When Gotham is ashes, then Jim Gordon has Bane’s permission to die.
The episode begins with an injured Eduardo waking up as he sees Hugo Strange operating on him. At his side, Theresa reminds Eduardo that she intends to keep her promise and give him a true purpose- as well as the strength to see it through. Oh, and Hugo assures Hugo that this process will be agonizing and lengthy. Well, at least he let him know. Thus, the operation begins as venom is injected into Eduardo’s veins.
Theresa tells Eduardo that he will be reborn and a bane of the unjust, corrupt, and of anyone who opposes them.
At the GCPD, Jim and Harvey celebrate that today is reunification day. Sure, that may not make things better, but Jim is pessimistic that things will really get better. But since Jim has a kid on the way, Harvey tells them that they have to believe. It’s better than what they’ve already been through.
Bruce informs the two that the filtration system is back up and running, thanks to Lucius. Harvey addresses the GCPD, saying that they’re all here because of Jim. If Jim will be a father, that’s a future that Harvey will take. Jim speaks to the officers, congratulating them on making Gotham City a safe place for families, but it’s not over yet.
No matter what General Wade says, the work continues. So after one more round of applause, they get back to work.
As the three head out of the precinct, General Wade, played by John Bedford Lloyd, and his squadron of soldiers arrive on location. He’s glad that Jim has established law and order, and he’s not too interested in Bruce’s report on the lowered toxicity levels. No, Wade must go by what his own people say.
Barbara and her baby bump arrive at the docks, where Ed and Oswald are hard at work on the submarine. It may not be big enough, but Oswald isn’t about to get rid of any of his gold. Suddenly, Barbara feels a kick, so Oswald wants her to head to the clinic. He assures her that they won’t leave without her. Rather, they’ll be ready to launch as soon as she arrives. Barbara heads off, declining Oswald’s offer to drive her.
Then we check in on Selina, who finds a specific book and shows it to Alfred. The book was written by the architect who designed by Wayne Manor. With reunification, Alfred figures a new Wayne Manor is imperative. They’re looking at the old plans because Alfred isn’t completely ready to let go of the past. In Selina’s defense, she’d like to blow up her past, but perhaps she will.
But when you build something new, the past will always be part of it. Making a new Wayne Manor could be Alfred’s last service to him. But even after that, he’ll continue to stand guard.
Jim gets a transmission from Leslie, who lets him know that Barbara just showed up in labor. Jim will be there as soon as he can, but labor waits for no one. Then General Wade congratulates Jim, Harvey, and Bruce: reunification can officially begin. And yet, this is merely the second best news that Jim has received.
So let’s give him some bad news. Smoke grenades rain down in the area as armed men arrive. Among them is a new and improved Eduardo. Jim calls out to him, but this is no longer Eduardo. Jim, Bruce, and Wade are all tranquilized and whisked away, while Harvey is left to watch them speed off.
He returns to the precinct and instructs the officers to work their way out to locate Jim. Alfred and Selina arrive and learn that Eduardo is indeed alive and well. With the squads covering the north side, Harvey gives Selina and Alfred another location that they can cover.
Jim comes face-to-face with the new and improved Eduardo, who tells him that when he was in prison, the guards played a game. They would choose an inmate and bury them alive. They would take bets, but then the victim would be buried deeper. Eduardo was the champion. To survive that, he had to stop being human, but become something else. He became Bane.
But he didn’t know it yet. Theresa did, though, and she showed him the way. The world is full of monsters, and to defeat them, you must become one yourself. Jim apologizes, but Eduardo wants no pity. They’re building a future. A new, merciless world is coming. Jim doubts this will come to pass, given what Eduardo did. However, again, he’s not Eduardo anymore.
In enters Walker, but based on the voice, Jim doesn’t believe that this is indeed Walker. Eduardo brings in Bruce, and Walker says this is about punishing Gotham for the sins of Bruce Wayne. However, Eduardo doesn’t attack Bruce- he attacks Jim, while Bruce is helpless to watch. Walker tells Bruce that she’s thinking of a name, but when he can’t think of it, Jim’s beating resumes.
Over at the docks, Oswald bids farewell to the city that birthed him. However, Ed tells him that they won’t be leaving because the engine won’t start. Yup, Barbara swindled them.
