The Bat. The Cat. The Penguin. (also Riddler, Ra’s al Ghul, Hugo Strange, Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Firefly…)
By Matt Fowler
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
Hey, how about that? No Harley Quinn at all! Not even a tease or a glint.
I hope not too many of you watched this two-parter hoping for a shot of Dr. Quinzel because of the rumors (or because star David Mazouz said she’d be in the finale) because she’s, assumedly now, being held for Season 4. Mazouz got some wrong intel or he inadvertently became a cog in the hype machine. Either way, producers should have definitively shot down these rumors once cast members started spouting them.
But let’s look at what we did get by the end of “Destiny Calling/Heavydirtysoul,” other than the knowledge that one of the writers is a big Twenty One Pilots fan. We got ourselves an official Iceberg Lounge! All thanks to a really fun twist that involved Penguin out-smarting Riddler by taking advantage of Riddler’s trademark Type-A/OCD weakness. The fact that Edward is, as Oswald put it, “driven by a desperate need to complete what you started in an exacting fashion.” That was excellent. Now Nygma’s on ice, placed to the side, and ready to be thawed out next season however it is they choose to free him from the block.
Another fun moment in this double-sized season ender was Tabitha finally kicking Barbara’s ass – killing Crime Lord Kean in the process. And if you’re sitting there thinking “Well, Babs can get brought back to life and become Harley,” bless you. Sure, that could happen and we could indeed be witnessing a “Harley was on the show all along” scenario, but no one should have to theorize that much, or that hard, about Gotham.
Anyhow, Tabitha basically had her best moment on the show here. At least, her best moment since she debuted. I was a little surprised that Barbara was able to hold her own as much as she did given Tigress’ prowess in the lethal arts of aggravated assault, but Tabitha still won, Barbara got zizzle’d to death, and now it looks like Tabs is going to mentor Selina in the fine art of Catwoman’ing.
Also…Butch is Solomon Grundy? Okay. You do you, Gotham.
Now, let’s dig into Jim’s storyline a little bit, but not before we all share a loud and hearty laugh over Harvey telling Jim that he’s the best cop he’d ever worked with.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That it riotous. What a concept. First off, no one on the GCPD is a good cop. Period. Secondly, Alvarez is a better cop than Jim and he got infected with the virus and nearly killed a handful of his fellow officers. Thirdly, Jim is a MURDERER. He murdered a man. Straight up. Also, he went to prison. For murder. And the only reason he was cleared was because he wasn’t convinced for murdering the man he actually murdered.
I’m telling myself that Harvey only told Jim he was the best cop ever in order to distract him and hand him that badge (with the little cure needles on the back of it) because otherwise it’ll make no sense and keep me up at night.
I will say this, at least these episodes made an earnest attempt to give us a Gotham in peril. There were multiple shots throughout of burning landscapes and people going nuts. The National Guard even had to come in and sweep up. But so far I haven’t seen anything on this show that would truly level the city. Even if an argument can be made that this was the worst thing the city’s ever faced, they’ll still recover. Jim Gordon’s their best cop of all time. They have a very low bar set for acceptable levels of day-to-day safety.
Now…the Bruce and Alfred story thread here. Sure, why not? I didn’t mind Alexander Siddig’s Ra’s. He’s mysterious and elusive and confoundingly contradictory, but it can work. That’s pretty much Ra’s. He sees Bruce and his heir but for some reason…he wanted Bruce to be a mindless Talon first? He wanted Bruce to be brainwashed instead of making the decision to succeed Ra’s with a clear mind? That’s a strange tactic. But we’ll wait and see. After all, he made it so that Bruce had the tools at hand to bring Alfred back to life so he definitely anticipated the boy snapping out of the trance and regaining his mental faculties. Honestly, this show is so nuts that it’ll take a lot to make Ra’s stand out. Especially since we already spent an entire arc with Theo Galavan and his quest to level Gotham and obsess over Bruce.
The end beat though, with Bruce becoming proto-batman and rescuing that family in the alleyway – that was nifty. Again, if we’re assuming Gotham, after three seasons, is headed toward an end sooner than later, whether the show goes on for one more season or two, then everything needs to move as close to Batman as it possibly can. Assuming again that this show remains unable to use Batman in its story at all. If we’re to be dropped on the doorstep of The Bat’s official debut then we have to get ushered right up the front line and right at the end of these two episodes were huge moments for both Batman and Catwoman.
As for Jim and Lee? Well, I liked that Lee got to slink off with cured blood, a damaged ego, and a broken heart, but nothing about their story felt all that important in the grand scheme of everything else. She literally just wanted to run away with him. Yeah, having the virus skip town would have been dangerous, but when has this series ever even mentioned another city other than Atlanta? Because Lee moved there. By the time Jim had given into the virus I was totally content with the two of them just running off and having insane aggro babies. Were we really supposed to be as invested in stopping them as Harvey was? Should we have dreaded the idea of Gotham losing its best and brightest police officer?
Gotham’s never been able to land their finales quite right, and this giant, sprawling attempt to include and incorporate the show’s entire ensemble wasn’t any different really – but it was still the best finale to date after three years. Perhaps it’s because we are getting closer to the end and Bruce is already dabbling in nocturnal vigilantism and Catwoman’s ready to become less neutral good and more neutral evil.