Title: Gotham: “Transference”
Air Date: May 23, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
So this is it; Gotham’s season two finale, Transference. In the last episode, Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong) replaced Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) with Clayface, The Court Of Owls made themselves known to the audience, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) began toying with Bruce (David Mazouz) and Lucius (Chris Chalk) and Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) returned with superpowers because “Reasons”. After A Legion Of Horribles, how does Transference stack up? In my opinion, about the same. Transference is a serviceable finale that, despite its flaws, does deliver a good setup for season three. Besides, anything’s better than the completely unsatisfying season one finale, right?
In this episode, we see Jim Gordon, still being held captive by Hugo Strange. Meanwhile, to throw off the GCPD, Clayface pretends to be Gordon above ground. However, while the last episode merely showed Gordon captured, here we get a bigger insight into his psyche via Hugo’s Interrogation. I would like to say that the entire episode uses Strange in a strong manner, however, I just can’t. The interrogation scenes with Strange and Gordon are beautifully done, perfectly demonstrating Hugo Strange’s presence as a menacing villain. He’s like Hannibal Lecter without the cannibalism.
However, once these scenes go away about halfway through the episode, they do things with Strange that ultimately betray all of this. He becomes more of a mindless simpleton under pressure and it really hurts what we saw beforehand. I don’t mind a villain crying as long as he’s a sympathetic character (The Penguin in Batman Returns). Hugo Strange, however, is not. It seems they did this to make The Court Of Owls look more threatening, but my point still stands. There’s even a scene where we see him get in the middle of a fight between Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow) and Firefly (Michelle Veintimilla). He is burned and frozen at the same time and yet, somehow makes it out just fine with barely a scratch on him. When did Hugo Strange become Superman? Did I miss that thing? Was a memo not sent to me?
Anyway, while that’s going on, Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox are being held captive in a room where Edward Nygma continues to riddle them for their very lives. As they were in the last episode, these scenes with Nygma are perfect in Transference. It’s so refreshing to see him just be The Riddler. Cory Michael Smith is funny and menacing and it’s a blast to watch him play this character. But for every Edward Nygma, there’s a Fish Mooney around the corner waiting to ruin everything once again. This time, we see Fish use her new “Powers” to gain control of Ms. Peabody’s (Tonya Pinkins) mind in an effort to escape with a busload of Indian Hill villains. Granted, this is probably the most useful thing she’s ever done in this series but it still doesn’t make her interesting.
I will say, however, that this does give a rather nice lead-up for season three. Fish Mooney has captured Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), assured Butch (Drew Powell) that she is indeed alive and the busload of Indian Hill villains escape. So, I will commend the writers for keeping us pumped. We only see glimpses of most of the Indian Hill villains, mostly in blurred visions. However, we do hear a laugh that sounds an awful lot like Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), the character that we all thought was going to be The Joker before he was abruptly killed off. Personally, I’d love to see him back so I guess we’ll see what happens. We also see what appears to be a clone of Bruce Wayne. Lincoln March, anyone?
Going back to James Gordon, many things bothered me about the character in the episode. We’ve seen James as a strong-willed, determined character and Transference enforces that when he’s able to overcome Hugo Strange. However, what bothers me is what they do to him at the end. James Gordon, regardless of his love for Leslie (Morena Baccarin), does not strike me as the guy who would just up and leave Gotham when it’s at its most perilous to find her. Maybe that’s just me, but it felt incredibly out of character for him. But that’s not the only out of character moment Transference has to offer. If there’s anyone who knows James Gordon better than himself by this point, it’s his partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), right? Well, as I said earlier, Clayface is impersonating James Gordon at the GCPD to keep the police at bay.
But here’s my question, how the hell does Bullock not realize that it’s not really James? You’d think his partner, the man he’s gone into the field within almost every episode, would know that something is up. Bullock acknowledges Gordon is acting strange but he never once puts two and two together. It feels like Bullock got dumber in the span of one episode. That’s not all though, as Barbara Keene manages to discover that Clayface is not really James. How? Because Bullock just lets her walk right int0 the GCPD. I’m sorry, why would you let her do that? The last time that happened, just about the entire GCPD was massacred, including the captain at the time. Being that Bullock is the captain now, you’d think he’d take the appropriate precautions. I don’t think Transference could have made Bullock look more like an incompetent moron if they tried.
Overall, while Transference suffers from, more or less, the same problems that have plagued the show from the word “go”, it’s still an ultimately satisfying finale that does what a finale is supposed to do; get you pumped for the next season. Edward Nygma is great, the cinematography looks awesome as always and the episode offers some rather nice character moments as well. It plays it a bit too safe at times though and is rather clumsy. I mean, a bomb? Really? Couldn’t you think of anything more original than that? Fish Mooney is still uninteresting, Hugo Strange goes from menacing to a scared bunny rabbit at the drop of a hat, Bullock feels dumbed down and Gordon just up and leaves Gotham for “reasons”. Transference isn’t a perfect episode but it was enjoyable enough to warrant a pass on my part. Here’s to season three being much better.
- Characters: Edward Nygma and Hugo Strange are the highlights of the episode. However, even Strange is dumbed down by the end, Fish Mooney is still a cardboard cutout and both Bullock and Gordon feel somewhat out of character at times.
- Cinematography: Gotham has always had beautiful cinematography and Transference is no exception. The art department perfectly captures the spirit and look of the comics, making it feel like you are actually in Gotham City and Arkham Asylum. Visually interesting characters like Mr. Freeze and Firefly only enforce this.
- Story: It has its high points and low points. It has a strong opening and a compelling ending but the middle is incredibly hit and miss.
- Acting: Acting all around is great with B.D. Wong and Cory Michael Smith being the highlights of the episode. I’m curious to see what the cast will bring us in season three.
- Edward Nygma
- Hugo Strange's Interrogation Of James Gordon
- Firefly vs Mr. Freeze
- Some Nice Cinematography
- A Good Setup For Season Three
- Hugo Strange Goes From Devious To Whiny For Seemingly No Reason
- Bullock Is Kind Of An Idiot
- Fish Mooney Still Sucks
- "WHY WOULD YOU LET BARBARA JUST WALK INTO THE GCPD?!"
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.