Speaking of, we rejoin Barbara, who wants to know from Leslie how long the labor will take. Leslie isn’t interested in thank-yous- she’s just helping Barbara deliver her child. Luckily, that’s all Barbara wants.
Eduardo keeps beating on Jim while Bruce continues to deny knowing the name that Walker wants to hear. Bruce figures that if he wants to be punished, he should be hurt. But that’s what Walker is doing: what’s more painful than seeing someone you love suffer? Walker knows that Jim has been like a father to Bruce, and what would be more painful than seeing another father die?
Again, Walker asks Bruce for a name. She says that when the ones you love die, it feels like a part of your soul has been taken from you. Walker offers Bruce one last chance to give a name, but he suddenly has an epiphany: the name is Ra’s al Ghul, and this is revenge for his death. As for who Walker is? She finally reveals herself as Nyssa al Ghul, and revenge is just the beginning of what she wants.
Nyssa tells Bruce that Ra’s mission has not died. The League of Shadows is everywhere and humankind will be purged of weakness. She’s just starting with Gotham City. Bruce admits that yes, he killed Ra’s, so if there will be any punishment, he’ll accept it. However, Nyssa says that Bruce shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. After all, he had help and a literal helping hand in the form of Barbara.
With that, Nyssa tells Bane to go fetch Barbara. Jim tells Bane that Barbara is about to have a child, but that doesn’t change Bane’s mind. With that, he leaves. All Nyssa has now is completing her father’s mission, and Bane wants Jim to join in on that mission. Jim refuses, so he’s put out by Hugo Strange and hauled off. Nyssa taunts Bruce, saying this is all his fault.
Barbara goes through more labor pains when Ed arrives…and while he’s surprised to see Leslie and alive and well, he and Oswald come for Barbara. Leslie, again, doesn’t care about the bickering, but the two want the pressure regulator valve. The two can’t leave Gotham without completing the submarine.
Oswald takes out his gun and points it at Barbara’s pregnant stomach, but he does apologize for apparently pointing it at the baby, even though he was just making a general threat. This may be one of the funniest parts of Gotham, by the way. Barbara, meanwhile, doesn’t have the part on her, and she’s going through labor anyway, and nothing is worse than that. According to her, anyway. Let’s change that, shall we?
Bane arrives, making quick work of a nurse’s neck as he heads inside. He goes to the intercom and announces that no one will save Barbara. Her time has come.
Nyssa, meanwhile, tells Bruce a military secret: Special Order 386. In the event that Gotham is lost, a plan was put in place to reduce it to rubble. As for what Nyssa wants, she wants Bruce to suffer, and then she wants him to die. He can spend a little time with that thought.
But does Bruce have Nyssa’s permission to die, I wonder?
So Leslie, Oswald, and Ed are left to wheel Barbara out of the hospital and hope to cut through the abandoned wing. Barbara wants Ed and Oswald to at least put up a defense, saying that if she dies, they’ll never find their missing submarine part. A fair point. With that in mind, Ed agrees. Though Oswald doesn’t have enough bullets, Ed suggests something a bit more flammable.
Jim offers Hugo Strange a chance to survive if he helps him, but Hugo trusts Nyssa compared to Gordon. He believes that Nyssa can take on the army. Jim is just a few modifications away from being a useful soldier, just like Eduardo. Strange can give Gordon true strength, and consent is hardly a prerequisite. So they begin with physical improvements, as Hugo injects a needle into Jim’s neck. Then for mental adjustments.
So Ed and Oswald wheel some explosives down a hallway when Bane arrives, but he walks right through the flames, completely harmed. At the same time, Leslie and Barbara continue their escape from the hospital…while Barbara’s still having the damn contractions, and yet she can still work her way around a gun. Now that being efficient.
While Bruce works his way towards a candle and uses the flame to burn through his ropes, Ed reveals to Oswald that he actually has the submarine part. Oswald realizes that Ed stuck around long enough to risk all of their lives…but was it to protect Barbara or Leslie? Ed chooses not to answer that. Instead, it’s bon voyage.
Leslie and Barbara arrive outside and find an ambulance, with Leslie saying that Jim isn’t taking the baby away from her. Barbara doubts that Jim would let a criminal raise his child, but Leslie promises that she will help in any way that she can. When Barbara rises- shut up- she realizes that it’s time. The baby is coming now. How convenient.
