Gotham S02E22 “Transference” REVIEW

Gotham S02E22 “Transference” REVIEW

0 comments 📅13 June 2016, 22:56

Gotham S02E21 “A Legion of Horribles” REVIEW


stars 2
Airing in the UK on Channel 5, Mondays, 10pm
Bruno Heller
Director: Eagle Egilsson

Essential Plot Points:

  • GCPD cops are prepping to enter the Asylum. Harv tells them to give it ten seconds and then go get Jim. They’re about to blow the gate when “Jim” shows up and stands them down.
  • The camera zooms down through the ground to Jim swearing at Strange and Strange triggering the BOMB THAT IS IN THE BASEMENT OF THE BASEMENT on the orders of the Court of Owls.
  • At Ed’s Game Of Life And Death he challenges Bruce and Lucius to name the true controller of Indian Hill.
  • Nearby, Strange injects Jim with Honesty Serum and interrogates him. Strange tells Jim “he” did check in and the GCPD are stood down.

•Gotham_2.22_transference_Jim on drugs

  • “Jim” who is TOTALLY FINE AND NOT AT ALL A FAKE JIM tells Harv that Strange is innocent. Harv, buckling under the weight of the idiot ball as it’s thrown at his face, buys it.
  • They guess Indian Hill. They’re correct. They have one question left: Who Runs Wayne Enterprises?
  • Fish almost talks Peabody into getting close enough to touch…

• Gotham_2.22_transference_At Home With The Penguins

  • He, Butch and Barbara are working out where to place the severed and mounted head of Grace.
  • This actually happens.
  • When a radio report about Strange comes up, Penguin freaks out…
  • Strange gets Jim’s feelings of guilt over the loss of his father and his child out in the open. Strange asks why Jim isn’t with her and he says he’s put her through enough pain. Strange tells Jim, still super suggestible, that he’s God and absolves him of his guilt. He then asks Jim the same questions Ed is asking. He asks if Jim has heard about a “SECRET COUNCIL”.
  • He actually says it like that.
  • And is delighted that Jim hasn’t heard of them.
  • Weirdly, Strange also tells Jim he should have gone after Lee. Then, admits that he’s about to die anyway…

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Lucius shakes Bruce's hand

  • Nearby, Bruce and Lucius fail the final question and a maniacally laughing Ed gases them. Lucius, because Lucius is amazing, shakes Bruce’s hand as the gas takes them.
  • Bruce passes out and flashes back through everything he’s been through. He and Lucius wake up and find themselves in the same room as Jim.
  • Jim apologises for being arrogant and naive and says he should never have made the oath to Bruce. Lucius, again having a very good week, asks Jim just what kind of drugs they gave him.
  • Nearby Strange and Ed are heading out. Ed thinks he’s about to get a job but Strange has him recommitted and then goes to tell the Court the good news. The Court order the murders of everyone anyway and tell Strange the use of Galavan was a grave error and no other patients are to be let out in public under any cost.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Harv

  • “Jim” is increasingly terrible at everything. Alfred shows up and, until he’s infected with the same Idiot Virus Harv has, is fairly sensible. It doesn’t last.
  • Selina comes in to see the prisoners and warns them. She openly tells them what’s happening and she’s planning to escape. She does this FOUR FEET AWAY from guards. No reaction at all.
  • Nearby the test subjects are loaded for transport and Peabody comes to see Fish to sedate her for the journey. Fish takes her over, asks her to let Fish out and Peabody agrees. The guards, again a couple of feet away, do nothing.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Fish and Peabody

  • A red light goes on as Strange is packing. As we all know, red lights are never good. He goes downstairs to find Fish, leading Peabody by the hand and, presumably having touched the two guards as extra muscle.
  • Strange tells her that she can’t be allowed to live if she leaves. He begs her for her life and then flees. Peabody is sent after him and they struggle. Strange knocks her out and primes the bomb, locking the asylum down.
  • Upstairs, Fish sprints towards the closing doors but doesn’t quite make it in time.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Bomb

    “Jim” is at this point basically dancing up and down in front of Harv’s face going “I AM BAD AT BEING ME! I AM FAKE! DETECTIVE JIM FAKE GORDFAKEON FAKEY FAKEORAMA! I AM NOT JIM!”
  • Barbara shows up. Who knows Jim better than anyone in the room. She also buys it. We give up.
  • Finally, FINALLY, FINALLY Barbara recognises that Jim isn’t actually Jim. She punches him and the GCPD finally wake up as “Jim” puts his distorted face back together…

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Amazingly bad fake Jim


• Gotham_2.22_transference_Fire

  • Strange reiterates that the captives have to die and orders Fries to kill them. When Selina questions the order, Strange orders Fries to kill Selina. Firefly gets between them and it’s SONG OF ICE AND FIRE TIME GUYS! WOOOOOOO!

