Fox‘s Gotham All Happy Families Are Alike TV Show Review. Gotham: Season 1, Episode 22: All Happy Families Are Alike proves its title ironic almost immediately, and then it just keeps getting more so. In this episode, the s**t really hits the fan all over the place, as many established arcs come to a violent finale.
As was demonstrated in the prior episode, Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and his new underling Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) have conspired to reignite the war between Sal Maroni (David Zayas) and Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Maroni goes on the offense; blowing up Falcone’s car and sending him to the hospital, where Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) knows his enemies will come to finish the job, so Gordon and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) rush off to save him, operating under the conclusion that if the ruthless but disciplined Falcone dies, Gotham will descend into chaos. There, they run into Penguin and Butch, who also have designs on Falcone’s life, with Maroni’s men still coming. Meanwhile, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is back in town with a new gang (and new hairdo), and so predictably, multi-way, mass-melee breaks out among them all.
It’s not the most artful mass-melee. The choreography and stuntwork in Gotham lag behind many peers, and though a broad spectrum of fighting tropes are on display, none of them are either original or at their peak here. Some of it is rather rushed; questions as to how Fish Mooney reestablished herself so quickly and managed to recruit Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) to her gang (for the record, longtime fans may be bothered by the degree to which Selina is turning to the “dark” side) are completely unanswered. There is also one bonus fight that is unexpected and treads disturbingly close to exploitation film territory.
Still, the constant fighting is satisfying. Not that the formula could sustain a whole show, but after multiple episodes containing varying degrees of filler; scenes that advanced vital plot points but often consisted of little more than conversations, seeing things finally blow up all at once feels worth it. It creates the sense that a once-crowded slate is wiped clean, and aside from the psychotic transformation of Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), the alliance between Gordon and Penguin breaking down catastrophically, and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) escalating his journey to becoming Batman, there’s little that can be predicted about Season 2. My hope is that it won’t overwhelm such core arcs with myriad subplots, but we’ll see. Until then, I’m sated.
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