The flames finally burn through the world’s thickest ropes. Bruce escapes, knocks out the guard, and radios to the precinct, where Selina and Alfred answer him. Bruce informs them that Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter is searching for Barbara, so Selina and Alfred need to be there to help her.
As he did with Eduardo, Hugo informs Jim that the process will be extremely painful. However, painful as it is, Jim manages to break through and attack Strange. With that, the doctor goes off to sound the alarm. Jim frees the general, but Hugo trips the alarm. They run into Bruce, who informs them that Nyssa plans to use the military to wipe out Gotham.
Barbara has miraculously given birth in record time, and the timing couldn’t have been better, because that’s when Bane chooses to make his arrival. Selina and Alfred arrive and literally crash into him. While Leslie and Barbara head off, Bane easily holds off Selina and Alfred like they’re nothing. He then lifts Alfred into the air and slams his back against a pipe.
Well, it ain’t Knightfall or even Rises, but it’ll do.
General Wade, Bruce, and Jim arrive, with Wade wanting a secure line to the mainland. Harvey also arrives and informs him that Leslie and Barbara made it out of the clinic…as well as Jim’s new baby girl. They’re headed to the Sirens’ club. Jim is overjoyed at the good news, and they believe that she will have a better world because of it.
But then the general authorizes the special order and has Jim, Harvey, and Bruce arrested. Well, ain’t that a bitch?
When Leslie, Barbara, and the baby arrive at the Sirens’ club, they find nothing but dead bodies to greet them…as well as Nyssa. She approaches Barbara, knocking out Leslie in the process, and acknowledges that yes, Barbara must know Nyssa’s father.
So Jim makes quick work of the guard escorting them, but he, Harvey, and Bruce are helpless as helicopters begin opening fire on Gotham City, setting it aflame.
Alright, where do I begin with this? I’ll say right off the bat that this was a fun, engaging episode that did indeed push the plot forward as head towards the series finale. The reunification prospect puts everything in Gotham on the clock, with all sides doing what they can to either help or hinder the process that will unite Gotham City with the rest of the world.
While the various villains have done things that could jeopardize this, such as Jeremiah’s toxins, it’s Bane and Walker- nay, Nyssa- that have created the largest obstacle for the protagonists thus far. Given how we haven’t seen Eduardo in awhile, it’s nice that his return is as explosive as it is devastating, with what he does to Jim’s efforts.
Actually, I’d like to start with Bane first. Shane West’s imposing presence as Eduardo translates well to Bane. He’s methodical and ruthless in his approach, and the menacing voice helps add to the threat that he brings. The voice here feels more similar to Jigsaw from the Saw films, rather than what Tom Hardy brought to the role in The Dark Knight Rises.
Like in Rises, seeing Bane provides a great opportunity to provide a great physical challenge to the heroes. Most of the Gotham villains could be conquered in gun fights or through outsmarting them- or fleeing, if necessary- but Bane is a walking force of nature. He walks through Ed and Oswald’s explosion as if he just felt a breeze, and he easily overtakes Alfred and Selina without coming close to breaking a sweat.
This is a man who cannot be taken down through sheer force, unless this version of Bruce Wayne has a proto Batcycle with a cannon for Selina to use. I doubt that.
But you know, let’s stick with the comparisons to The Dark Knight Rises because the episode is kind of asking for it. The reveal of Theresa as Nyssa al Ghul, I didn’t see coming because I didn’t think we’d be dealing with any of Ra’s children. By the same token, it’s the exact same sort of reveal as when Miranda Tate revealed that she was actually Talia in Rises.
The difference here is that Talia’s reveal came at the end of the film, right before she died. While here, the door could be open for Nyssa to stick around for a bit. I guess if Gotham wanted to bring in Talia, they would bring in someone closer to Bruce’s age, like they did with Silver St. Cloud.
Fascinating, though, to get Nyssa on this world when we’ve got another Nyssa al Ghul in the Arrowverse and who we literally saw earlier in the same week on Arrow. The comparisons to The Dark Knight Rises write themselves, but it is interesting that this is another example of both Gotham and Arrow utilizing similar villains…even though, again, Ra’s is a Batman villain.
Even the motivations between Bane and Nyssa are similar: sure, Bane has history with Jim, but it’s Bruce’s involvement with Ra’s that set up this confrontation. Yes, Ra’s wanted to awaken the Dark Knight in Bruce, but that came at the cost of his life. Due to Bruce’s actions, Nyssa wants him and his city to suffer. It would be too easy- albeit, sensible- for Nyssa to just have Bane kill Bruce.
