Enter The Batman.
The time has come. Ladies and gentlemen, let us jump forward 10 years later for the series finale of Gotham. This is “The Beginning…”
The episode begins with Bruce arriving in an unknown land. He writes a letter to Alfred to let him know that he’s alright, but he will return to Gotham City when he knows that he’s ready to protect the people he loves. As such, Alfred won’t hear from Bruce after this for some time. When Gotham needs him, he will return.
Ten years later in Gotham City, Commissioner Gordon, now donning a mustache, speaks with Harvey and Mayor James about a murder. Oswald Cobblepot gets out of Blackgate, and this is when Gordon will be resigning. Mayor James doesn’t like this, given how unstable things are. The feds won’t help, but the Mayor tells Jim that he can’t quit. He means too much to the city.
Bruce Wayne is returning for the first time in a decade and the new Wayne Tower means something to Gotham City. Jim said he would stay until the Wayne Inaugural, but he’s done after that. After 10 years, Jim tells Harvey that someone else should take this job. Harvey finds it coincidental that this happens when Bruce is returning.
Harvey wants to know why he didn’t become a tycoon after reunification. He then tells Jim to give little Barbara a kiss from Uncle Harvey.
Speaking of, we join Barbara Lee and…well, Barbara- now a redhead for…reasons- at the construction of a building. Jim arrives and informs Barbara that he hasn’t heard back from Bruce, but he’ll apparently be jealous since Barbara will soon have the largest building in Gotham City. With that, Jim and Barbara Lee head off to get ice cream.
Over at Arkham Asylum, Nygma sees an article about Bruce Wayne’s return. After all, Ed knew him, as the two of them saved Gotham together. The nearby guard doesn’t care and only notices when Ed brings up Penguin’s upcoming release. Nygma says that he also deserves to be free after 10 years of incarceration.
Ed then goes over and interrupts one of the inmates who is painting on the one and only Jeremiah Valeska, who has been a vegetable for quite some time. But he’s a legend, and if you’re going to screw with a legend, you might as well do it properly, like stab him in the leg, like Ed does. Still, Jeremiah remains catatonic.
The alarms go off and Ed is soon bound and has a sack put over his face. Meanwhile, one nurse makes off with Jeremiah…
Jim arrives home and has a drink with Leslie. He’s already ditched the mustache. It was just a phase, but at least Bruce will recognize him. They realize that with all of the chances, the two of them have remained the same, even though Jim is thinking about leaving. Leslie is all for him, even though she knows how much the job means to him. The city looks to Jim, but no one stepped forward to lend a hand.
Perhaps it’s time for someone to step up, then. Leslie wonders what Bruce will think of Selina, as she has become the “It” girl of Gotham.
As if on cue, we cut to a bank, where a masked cat burglar stealthily makes their way around the lasers and eventually finds a prized looking diamond. The burglar unmasks herself and it is indeed Selina Kyle, now played by Lili Simmons. She manages to obtain the jewel, but stops when a shadowy figure passes by her in the darkness.
Next day at the GCPD, Harvey and Harper discuss Nygma’s escape. Harvey will check in on the guard who didn’t show up for work, while Harper will stay behind in case something else comes up.
Harvey arrives at the location of the guard, who immediately punches him and hands him a phone. Harvey receives a troubling message and the guard, saying he has no choice, immediately blows out his brains.
Following this, Jim visits Harvey in interrogation at the precinct to ask what happened. And he wants to hear it from Harvey, not just go off from what Harper said. Harvey admits to shooting the guard from Arkham and he’s adamant that this is what happened. Jim tells Harvey to change his story or he’s going to Blackgate, and inmates aren’t too kind to guards there. Still, Harvey maintains that he committed the crime.
Jim leaves interrogation and tells the officers that if anyone doesn’t believe Harvey Bullock is innocent, they can leave. No one does. Since Ed has been in Arkham, he had to have had help. It’s possible Oswald helped, since he was just released. Every cop will be on the search. The cop was associated with a gang, so Jim and Harper will head to that gang’s location.
Oh, can we talk about Alvarez and his bow tie? That is just stylish.
