Gotham recap: Wrath of the Villains: Transference
The Hugo Strange story line came to an abrupt halt on Monday’s season finale of Gotham, but what’s left me the most confused about “Wrath of the Villains: Transference” is the complete 180 of James Gordon. Is one drug-induced therapy session with Professor Strange really all it takes to lift decades of guilt and burden off of Gordon’s shoulders so much so that he shirks his desire for justice and protection of his city in what could be its greatest time of need?
Now I’m not saying he shouldn’t go looking for Lee so that he can live a happy, love-filled life with her. She seems to be a good woman (despite her rather underdeveloped story line this season), and Gordon deserves to be happy (as all heroes should), but I’m torn by the suddenness of this decision. Perhaps that’s because all we really know about Gordon is that he works hard for justice so much so that he sacrifices so many things about his own life to get it. And even then, he fails. A LOT. And if that’s the man we’ve grown accustomed to for the past two seasons, then how could one druggy conversation in which a clear madman pretending God “absolves” all of Gordon’s guilt, really change Gordon’s entire personality?
I’ll be sitting with this story line for quite some time (maybe I’m the only one who’s ridiculous enough to dwell on something others may find totally normal), but for now, there’s more pressing Gotham matters to discuss: Mainly the release of Hugo Strange’s monsters into the city, and the “secret council” whose bad hiring practices inadvertently made this soon-to-be disaster happen.
“Transference” picks up immediately after last week’s events: Gordon has been locked up by Strange and just witnessed Basil, a.k.a. Clayface, take on his appearance. Lucius and Bruce are also taken prisoner by Strange’s lackey, who just so happens to be Edward Nygma. Selina meanwhile has found her way to safety as Firefly’s sidekick, and Fish Mooney is just biding her time, waiting for the opportune moment to use her newfound powers to escape Indian Hill.
Gordon undergoes his drug-filled emotional release with Strange while Nygma forces Lucius and Bruce to play a question-and-answer game based on what they really know about Indian Hill. Get a question wrong, Nygma threatens, and they die by poison gas. (It’s a fun game!) Bruce correctly surmises that Indian Hill is run by Wayne Enterprises, but when Nygma asks them who runs Wayne Enterprises, both captives are at a loss, and it’s lights out. Thankfully for them, they awaken next to a still tied-up and locked-up Gordon, whose truth drug therapy was also a way for Strange to find out how much he knew about who really pulls the strings in Gotham.
NEXT: What is this “secret council”?
Turns out Strange was really just trying to pump our ragtag group of heroes for answers they didn’t really have, in order to make sure his employers stay a secret, the same employers Strange mysteriously tells Gordon about, which he then relays to everyone else. Does Strange not realize by now that that tiny bit of information will start a fire under Gordon and/or Bruce’s ass to find out who/what is the “secret council” and how they can be brought to justice?
Strange orders for the transfer of his experiments while heading to the bomb for detonation. Meanwhile, Peabody and Fish have a bit of a showdown. As we know about Fish, she’s all about survival — whatever it takes — and her new powers can only help her on this mission. She attempts to grab a guard’s hand than Peabody’s but is foiled every time. But apparently good things do happen to those who wait because Fish is quickly given the chance to grab Peabody’s hand and is instantly able to control her, so much so that she is able to sic Peabody on Strange as he attempts to set off the bomb and lock all the monsters inside.
At first, Fish’s situation seems dire once again, as Strange is able to knock out his assistant, shut the doors to Indian Hill, and start the bomb’s detonation clock. But when he reveals his plan to Gordon, Lucius, and Bruce — who are released thanks to Selina being pretty much the greatest (shoutout to that quick Firefly vs. Freeze fight!) — Gordon of course does the honorable thing by rushing to stop the bomb’s detonation, which would potentially kill not only the monsters, but thousands of people, if Indian Hill’s radioactive material were to form a radioactive cloud around the blast.
Strange refuses to open the gates once again, insisting that he would rather die, so Selina suggests Nygma be used to break in. Nygma obliges (because he basically has to) and as the gates unlock, Fish is back on the road to freedom once again.
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Instead of just running away, Fish decides to drive the bus full of monsters out with her, likely in a selfish attempt to use the bus as more of a steamroller for cops and other things in her way as she escapes. But her decision leads to what is sure to be the major story line for season 3 of Gotham: The capture/destruction of the released monsters.
NEXT: Bring back Clayfaced Jim Gordon!
You may be asking yourself, where in the world is the freakin’ GCPD? They begin the episode ready to take down Strange and all the Indian Hill baddies, but they immediately abandon their efforts thanks to one terrible impersonation of one not-so-real cop. Basil, a.k.a. Clayface, successfully convinces the entire GCPD that he is Gordon, including one of Gordon’s oldest and closest friends, Harvey “Acting Captain” Bullock.
Clayface plays off his terrible Gordon impersonation as a “flu” and tells Harvey to drop all cases against Strange. He starts off telling Bullock that Strange is clean, but then reveals the people in Strange’s camp are too big and scary to hunt down. Bullock somehow doesn’t realize that this doppelgänger is not his real-life best friend, despite his “forgetfulness,” Christian Bale as Batman-esque voice, and way too constant smiling. But when Barbara — who is now working for Penguin — shows up at the precinct to find out about the Hugo Strange/Arkham raid, she instantly recognizes the fraud, all thanks to Clayface’s interest in her, unlike the real Gordon’s normal aversion to his ex.
The GCPD finally head back out to Arkham to save the real Gordon, as he fumbles with how to stop a gigantic bomb. Peabody comes out of unconsciousness just long enough to say the words “need water,” and Gordon and Lucius take that to mean the bomb will be destroyed by using water. Turns out she just wanted a glass for her poor self, but the plan works. Unfortunately, the GCPD now have bigger fish to fry as they have lost eyes on the monster-filled bus. And Gordon is no help as he decides this is the perfect moment to leave Gotham and his best friend/new acting captain with the immense threat of finding Lee. He leaves Bullock with some passing advice: Get a haircut. Seriously?
The monster bus is chock-full of surprises, especially for Penguin who uses Butch to gun the thing down so he can take down Hugo Strange (whom he believes to be driving). When Penguin encounters Fish instead, she touches his face with her powers and he goes down. Fish’s escape is just the first round of bad news for Gotham, as a lady passes the bus and unlocks its doors, leading to the release of so much evil, including a Bruce Wayne look-alike.
How was Strange able to clone Bruce? What monsters are we likely to see in season 3? Considering the hints we’ve seen of Indian Hill’s experiments all season, there are bound to be truly terrifying creatures that are now freely roaming Gotham’s streets. Anyone else hoping for a reanimated Jerome? *Fingers and toes crossed* Gothamites, I cannot WAIT to hear which DC villains you hope/believe will make an appearance next season. Let’s talk below!