His punishment must be more severe. Consider, Bruce walks out of this episode relatively unharmed. The torture he goes through is not of his body, but of his soul. Alright, I’m finished. He watches Jim endure a beating, and he has no idea of Alfred’s fate yet.
That brief fight, by the way, was brutal. No idea if Alfred’s back is broken, but I imagine that’s as close as this series will get to recreating Bane breaking the Bat.
But back to Nyssa for a moment. Her revealing herself and going after Bruce, I get. What I don’t get is why Barbara wouldn’t be as big of a priority. She’s taking her sweet-ass time watching Bruce and Jim be tortured, and sure, she does send Bane after Barbara, but Barbara was the Demon’s Head for a moment. Wouldn’t Nyssa want to go after the person who succeeded her father?
That brings up another question: in hindsight, why would Ra’s even pass the Demon’s Head to Barbara instead of his own children? I said before that if Ra’s existed in this world, that Talia must be out there. We haven’t seen her yet, but we’ve got Nyssa! Wouldn’t Ra’s own daughter be the prime candidate for the Demon’s Head?
I know, trying to rewrite the show is pointless with just two episodes left, but now I’m just questioning even more why Ra’s would even consider Barbara as his successor. In addition, the ladies of the League chose to follow Barbara instead of Ra’s daughter? Odd, but then we would have to start wondering where in the hell Nyssa has been all this time?
I’m thinking about this more than I should, but the introduction of Nyssa just raises a bunch of questions that I can’t help but think about.
Still, Bane and Nyssa made for a true threat to Jim, Bruce, and Harvey, and their resources were far and wide, what with them roping in Hugo Strange. Now that the destruction of Gotham has begun, though, at this point it’s all out war in order to keep the city standing and provide a better future for those who have stuck around this long.
The ones who have chosen to stay and hope to find some purpose, like Alfred and Selina. Despite how much these two have been at odds, it’s nice that they have come to an accord now that they’re fighting for the same thing. Both want some semblance of a fresh start, although it doesn’t seem like Selina is keen on joining Oswald in leaving Gotham.
While Selina would rather blow up her past- such as it may have been- Alfred finds some solace in merely rebuilding upon the old foundation. He’s questioning his purpose when everything is back to normal, which I find odd because Bruce is always going to need his help. Although now that Alfred has been injured by Bane, he may be the one who needs Bruce’s help.
Then you’ve got the [mis]adventures of Oswald, Nygma, and Barbara…with Leslie unfortunately wrapped into their affairs. I will admit that while I’m more fond of just Oswald and Ed on their own, having Barbara tangled into their mess adds another layer of comedy that I found myself liking more often than not. True, I’m still not all that fond of Barbara, but she’s not that bad here.
It helps that she knows her way around a pair of guns while in a wheelchair and going through contractions all at the same time. Barbara might not rank high on anyone’s list of their favorite Gotham characters, but she’s managed to endure. I will admit that when Bane arrived, I expected her to bite the dust.
We’ve got this happy moment of her giving birth, she and Leslie have this heart-to-heart conversation, and then Bane shows up. If anything, I figured Barbara would die and the child would end up in Leslie’s care. The baby’s a girl. Best guess is that Barbara will name it after herself, thus bringing us a future member of the Bat-family. What more poetic way to go out would there be?
However, Barbara also has to contend with Nyssa, and I would love to know what kind of conversation these two will have. Like Bane, it wouldn’t take much for Nyssa to just kill Barbara. In fact, I imagine some would probably welcome that at this point. But Barbara has made it this far, so not like she would kick it when there are just two episodes left in the series.
With that said, we’ll have to wait four bloody weeks to find out. I have no idea why we must wait that long when there are just two episodes left. I’ve heard some say March Madness and perhaps Fox wouldn’t want to compete against that, but even if that’s the case, Gotham is practically done. There are only two episodes. In the grand scheme of things, it hardly matters what the ratings would be.
Not like there’s a chance the show could be renewed for a sixth season, nice as that would be. This is the end. I don’t see why we have to wait almost an entire month just for two more episodes. Hell, you could’ve filled that time with four more episodes. But this is where we are right now. We’ll see how Gotham’s finest deal with this recent attack as we head into the final stretch of Gotham. See you in four weeks.