Ed is unmasked and demands to know where he is, so he examines the letter left for him- it’s from Oswald. Penguin’s letter explains that it’s time to remind Gotham who the Riddler is. With that, Oswald also left a package for Ed, who just has to follow the instructions.
Then, Oswald Cobblepot, now wearing a top hat and a monocle over his damaged eye, prepares for the day. He leaves prison and speaks with the press, telling them that the first he’ll do as a free man will be lay flowers at his mother’s grave. As for whether he’ll seek revenge against Jim Gordon, the best revenge is serving Gotham City. He then asks if one of the reporters would like an exclusive and invites him into his limo.
However, inside the limo, Penguin just wants the man’s jacket and hat. Now. Not the best exclusive.
Jim and Harper arrive at the gang’s location and find it littered with bodies. The two realize that someone is covering their tracks. More than that, Jim remembers that there was a similar break-in at a government facility not too long ago.
The two hear a noise and soon head upward. Jim demands to know who is there, and we hear a voice from the darkness tell the two that he is not their enemy. Harper soon joins Jim as the voice warns the two to not touch the bodies. A smoke grenade is tossed their way as the masked and caped figure rushes towards a window and flees.
As other officers arrive on the scene, Harper tells Jim that the bodies were rigged with C4, so the mysterious stranger saved their lives and could also be hunting the same person that the GCPD wants. The C4 had to be what was stolen from the government warehouse, so that could be what’s missing.
Also, Mayor James is missing, as is Penguin. Go figure. Jim figures the biggest target is Wayne Tower, so he wants added security for the event tonight.
Jim, meanwhile, will go talk to Bruce and Alfred. But when he gets into his vehicle, he’s immediately confronted at gunpoint by Oswald, who orders him to drive to a very familiar pier- the same one where Jim was ordered by Falcone to kill Penguin. Jim knows that everyone will know Oswald did this, but Oswald doesn’t care. This has been a long time coming and their story is over.
Okay, but Jim figures that the Wayne Tower event doesn’t need to be attacked. Oswald has no idea what Jim is talking about. The two of them were ready to die protecting the city, but months later, Jim locked Oswald up. This begins and ends with the two of them. Jim realizes that Oswald is telling the truth, but Oswald tells Jim to turn around.
Jim tells Oswald that he made a mistake bringing him to this pier. He soon jumps into the water and flees.
At the Wayne Tower event, Alfred meets the new Selina, who wants to know where Bruce is so she can tell him to stop spying on her- she felt someone watching her the other night. As far as Selina is concerned, Bruce doesn’t get to leave for 10 years and pretend like nothing happened. He needs to stay away. As Selina parts ways with Alfred, though, she spots Nygma leaving the party. She tells Barbara to follow her.
Yes, Nygma is indeed at the party and he’s brought some food to his captive: Mayor James, who also has a bomb strapped to him.
Leslie asks Lucius if he’s seen Jim at the event, but then Alfred takes center stage. He welcomes everyone on behalf of Bruce to the future of Gotham.
Ed’s viewing of the speech is interrupted by the arrival of Barbara. He remembers how amazing Barbara used to be, but she made a choice. Ed reminds her that some people don’t get to make choices. Tonight, Gotham will remember that he’s the Riddler. Ed was waiting for Bruce to give his speech, but he’s not showing up. Before Ed can improvise, though, Selina knocks him out.
Shouldn’t have gone on a monologue, Ed.
Alfred’s speech is interrupted by the arrival of Jim, who has come with armed guards. Not long after, Mayor James, still with a bomb strapped to him, comes out with Ed, Selina, and Barbara. Jim realizes that Penguin wasn’t the one who freed Ed after all. More than that, Ed doesn’t have as much C4 as Jim believed he does. Everyone then suddenly heads to the model and sees a series of bombs underneath.
If this goes up, Wayne Tower will fall and take out other buildings in the process. The others refuse to leave Jim, so to diffuse it, the detonator connection must be severed. Jim remembers Gotham Clock Tower in particular.
While Ed gets help from another guard, Jim and Lucius lift up the model of Gotham Clock Tower. This detonator has a gyroscope, which means someone will have to hold it up and steady while it’s detached. With doctor’s hands, Leslie volunteers to cut the cords. She snips one of the green cords and successfully severs the connection…only to speed up the time. So she cuts the other green cord with one second to spare.
