Warning: Spoiler Alert
“All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Any Television series based on comic-book characters, that respects its audience enough to use the first line from one of the greatest novels ever written, as the title for the their first season finale, deserves high praise. However there’s far more to salute the FOX series “Gotham,” about as they drew the first campaign to a close, Monday night. The show-runners have built a back story for a set of legendary characters, that has shown its viewers why the characters that have entertained millions for over 75-years, act and react the way they do.
We came into this series knowing Batman and the Gotham City that he inhabits, we now are aware of what pointed Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Oswald Cobblepot, Selina Kyle and Edward Nygma, on the paths that each would follow. The battle-lines got redrawn in the final episode of the first season, as some characters met their demise, while others embraced their destiny. Former friends became enemies and some unlikely bonds were formed, while secrets were also unearthed, that will change the characters dramatically when the show returns.
We begin the evening along Gotham City’s waterfront, as Selina Kyle and two other teens try to warm themselves over a burning barrel. Kyle hears something and looks into the water, where she sees a rowboat heading to shore, with a figure standing in the front. As the boat gets closer, we realize that Fish Mooney’s made it back to Gotham City, along with the prisoners she helped escape from the facility that used them for spare parts for patients needing organs.
As Fish approaches the barrel to warm her hands, the two other teens back off but Selina greets Fish with a smile. Fish smiles back and says good morning child, Kyle says they’re not children and it’s still nighttime. Mooney smiles and says morning’s coming soon, the start of a wonderful new day.
A graphic tells us it’s two-weeks later, as we join Bruce Wayne in the family library, looking for a clue he believes his late father left behind. The boy’s guardian and the family butler Alfred Pennyworth, enters the room and tells Bruce that his thoughts that his father had a secret life are foolish. He says that if Thomas Wayne did have a secret life, he’d have known about it, then says that Wayne came straight home from work each evening, then worked in this very room, once he got home.
Bruce says that he remembers and he couldn’t bother his father, while he was in the library. He says the one time he did try to get his attention, he found out the library door was locked. He says to Alfred that his father’s secret’s contained in the library and he’s determined to find it.
Carmine Falcone’s driven to the waterfront and he heads to a group of caged chickens, he takes one hen out of her cage and tells her he likes her style. Suddenly a motorcycle pulls up about 50-yards away with two people on the bike, the person sitting in the rear gets off the bike and sets up a rocket-launcher, firing a missile at Falcone’s Cadillac.
We arrive at Jim Gordon’s precinct, they have two cells filled with criminals, one cell containing Sal Maroni’s soldiers, the other stuffed with Falcone’s men. Harvey finds Gordon and tells him that Don Falcone just got hit, Jim asks if he’s still alive. Bullock responds he’s at the hospital, he just got banged up but he could be dead soon as GCPD Commissioner Loeb’s decided to back Sal Maroni in this war. Gordon says that Maroni’s too much of a loose cannon to run the city, Harvey responds they don’t have any say in the matter.
It looks like Falcone’s time’s about to run out, as he’s handcuffed to a gurney in a grimy looking hospital room. Penguin and Butch Gilzean walk in and Falcone tells Cobblepot to get him loose, but Penguin informs him that he’s the reason Falcone’s about to die. He thanks him for being a wise mentor and good friend, then pulls out a scalpel and puts it next to the old man’s throat. Falcone gets a reprieve as Gordon comes in and handcuffs Oswald and Butch, then frees Falcone.
Gordon heads out into the hallway and Tommy Bones walks in from the street and asks what he’s doing there? Gordon shrugs, Bones goes back outside and returns with Commissioner Loeb, who orders Gordon to leave the premises. Jim smirks at the Commissioner and says he can’t wait to see Loeb behind bars. The Commissioner gives Gordon a dirty look, turns around and leaves and tells Tommy Bones to have fun. Suddenly there are five gunmen looking to take Gordon out.
Gordon’s able to kill all five of his assailants, he’s ready to start shooting again, but it’s Harvey who’s arrived on the scene. They go to the basement, with Falcone, Penguin and Butch, commandeer an ambulance and drive past Maroni and his soldiers.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred have removed every book from its shelf in the family library. Alfred tells the boy they’ve looked all over the room, but there’s no hidden secret left by Thomas Wayne. Bruce refuses to give up, he’s certain he’s on the right track and will find what he’s looking for eventually.
Harvey and Jim arrive with their motley-crew to Falcone’s warehouse, as they pull into the building Harvey asks Falcone if he’s positive that nobody knows about this place. Falcone chuckles, then says anybody who did know about this place is dead. Suddenly we hear foot steps and we see that somebody’s walking towards the group holding an automatic weapon. It’s a young woman who at first says hello, then switches to what’s up, turns out the young woman is the newly coiffed Selina Kyle, now working for Fish.
A door opens to the groups left and out marches Fish and her band of loyalists, each clutching a weapon. Mooney sees the shock on the group’s faces and says that sometimes she even surprises herself, as to just how resilient she can be.
Lee Thompkins treated Barbara Kean’s injuries, after Gordon rescued his former fiancée from serial killer Jason Lennon in the previous episode, but Lee told Kean that she needed psychological counseling, after what she went through. Barbara says the only person she’d talk with is Thompkins, at Barbara’s apartment. Although Thompkins has had minimal counseling training, she agrees to help her.
