While Season 1 of Gotham ended with the rise of a new king of the city, Season 2’s ‘Transference’ leaves us with the most chaotic, anarchic Gotham we have seen yet.
Remember when the beginning of Season 2 promised utter chaos in the city after the release of a few Arkham inmates? Well, it seems that was just a small appetizer for what’s coming in Season 3. Gotham has always been a show more focused on the villains than on the heroes of the story, so a season finale that promises to unleash all the monsters that had been locked in Indian Hill was bound to be a success. And it was. ‘Transference’ is a pretty good way to end what has been a superb season and it certainly does its job of setting up the plot of what’s coming next.
Sadly, this finale still suffered from many problems and one of them was pacing. While the content was good, the way in which some of the events happened was so rushed that they left many unanswered questions. How did Strange exactly survive attacks from both Mr. Freeze and Firefly? How were Bruce and Lucius saved from the deadly gas? What happened to Nygma and how did he get locked up again? Sure, some of these things could be somewhat answered by using our imagination to fill in the blanks, but it was also obvious that the show struggled to give answers due to time constrictions. It was quite inconsistent too. It’s a well-known fact that any season finale is made 100% more exciting with the addition of a ticking time bomb. However, once the bomb had been defused (with water, no less), much of the thrill was gone.
Jim had quite the strange journey in this episode. Starting with its clone, the scary Clayface!Jim that got introduced last episode was reduced to a mere plot device to hold the GCPD off until the episode was advanced enough for them to get to Arkham. The fact that Clayface was SO painfully obvious didn’t help much either (although at least we got to see some funny face expressions from Ben McKenzie). As per Jim himself, he played his Season-1-save-everyone card by choosing to risk himself to defuse the bomb to avoid the slow chances of a radioactive disaster (Lucius and him were surprisingly calm in that scene), but then he chooses to disappear from the city to go back for Lee. It still seemed pretty random, no matter how much they tried to insert subtle Lee references throughout the episode. Whatever happened to fixing Gotham first? How is he leaving Harvey alone in this? Yes, Jim deserves to be selfish every now and then and his situation with Lee needs to be fixed at some point, but it still somewhat out of character given the circumstances.
One of the many things this finale also did was establishing Hugo Strange’s downfall. We got to see Hugo actually scared and desperate for the first time. He failed in blowing up Indian Hill and he also got arrested. His downfall also served to hype up this “secret council” that’s not so secret anymore. The Court of Owls is finally making an appearance in the series, and if that isn’t enough to hype you up for Season 3 I don’t know what will.
Many of these problems could be blamed on time limitations (I believe this finale should have been 2 episodes), but if there is one loose thread in all this that still makes no sense is Fish Mooney. While I don’t agree with the majority of the fandom and I actually like her character, I’m not really sure what they plan to do with her. I was fine with her making a one-off return, similarly to what happened with Azrael. However, it seems like she’s back stronger than ever (she must LOVE that power) and she could even be back to hold Penguin off, which would be a major step-back. Speaking of Penguin, neither him nor Nygma, Barbara or Butch had a big role in this mess, which was probably the most surprising thing about the whole finale.
Instead of focusing on those known villains, all attention was put on the new villains breakout. The problem with this new threat is that it’s more of a concept than actual scary characters that we can be afraid of. While having villains/monsters walking around freely in the city is enough to make us realize how grave the situation is, it still felt lackluster for the last minutes of a finale. If there is one thing that fans are looking forward to is that maniac laugh that was heard when the bus doors opened, implying that Jerome is indeed coming back for Season 3. The fact that Cameron Monaghan himself tweeted this fan art after the episode ended could be yet another indication of it. That wasn’t all there was, though, as we also got to see a… Bruce with longer hair? Lincoln March? Hush? One thing is for sure: fans are going to be a lot of fun speculating on the monsters’ identities during the hiatus!