Welcome to No Man’s Land.
The season begins with Gotham City shrouded in city as a total No Man’s Land, day 391. As Nygma gets ready for the day, he places an Ace in his pocket, grabs his gun, and heads off.
All of the various Gothamites are getting ready in their various turs. Penguin’s got some new shades, Bullock’s got drinks, and Jim Gordon is ready to stand his ground at the GCPD. But then Jim, Harvey, Oswald, and Nygma all are joining forces, it seems. They assemble atop a building and, at Jim’s order, open fire at all approaching forces on the streets of Gotham. All in the name of Gotham.
But let’s flash back to day 87. Jim speaks with another officer on the radio and explains that criminals have carved the city into territories. Penguin is in City Hall, for example. He raided the armory and repurposed a factory to stockpile ammunition.
Barbara and the Sirens control the club that’s not suffering from a lack of food. She trades in information and her area is women only. Men buy windows of time, and she forces her rule with an iron hand.
The west goes to Jonathan Crane, Victor Fries is in the north and is warring with Firefly. And to date, there have been no confirmed sightings yet of Jeremiah Valeska. I’m guessing that Ivy Pepper isn’t involved with the territory war.
GCPD controls a ten block radius where 150 civilians are fed. That number could grow, as there are others who couldn’t get out when the city was abandoned. Everyone has a duty to help. The officials remind Jim that no one is allowed in or out of Gotham. Anyone who stayed after the evacuation is no longer the government’s responsibility.
A committee is being formed to fix this, but Jim at least wants to be resupplied. Jim just wants to know if the city of Gotham is on its own. To that, he receives no response.
As for Selina, Bruce and Alfred learn that her condition hasn’t improved. She should’ve been evacuated, but the doctor has no choice but to operate on her here before her spine collapses in on itself. A solemn Selina is fine going through with the operation.
Meanwhile, Gotham’s citizens are growing restless with the lack of food, blaming it on the GCPD. Lucius Fox reminds the people that everyone gets the same share, saying that supplies won’t last for long. Jim arrives and reminds the people that if they have complaints, then they’re more than welcome to leave. So they do.
There’s about a month of food, but less if more refugees arrive. The responsible is to protect the people, even if Gotham is on its own, but there’s the question of whether Penguin makes a move, as he has the ammunition.
Later, we find the Riddler awakening on a rooftop with a dog nearby. And this isn’t the first time he’s awakened in a strange place. He goes to the mirror and demands that Ed shows himself, but he still won’t appear. Riddler believes that Ed is taking control when the Riddler is asleep, but he can’t figure out why.
That evening, Bruce joins Jim at the spotlight and reminds him that someone else can watch the spotlight, too. Bruce likes it, saying that it’s a reminder that even in darkness, there’s light. Jim tells Bruce that the government won’t send help, as it’s easy for them to ignore people’s suffering. Bruce offers to allow Lucius to raid Wayne Enterprise’s R&D development for resources. It’s something, but it may not be enough.
Jim knows that it won’t change, but Bruce informs him that Selina’s condition hasn’t changed yet. He leaves to be by her side, but before he can get far, Jim asks if Bruce is sorry that he stayed. He isn’t. And neither is Jim.
At the Sirens club, on Penguin’s behalf, Mr. Penn offers bullets to Barbara in exchange for food. Barbara sees through this, though Tabitha wants to know why he hasn’t shown up since the bridges were blown. Tabitha refuses to give up anything, but Barbara instead proposes a trade. No one’s asking Tabitha to forget what happened to Butch, but Barbara needs to protect the women who come to the club.
Tabitha loads the gun and tells Mr. Penn that Penguin will regret giving her that gun. Okay, so now it’s 3000 rounds.
Back with the GCPD, some officers spot something moving in the darkness like a shadow. It turns out to be Jonathan Crane, who sprays one of the officers with a face full of fear gas and orders him to open the gate. He does, giving Scarecrow and his minions full access to show the people the face of fear.
Inside, Jim and Harper go over plans when the lights suddenly go out. While Harper goes off to find Lucius to meet Jim at the generator, Jim prepares to see what happened.