Kean tells Lee that she feels like she’s dreaming and is about to wake up. Thompkins says that Barbara got imprisoned by Lennon, then watched him murder her parents. She says that part’s real, but she feels like this conversation’s a dream. She says she knows she’s about to wake up and Jason will still be alive and ready to start torturing her again.
Fish contacts Maroni and makes a deal with Sal to get all her territory back in exchange for Falcone. Fish has Gordon, Bullock, Penguin and Falcone hanging from the ceiling by their hands when Maroni enters the building. He goes over and hugs Fish, then he tells Falcone that this is his last stop, Sal’s about to end his life.
Penguin decides to try to stir the pot, he tells Fish that if she hands Falcone over to Maroni, she’s signing her own death certificate. He says that Maroni’s going to make sure he has no rivals left. Sal says Fish won’t be a rival, just another underboss. Mooney blanches at that description, saying underbosses take orders and she doesn’t want to take orders. Maroni then calls her Babe, which really ruffles Fish’s feathers and she asks him not to refer to her that way again.
They finally hammer out an understanding that they’ll be partners, with him being number one and Mooney as number two. He then calls her Babe again and her face turns cold, he tells his soldiers never to call Mooney Babe or Toots. Mooney’s patience runs out and she plants a bullet in Maroni’s head, he hits the floor and dies instantly. Sal’s soldiers start going after Mooney’s people and Gordon and the rest escape, while their captors are preoccupied.
Falcone, Jim and Harvey hide in a holding container and the Crime Lord tells Gordon that if he survives this he’s retiring, he’s got a place down south on the water and that’s where he’ll live out his days. He barely finishes his sentence, when Selina and Mooney’s people take them back to the warehouse.
Tied up once again, Carmine tells Fish that he’s decided to retire, she asks if that means she doesn’t have to kill him now and he replies he hopes that’s her decision. But the conversation ends there, as Penguin surprise them with a machine gun, causing all to scatter. He shouts for Mooney, then sees her taking the stairs so he follows her to the roof.
Barbara starts telling Lee what happened with Jason. She starts talking about the road trip they made to her parents house. She then tells Lee that she was talking to them as she killed them, Thompkins tells her that she didn’t kill her parents, Jason Lennon did. Barbara says she stabbed them both several times and then she slit both their throats. She picks up a carving knife from the table and Lee runs.
She locks herself in the bathroom, but Barbara starts breaking down the door. Lee wraps her arm, then smashes the mirror, grabbing a large shard of broken glass as a weapon. Kean breaks down the door and goes after Thompkins with a metal rod.
Kean gets the early advantage as the two women roll across the living room floor. Lee gets on top of Barbara, slugs Kean in the jaw then slams her head repeatedly against the wooden floor. Barbara’s comatose, when Gordon, Bullock and Falcone walk in. Lee tells Jim that Barbara went crazy and attacked her.
Back at the precinct Kristin Kringle comes to police scientist Ed Nygma, with the goodbye note supposedly sent to her by her ex-boyfriend GCPD Officer Tom Dougherty. She shows Nygma that the first letter of each sentence of the note spells out Ed’s last name. He laughs and says what a wild coincidence that is, she doesn’t seem sure if he’s telling her the truth but leaves, wishing him a pleasant day.
Not being able to live with the guilt of killing Dougherty, Ed has a meltdown. He hears voices in his head and then starts arguing with himself, one voice representing good, the other evil. He starts talking about Kringle, the evil half saying she doesn’t care about him and treats him like dirt. He struggles with the two sides, but we can see that the evil side’s victorious.
Penguin slowly searches the roof for Fish, holding a pistol, but she ambushes him with a pipe when he turns a corner. Suddenly Butch shows up and they both tell him to shoot the other one. Butch tries to fight off the hatred for Fish that Falcone’s people planted in his head, but the best he can do is put a bullet into each of them. As soon as he shoots Mooney he apologizes saying he loves her.
Penguin and Mooney start fighting again and Cobblepot pushes his former boss off of the roof and she falls into the water below. Penguin suddenly realizes what he’s done, he climbs up on the ledge of the roof and starts shouting that he’s the King of Gotham.
Falcone and Gordon have a conversation on Barbara’s balcony, looking at the city below them. Carmine’s sticking to his word, he’ll leave for his Southern retreat within days. He says that Gotham City doesn’t need a criminal running things, it needs a lawman and Falcone tells Gordon that he believes it’s him. He then gives Jim his knife as a going-away gift. He tells the Detective that the knife used to belong to Gordon’s dad, who gave it to Falcone as a present when both were young men. He says Gordon’s father was the most honest man he ever met, yet he still carried a knife.
Bruce’s rather desolate, after he and Alfred tore the library apart, without finding anything of his father’s. Pennyworth tries to cheer the boy up with a quote, but he tells the butler the quote comes from a Roman Emperor, who was also a stoic like Thomas Wayne. Bruce finds the book about the emperor and finds what looks like a remote control unit, hidden in the book. Wayne presses the button and the fireplace recedes from the wall, revealing a passageway. They look into the passageway and see stairs leading to a cave below the house.