Lucius realizes that this design is from the old clock tower, even though a new one was built. Jim then has an epiphany, as he has an idea who might be behind this. Harper enters to tell him that Ed has escaped, and Mayor James has ordered Harvey moved to Blackgate. Immediately.
Jim goes to Harvey and demands to know if it was indeed Jeremiah Valeska who set him up. He punches out the officers and then checks to see if the officer has a mic. Indeed, he does, so he already knows…
Over at Arkham, Ecco kills two inmates and informs Jeremiah that their cover is blown.
As Ed attempts to escape, he runs into Oswald, who offers to help his old friend. However, this reunion is interrupted when something lands on their limousine. The two exit the limo, look into the sky, and spot something heading their way…
At the crime scene later, Lucius tells Alfred that he didn’t hesitate to help Bruce when he first returned and explained his mission. Still, Fox believes that Bruce will need help and suggests maybe bringing Jim into the fold, but Alfred knows that whoever Bruce ropes in will be his decision. What Alfred and Lucius are to do, meanwhile, is serve.
Oh, Ed and Oswald are a bit tied up at the moment.
At home, Barbara Lee wants to know why her mother stopped by the Sirens’ club, and it’s because Mommy needed to get a gun. They then hear some music, so Barbara heads out to the bar and finds Ecco. She and Jeremiah get the drop on the Queen of Gotham, but Jeremiah remembers another sort of Barbara. But then, there was another of him, too.
Because neither of the two paid attention to Barbara Lee, she uses this as an opportunity to throw something at Ecco. This gives Barbara an opening to use Ecco’s blade against her and stab her in the gut. Still, Jeremiah is able to shoot Barbara in the leg. He also puts down Ecco, lamenting that there won’t be another like her, but he still wants Barbara to deliver a message to Jim when he arrives.
Soon enough, Jim and Harvey arrive. Barbara tells Jim that Jeremiah took young Barbara to the place where he was born again: Ace Chemicals.
Jim arrives at Ace Chemicals and finds Jeremiah has suspended Barbara Lee above a vat of the same acid that changed him. When Jim refers to Jeremiah by that name, he tells him to refer to him by something else. Jim then asks how long Jeremiah was pretending to be brain-dead, but turns out he’s been waiting for ‘him’ to come home. The one thing he knew for certain, but then Bruce just up and abandoned them.
Plus, Jim knows what it’s like to have the only thing you love ripped away from you. As Jeremiah lets the rope drop, Jim goes in and grabs it, opening himself up to be stabbed by Jeremiah in the process.
But then something from the darkness strikes at Jeremiah and knocks away his blade. When Jeremiah fires into the dark, a bat-shaped projectile swiftly pierces his hand. A second of these objects knocks him out. Jim saves Barbara Lee, but his mysterious helper has vanished.
Jim tells Harvey about this figure saving him, but then disappearing. So apparently this person is on their side. The two head to the searchlight. Harvey figured it was abandoned after reunification, but Jim figured Bruce would want to be there when they turned the light back on. Jim sent a note to Wayne Manor in hopes that Bruce would be able to join them.
However, Alfred arrives and tells the two that Bruce sends his apologies. He’s busy, very busy since he returned, in fact. Alfred heard that Jim is retiring, but Gordon decides to stick around a bit longer.
On a rooftop, Selina feels Bruce’s presence behind her. She asks if she knows what he did, just leaving. He was all that she had and while Bruce wanted to protect her, she didn’t want to be protected. She wanted Bruce. Selina demands that Bruce say something, so he finally tells her that there was no other way. With that, he leaves.
Selina wants to know what happens next, but Bruce doesn’t know. All he does know is that he’ll never leave Gotham again. Oh, and return the diamond. Fat chance, Bruce.
Penguin and Riddler escape their prison transport and want to find out who this winged bat figure is, but then they spot that same figure leaping across the rooftops. So…they’ll find out who this person is, but tomorrow.
As Jim, Harvey, and Alfred watch the searchlight, Alfred points out that light will always shine in the darkness. He points out that Jim saved Bruce and gave him hope.