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Ice

  • And then we cut away.
  • Admittedly to the convicts, who are let out by Selina. They arrive at the world’s dullest fight which is literally Bridget and Fries standing still and emptying their weapons at each other.
  • A siren announces that they have 15 minutes to reach minimum safe distance. The two villains are distracted, stop their rubbish fight and Strange makes a break for it through the middle of them.
  • He is immediately doused in deadly ice beams and terrifying fiery death for a good 10 seconds.
  • So to be clear, he runs through the epicentre of a collision between an ice thrower that killed every single person it’s touched so far without the reanimation serum… and a flamethrower.
  • Guess how he is?
  • Guess.
  • Yeah.
  • He’s fine.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_SO DUMB

  • Jim wakes Strange up, because obviously shouting at a badly burnt frostbite victim cures all, and Strange tells him about the bomb. The one that will probably spew radioactive dust all over Gotham because the Court didn’t give Strange time to remove the Mutateotron 5000. The entire building is locked down and there’s no way down there.
  • Selina remembers Ed knows the way down and Jim and Lucius go get him after sending Bruce and Selina out. Strange stands there and cries.
  • Ed short circuits the lift and that, for some reason turns every single security measure off.
  • Yay Fish and the Monsterbus get to leave this plot earlier than the rest of us! DRIVE JADA! DRIVE FOR YOUR LIFE!
  • Down in the bomb zone, Lucius and Jim get there with two minutes on the clock. They have no idea, whatsoever, what they’re doing.
  • None.
  • They’re just about to destroy the entire city when Peabody, still there, wakes up and says, “Water.” Jim pours water all over the bomb and short circuits it.
  • And then it turns out Peabody was just asking for water herself. Because… actually we’ve got nothing at this point.
    Fish is driving! Angrily! The GCPD is in pursuit!
    He shouts and demands to know what’s going on. Everyone ignores him.
    Strange is arrested, demanding to know where his people are. Jim is reunited with Harv and explains the Monsterbus is a big problem. Harv, whose delivery from the clue store is finally here, tells him about the bus being pursued. It’s Fish! TIME FOR JUSTICE
  • Fish is cornered by a squad car and gets into a game of chicken and…

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Butch got a gun

  • The bus is taken down and Butch and Penguin head towards it, demanding to see Strange.
    So when Fish shows up? It’s a touch award. She knocks Penguin out, winks at Butch and he and the other thugs run for it.
  • Jim, Bruce, Selina and Alfred are chilling. Jim explains that he needs to find Lee. Alfred approves. Jim heads off and Selina suggests chocolates for Lee.
  • Bruce explains about the secret council and Alfred’s response is perfect. “O BLOODY ’ELL!”
  • Harv runs up to Jim as he leaves and Jim basically tells him he’ll be fine. Also to get a haircut. It’s really rather sweet.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Jim says goodbye

  • A bag lady arrives and hears cries for help. Because obviously a bus crash that’s peppered with gunfire hasn’t attracted the emergency services or anything. She lets the monsters out, the camera goes soft focus because we haven’t decided who they are yet and she watches in horror as a bunch of extras walk past in slow motion.

• Gotham_2.22_transference_Evil Bruce


Wow. This is not good.

Or rather, the big stuff isn’t good. We’ll get to that.

Because the actual characters here, are, for the most part really nicely written and played. Heller’s got a good handle on these people and it’s good to see a lot of people leaving the season in a very different place. Captain Harv seems to be working out pretty well; Alfred’s less shouty and more paternal; and even Vigilante Jerkface looks like he’s hugged his Inner Jim.

The standouts, though, are David Mazouz and Carmen Bicondova. Mazouz’s Bruce has become the heart of the show this year and his combination of intellect, morality and seething rage has been amazing. You can see the man Bruce will become in the boy he is in Gotham and that’s largely down to the incredible work from Mazouz. Likewise Bicondova benefited immensely from a solid arc this season and her work in the last few episodes has been flat-out great. Again, you can see who she’ll be in who Selina is right now. Brilliant, always on edge and a little more connected to people than she’d like to admit. Chris Chalk has had a great year too and his always politely surprised Lucius Fox has been a joy.

So that’s the good news. Pretty much the entire cast is both great and finally being used properly. Ben Mackenzie’s Vigilante Jerkface has gone through some welcome growth, Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith have come through horrible patches of writing to turn in great work and they even gave Erin Richards non awful stuff to do this year.

So what’s the bad news? In this case, the plot.