At the same time, the power goes out at the hospital just as Selina is undergoing her operation. Just as Alfred mentions the backup generator, the power comes back up. Still, Bruce senses that something is wrong. And all the medicine is being stolen from the basement. Though Bruce doesn’t have anything to light his way in the darkness, like a torch, he got something better from Lucius.
Jim heads downstairs and runs right into Crane, who tells him that fear lives in darkness. A fight breaks out, Jim manages to hold Crane off long enough to avoid getting a face full of fear toxin. When Crane strikes a pipe and gets some steam blown in his face, that causes him to scatter.
Scarecrow’s crew raid the precinct for all that they can, even the beans, but they find themselves being taken out one-by-one by Bruce, who has a nifty pair of night vision goggles. However, when the power comes back on, Bruce is blinded for a bit, giving Scarecrow’s crew time to escape.
Upstairs, Harvey and Jim watch the restless inmates when Lucius informs them that they now have a week of food, and they’re already at half-rations. If they cut them again, there’ll at least be more time. Bruce arrives to let them know that he’ll fly in supplies. The city tried this before, but Bruce isn’t asking for permission. They’ll be supplies here in a few hours. Even if it succeeds, the government could find out.
Scarecrow’s men didn’t just take food, though- they also stole medicine from the clinic. As for Selina, Bruce has no update, but Jim is confident that she’ll pull through.
Speaking of, Selina later tells Bruce that the operation was a success. She’ll still never able to walk, but her spine won’t turn to jelly. Well, there’s that solace at least. For a moment, Selina was worried, but Bruce tells her that medicine is on the way. She brings up how Jeremiah shot her to get to Bruce. After all the things she’s done, what did her in was being Bruce’s friend. She just wishes that Jeremiah killed her.
Sheesh, Selina. Nobody made you come to Wayne Manor all those times. But anyway, before Bruce leaves, a nurse informs him that doctors can’t help. Selina needs the witch.
Back with the GCPD, Jim and Harvey discuss Bruce’s chopper plan and what may happen if it doesn’t arrive. Things are bad now, but they could get even worse if a little bit of hope is taken away from the people.
Meanwhile, Penguin is fitted in some new shoes, but he’s missing something. Mr. Penn arrives and informs Oswald that if the food allowances are increased, some will die. However, Oswald can’t provide what he doesn’t have. And yet, Oswald’s steak is overcooked. Okay, so he gives it to his bulldog, Edward. Cute name. Also, quality at the factory is down due to more misfires.
To disprove this, Penguin fires his gun, but it misfires on the second shot. But then Oswald carefully listens and smiles as he hears a growing noise approaching.
At the same time at the Sirens club, Barbara and Tabitha argue over Penguin. Tabitha still wants revenge, but Barbara isn’t certain how Tabitha will do that without getting killed. They then also hear the same approaching sound that Oswald hears.
Indeed, a chopper has arrived. Bruce and Jim radio to the helicopter, which is headed to the rendezvous point. Before it can get far, though, it’s shot down by a rocket and spirals off before eventually crashing.
The officers assemble to check the chopper, even though they’re low on ammo. Alfred is here, but Bruce isn’t, as Jim figured he would want to come. But since this chopper plan was Bruce’s idea, he thought Jim wouldn’t allow it. Still, the officers head off while Alfred keeps an eye on things at the precinct.
At the downed chopper, some men raid the supplies when they’re interrupted by the arrival of Penguin and his crew. Though he’s not in his turf, Penguin’s men kill the thieves. But then the GCPD arrives as Jim orders Penguin’s men to step away from the chopper. Though both Jim and Oswald know that they have mouths to feed in their respective turfs.
However, Oswald denies shooting down the chopper. After all, he had no idea a chopper was coming to begin with. But then, who else has an RPG? A fair point, but if it was Oswald, he acknowledges that he would at least admit it. After all, he knows that he won’t be arrested.
But then Tabitha arrives on the scene, kills two of Oswald’s henchmen with a crossbow, and takes Oswald at gunpoint. Naturally, Oswald wants the GCPD’s help, saying that he provides stability. He tells Tabitha that while he pulled the trigger, she killed Butch. When Tabitha fires to kill Oswald, though, the gun backfires.
