"All Happy Families Are Alike" (S1/E22)
Author: Ricky Church (Follow RICHARDCHURCH16)
May 5, 2015

EPISODE INFO: "All Happy Families Are Alike" was written by Bruno Heller and directed by Danny Cannon. It originally aired on the FOX television network on Monday, May 4, 2015. GOTHAM is based on "Batman" characters owned and published by DC Comics.

SYNOPSIS: While Leslie helps Barbara with counseling, Jim and Harvey try tor rescue Falcone from first Oswald, then Fish, then Maroni. Meanwhile, Kristen asks Edward about Tom's mysterious disappearance.

MAIN CAST: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, John Doman as Carmine Falcone.

PREVIOUS EPISODE: S1/E21 "The Anvil or the Hammer" Review by Ricky Church (4.29.15)

The review continues after the GOTHAM episode below!

Well, this is it. The finale of GOTHAM’s first season. The question now is did it deliver everything you hoped for?

All in all, it was disappointing – especially for a season finale.

“All Happy Families Are Alike” started off fairy well as Carmine Falcone was attacked and Gordon decided to protect Falcone. This was because Gordon felt Falcone was not only the lesser of evils, but the only person who could restore stability to Gotham’s streets. Gordon’s decision made a little bit of sense; after all, Falcone is way more rational than Maroni, Fish, Penguin or even Commissioner Loeb. He also seems to genuinely care for the city above his own needs (most of the time at least). It also led to a nice shootout between Gordon and Maroni’s men, one that harkened back to Gordon’s stand against Zsasz in the GCPD. Considering “Penguin’s Umrella” is GOTHAM’s best episode, its no surprise the finale found inspiration there. It was, however, odd no mention of Gordon and Falcone’s last meeting, where Falcone threatened Barbara’s death by Zsasz, was made considering the circumstances.

Unfortunately, the finale started slipping from there. The narrative spun its wheels as the gang escaped, got captured by Fish, escaped again during a firefight, got captured by Fish again and escaped yet again during another firefight. It also repeated several story beats from past episodes, namely Falcone considering retirement. Only this time he’d be leaving the city in a state of upheaval and for a much less noble reason. He considered retiring previously to save the life of the woman he loved. It was not entirely clear why he decided to fully retire now. Was it because he was just tired of the war? Was it because, as he may have implied, he saw the monsters he had created? Falcone’s motivations could have been fleshed out further.

After two episodes away, Fish finally returned to Gotham City and sported a new look as well as a ‘sidekick’ in Selina. It was surprising how little screen time Fish actually received, though not entirely disappointing either. She had one of the biggest surprises of the season as she quickly killed Sal Maroni in a bid to be the number one ruler of Gotham. This is only a surprise given Maroni’s role in Two-Face’s origin, showing how the writers are willing to really deviate from the source material. Fish’s final showdown with Penguin was a bit of a letdown and seemed rather cheesy, especially when they did the whole “Shoot him/her, not me!” bit with Butch.

It’s also interesting Fish met her end in the traditional way for comic book villains. If there’s no body, they most likely didn’t die (at least if you’re a famous villain). The door remains open for Fish Mooney to return once again, but given Jada Pinkett-Smith’s recent statements, she most likely won’t be back in season two.

Elsewhere, Barbara attempted to kill Leslie, proving she did snap due to her experience with The Ogre. Its also revealed she may have had more to do with her parent’s deaths than the previous episode let on while also revealing her reasons for killing them (though the reasons she gave are somewhat juvenile). Perhaps more will be discovered about Barbara’s past and condition next season, assuming she’ll return as well. ‘All Happy Families’ was rather ambiguous as to whether or not she died in the struggle.

Overall, it was a very uneven finale that felt like they were killing time to get to the real twists and set-up for season two. It didn’t deliver on the promise of a full out mob war and Gordon was saddled with being more of an observer rather than an actual participant for the majority of the episode.

It also feels like, despite Penguin’s apparent takeover of Gotham, not very much has changed going forward. Nearly everyone, especially Gotham City as a whole, is still in the same position they were beforehand. It makes it very hard to tune in next year when there are no lasting consequences.

Lastly, it has been my privilege to write these GOTHAM reviews for you. I’d like to thank you all for reading them throughout the year and hope you had as much fun reading them as I did writing them. I’d also like to thank the man himself, Bill "Jett" Ramey, for giving me the opportunity to write for BOF. Hope you tune in (if not for the show, then my reviews at least) next season!

* Did anyone else find it odd that Zsasz, shown to be Falcone’s main enforcer and possibly biggest supporter, sat out throughout the episode? Why was there not even a mention of his whereabouts?

* Butch’s mental state and/or conditioning was brought back again after being absent for several episodes now.

* If Nygma is crazy now, that seems a rather abrupt turn to insanity.

* The Wayne conspiracy plotline has spun its wheels too. Nothing significant happened on Bruce’s end until the closing scene and nothing new about the Wayne Enterprises corruption has been discovered.


GOTHAM airs Mondays at 7PM CT/8PM ET on FOX.
CLICK HERE for all of BOF's GOTHAM coverage.

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