with the end of Dr. Strange’s control over Arkham and his terrifying experiments, Gordon leaving to win back Lee, Bruce still determined to unravel the conspiracy behind the death of his parents, and engineered monsters loose upon Gotham. Now that’s a jam-packed season finale! The stand-out performance once again goes to Ben McKenzie for not just his portrayal of Jim Gordon but especially for his performance as “Fake Gordon” (aka Clayface). His larger than life performance of the street goon doing his best to fool everyone into believing he’s Gordon (when his behavior is NOT like Jim at all) is hilarious and injects the dark series with some much-needed humor. Also worth pointing out is the scene where drug-induced Jim reveals to Hugo the guilt he feels having let Bruce down and losing Lee. It’s a genuine albeit brief emotional moment for a man who carries the weight of the world on his back.
With Dr. Strange’s monsters roaming Gotham City and the introduction of the secret society, which seems to be the “Court of Owls” from the DC graphic novels, here’s looking forward to season three in the fall.