She pulls a knife, but Oswald gets the upper hand on her. As he tells Tabitha to say hello to Butch, he plunges the knife into Tabitha’s chest, killing her. As the final Galavan dies, a now enraged arrives and Barbara opens fire. A firefight breaks out, with some of the officers taking fire. However, Jim and Harvey find themselves out of ammo…
As Barbara charges, Penguin manages to fire a shot at her, telling her that he didn’t want it to go this way. For old time’s sake, he wants to move past this. Say the Tabitha/Butch chapter is over. Indeed it is. But Barbara shoots that offer down.
Outside, Brue attacks Penguin’s henchmen and examines the hardware inside. He brings inside a cache of bullets. As Jim loads his gun, he offers Oswald a deal: split up what’s in the chopper 50/50 and Oswald lets Barbara go. Barbara refuses to let Oswald leave alive, but she’s knocked out by Oswald, so she doesn’t get a say. Oswald’s counteroffer: Barbara dies and Penguin gets everything.
But then what happens when the government finds out that Penguin murdered some of the last cops in Gotham? True, but this is enough of a distraction for the officers to open fire, and Jim even gets a shot in Penguin’s damaged leg. So yeah, Jim will be taking all of the supplies.
As the officers bring the supplies into the precinct, Harvey wonders why Jim didn’t just kill Penguin, but Jim knows what they’re up against. He warns Jim that next time, he should just shoot to kill. Bruce informs Jim that the medicine arrived to the clinic, so he needs to check on Selina. Before Bruce leaves, Jim tells him that he’s earned a place here, so he can just ask next time that he wants to help.
Later, Ecco arrives at the precinct just as a transmission comes in on the radio. As Jim arrives, he learns from a mysterious “friend” that there are allies across the river who will find a way to help. Before Jim can find out who he’s talking to, he turns around and finds…nobody. But when he looks over his map, he finds “Hahahaha” scribbled all over it.
I’m guessing that Jim hadn’t even looked at the map yet.
Then we meet up with some random bum in an alleyway, who runs into Riddler. This time, though, he wakes up in a dumpster. He returns home and demands that Ed show himself before wondering aloud what’s happening to him.
As Barbara lays Tabitha to rest, she swears that if it’s the last thing she’ll do, she will kill Penguin.
But Oswald is already in pain and wants a ransom of 100,000 rounds of ammunition to whoever kills Jim Gordon. But at the very least, the doctor manages to fish the bullet out of his leg.
At the hospital, Selina eyes a blade and tries to move herself over to get it, but she falls out of bed. Before she can do what she’s planning, two doctors, with Bruce’s help, hold her so she can be sedated. Selina does manage to whisper that they all should’ve just let her do it, and it’s here that Bruce learns that Selina was trying to kill herself. Bruce then asks the nurse where he can find this witch that she keeps mentioning.
Over at the precinct, just as Jim and Harvey talk about finding information on Jeremiah, someone arrives with a young boy who tells them that he came from past the train station. That’s on the other side of town, so that’s one hell of a commute that this kid took. His family and others are being killed, but the boy is too exhausted to say who is doing the killing.
Jim addresses the officers and tells them that they’re still here because they need to give the people hope that if they’re in danger, someone will come. They will come, even if the government doesn’t. With that said, it’s time to suit up.
Well, here we are. Gotham’s final season returns in a big, but simultaneously small way with Gotham City on its own. If the opening flashforward was any indication, a huge fight is brewing that will unite many factions to defend the city. It’ll be interesting to see what leads the likes of Penguin and Riddler to teaming up with Jim later on in the season.
This could’ve easily been a “Who’s Who” recap where we have to see what everybody is doing. I’m glad the premiere avoided going that route. We get some lip service about Victor Fries, Firefly, and Jeremiah, but we don’t check in to see what they’re doing. Even Scarecrow’s inclusion could’ve just been any random group. At the same time, I appreciate that we hear what they’re up to, rather than shoving everyone in here.