Coming hot on the heels of an episode that did such a great job of keeping everyone contained this is a flat-out disaster. The Fake Jim storyline is so over-the-top that it pushes through laughable and into annoying as people who clearly should spot the wrong person has Jim’s face just assume he’s feeling a bit peaky. Likewise the interminable bomb plot, which somehow is made even worse by its offhand, jokey resolution.

Worst of all though, the episode completely destroys Strange. Aside from his nonsensical survival of the duel between Firefly and Fries, the episode gives him an about-face that’s so sudden you get whiplash. His desperate need to kill the monsters, after they’ve been loaded onto the bus, is bad. The fact he fails utterly to do it is worse. The fact the episode finishes with him being led away in cuffs – a fraction of the intellectual monster he was – is the worst.

Actually no, surviving the duel is probably the worst.

Heller’s script squanders much of the previous episode’s good will and leans on a parade of either stupid or nonsensical decisions to stumble across the finish line. Egilsson doesn’t help either with some annoyingly coy shots of the monsters but the cast do what they can. The result is a shambling lump of a finale with no spark, little energy and even less sense. Gotham season two ended up being a pretty good year and there’ve been some genuinely great episodes. This is not one of them. Still, the Owls will be waiting next year…

The Good:

  • “The correct answer is SSSSSHHHH!” EXCELLENT line.
  • “WOW that was unpleasant.” Lucius Fox, master of understatement.


  • “You any good at diffusing bombs?”
    “…I don’t know yet. You?” The main plot is just a catastrophe this week but there are so many lovely moments of which this is our favourite.
  • Alfred’s, “Oh BLOODY ‘ELL!” is awesome.


  • Fish’s outfit is AMAZING.
  • The final Jim and Harv moment is rather lovely. Even with the grand theft auto Jim commits on his way out of the city. Oh, Jerkface.

The Bad:


  • So a gunfight that takes out a police car and causes the most wanted bus in the city to crash onto a line of parked cars and that culminates in a man being left unconscious in the middle of a busy street causes absolutely no one to call the police. Okay.
  • Fake Jim is bad. SO bad. SO. SO. BAD.
  • Seriously it deserves two bullet points here it’s so bad. He’s played for laughs, he’s clearly incompetent, clearly nothing like Jim and everything he says makes no sense. But because the episode needs them to be idiots, Harv and Alfred accept it. We’ve never cheered for Barbara louder.
  • Penguin, Butch and Babs discussing the correct placement of a rotting, severed head ornament. Of all the things Gotham should have let go, this plot is by far the most recent.
  • Bruce and Lucius succumb to poison deadly gas! That… just… knocks them out. After Ed told them they’d be killed a lot of times.
  • There are two separate occasions this episode where guards who are clearly loyal to Strange hear things that would cause them to arrest the character saying those things. They would have to move maybe a step to do this. Either Strange has all his guards artificially deafened, or this is very bad writing. It may, let’s face it, be both.
  • This episode manages to make a flamethrower/icethrower fight boring. Not only is the whole thing just the pair of them standing there with two CGI effects firehoses but there’s no sense of danger none of the high opera the scene needs to work.
  • Strange stands in the middle of a deadly ice storm lightly seasoned with flaming death and his coat is singed. Oh sod off.
  • We rewatched the scene to be sure but… what the Hell happens to Victor and Firefly? We can see Victor, briefly, in the scene where Strange warns Jim and Lucius about the bomb but then nothing. Do they leave? Does the GCPD let a pair of murderers wander the streets in amazingly distinctive outfits carrying heavy wea… Oh yeah, that’ll be it.
  • Hotwiring a lift unlocks the entire Asylum. Arkham really got the cowboys in.
  • The Peabody water gag. The only way that scene could have been killed deader would have been if a sad trombone had played.
  • Monsieur, with this parade of “DEAR GOD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” you are really spoiling us!

The Random:

  • Apparently one of the people on the Monster Bus sounds like Jerome when they laugh. Shame we can’t see any of them.
  • It’s possible the other Bruce is a lead in to a take on the “Hush” storyline from the comics. This was a year-long plot that involved Batman’s entire rogue’s gallery, a childhood friend and a lot of discussion of identity. It was pretty fun, and Hush would be a good fit for the show. Plus double the David Mazouz is never a bad thing.
  • Not that it deserves it because the whole plot is so rancid, but this shot of Awful Fake Jim’s clay face post-punch is the Shot of the Week.

Gotham_2.22_transference_shot of the week

  • Sudden awful thought: EVIL BRUCE could have been created when Bruce was knocked out by the “poison gas”. Brace for flashbacks, people.

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