For the most part, this was a very focused premiere. We’re either dealing with the GCPD/Bruce or the ongoing feud between Barbara and Penguin, with a bit of Riddler sprinkled in there.
Actually, let me get Ed out of the way. So Riddler is waking up in different places with Ed taking control at night. It’s a nice reversal of when the Riddler used to take control when Ed slept, but I don’t mind its inclusion here. I’ve ragged on Gotham for including various subplots into episodes where they aren’t needed or could’ve been saved for future episodes.
However, Riddler’s subplot is contained. More than that, aside from the flashforward, he’s only in two short scenes. It sets up what will no doubt be one of his conflicts for the season and doesn’t feel intrusive because the show doesn’t feel the need to crowbar his plot into the other ones.
As for the turf warfare, the GCPD is on its own. It could’ve just been the police against the criminals, but there’s an added human element here with the citizens who are at the precinct. Now Jim and the others have to protect both the city and the people who still have hope in them. And as the premiere showed, that isn’t easy when supplies are low and people get restless.
Still, Jim holds onto hope, even with the odds against him. He doesn’t kill Penguin when given the chance, even though it would make things easier. Despite everything that’s happened and how isolated the police are, Jim still won’t cross a line or else he’d just be part of the problem. Plus, I have to figure that Jim may need Penguin’s help in the future.
As the premiere showed, each side has something that the other lacks. Barbara has the food, GCPD has the manpower, and Penguin has the bullets. They have to coexist, but the criminals aren’t exactly looking to negotiate unless it suits them. It’s why Penguin makes the first move to offer ammunition in exchange for food. And there are greater implications from this, as the malfunctioning guns affect the other turfs in addition to his.
Side-note, I really like that we still have this sort of mutual understanding between Jim and Oswald. Penguin’s a criminal, yes, but he and Jim have worked together numerous times. I always get a kick when Oswald refers to Jim as his “old friend” because it’s true. Despite where they are now, Jim and Oswald will inevitably need to call upon one another when necessary.
But let’s talk about the death that everybody saw coming. It was said before the season premiered that Penguin would kill someone in the premiere, and who else but Tabitha? Part of me thought that perhaps Tabitha would live, but she’d just suffer. Like maybe Oswald would just cripple her. But she’s still been waiting for the opportunity to kill him after all this time.
Had the gun not backfired, she would’ve succeeded. But she didn’t, and Penguin draws first blood in the final season premiere of Gotham. Let’s be honest, though: Tabitha had already outlived her usefulness. Never mind that Theo and Silver St. Cloud aren’t here anymore, but Tabitha was just a henchman. A henchman who got some development and caught up in romances, but there wasn’t much for her to do at this point.
The death will mean something for Barbara, yes, but there wasn’t much left for Tabitha to do. So godspeed, Tabitha Galavan. Hopefully she’s with Butch now. Although, Barbara was the Demon’s Head for a moment. Wouldn’t she get the idea to just dump Tabitha’s body into a Lazarus Pit?
As for Bruce, it’s great that Jim has fully accepted him into the fold and told him that he has a place at the GCPD. After all, Bruce offered the supplies of his own volition when he could’ve stayed at Selina’s side. But at the end of the day, as he’ll do when he becomes the Dark Knight, he’s about being a symbol of hope for Gotham’s citizens.
Selina took a real tragic turn in this premiere. Getting shot by Jeremiah has lowered her morale to the point where she’s blaming Bruce for this. I get that she’s angry, but she can’t pin this on Bruce. To see her attempt to take her own life, though, shows how far she’s fallen at the moment. For someone as street tough and composed as Selina is, to see her try to kill herself just to be out of her misery was a dark turn for her character.
But now the question is who is this mysterious witch that the nurse keeps mentioning?
A very nice start to the final season of Gotham that plunges us deep into No Man’s Land. How will Bruce continue on his journey to becoming Batman? Who shot down the chopper? Will Jim and the GCPD be able to keep hope alive for long? Who are the “allies” across the river? And where, oh where, is Jeremiah hiding?
We’ll hopefully find out all this and more as we continue on with the fifth and final season of Gotham. See you next week.