Then Harvey spots someone looking down upon them. A masked figure in a bat suit.
Who is it, Harvey asks. But Jim knows all too well that it’s a friend.
The best friend you’ll ever have in Gotham City. It is, indeed, The Batman.
Well, here we are. The inevitable buildup to Gotham City 10 years later, Bruce Wayne’s travels, and the inevitable reveal of him as Gotham’s silent protector. There is a lot to say about the final episode of Gotham, and while I generally enjoyed what I watched, I found myself feeling more mixed than anything else.
This final season had a lot riding on it, even before we received word about the renewal. Season Four left Gotham in a literal No Man’s Land, but we had to advance this world to a point where it would be believable for Batman to finally arrive. Bruce Wayne’s character arc had to take him to the next step where he would leave Gotham, Jim had to become police commissioner, and we still needed his rogues gallery around.
That’s a lot to accomplish when you only have 12 episodes to get the job done. While some of it does feel rushed, in a general sense I think Gotham managed to stick the landing. I have my qualms with this finale and I’ll get to them, but I’d at least like to start off with some praise.
Catching up with everyone 10 years later, watching Penguin and Riddler working together, and seeing that the GCPD is working as a well-oiled machine free of corruption set up a new status quo. For as corrupt as these officers are in Batman lore, Jim’s hard work has helped turn things around for the better.
But his spirits aren’t as high as before. Jim’s been fighting this battle ever since he first arrived as an optimistic rookie. He wanted to make a change not just in the GCPD, but Gotham City as a whole. To his credit, he’s slowly managed to accomplish that. Not without losses, mind you, and Gotham’s criminal element didn’t just go away.
But now the criminals have to combat with a police force that will actually enforce the law instead of look the other way. Still, Jim can’t do this alone. At the end of the day, he isn’t, but with all he’s done to get to this point of becoming commissioner, he’d like to step aside. Problem is that no one wants to fill his shoes, and I don’t blame them one bit for that.
It felt like a bit of give and take with Jim. He’s thinking about leaving the position of commissioner, but ultimately decides to stay. He gets the very famous mustache we all know Gordon for, but within a few minutes, he’s decided to shave it. Admittedly, this is a change I’m fine with because I think Ben McKenzie looks good without the mustache, but I understand the gripes of those who wanted Jim to have it for longer.
This was a fast finale that doesn’t leave a lot of room to breathe. There’s a lot to accomplish. We have to get reacquainted with the characters, set up a threat, introduce a conflict for Jim and company, and set the stage for Batman’s introduction.
That’s a lot to do in only an hour. Some aspects work better than others, like Jim doing his damnedest to clear Harvey’s name. He’s known Bullock far too long and won’t believe he’d crawl back into corruption. In addition to this, I like that the GCPD doesn’t turn on Harvey. They’re all solidly in his corner and will work hard to clear his name, even though very few, if at all, people believe he’s actually guilty.
The reveal that Jeremiah was behind it all is a twist I both like and dislike. It’s good that Jeremiah is still causing mayhem despite being locked away for so long. The fact that Harvey didn’t want Jim to say Jeremiah’s name just punctuates the amount of fear he instills in Gotham’s citizens. Gotham may not call him the Joker, but what we got in the finale is as close as we’ll ever get to that.
Having said that, I don’t think he was needed here. Same with Ecco, but if her death means that J here will eventually meet Harleen Quinzel, then so be it. But the conflict in this episode could’ve easily been restricted to Penguin and Riddler.
I understand the need to give us a brief battle with Batman and his arch-nemesis, but it felt a bit too much for Jeremiah and Ecco to show up. They didn’t need to play a role in this finale, even if I still enjoy the chemistry between Cameron Monaghan and Francesca Root-Dodson. It’s nice to get a payoff to Jeremiah falling into that vat of acid, but I would’ve been fine if he just, I dunno, eventually escaped and was just out there.
Talking about incarceration, it is strange that, after working with them to save the city, Jim would have Oswald and Edward imprisoned. He is the commissioner, so I would have to believe that was his call. Either way, I don’t get it. Jim has been more than willing to let Oswald and Ed do their own thing so long as they weren’t actively bothering someone or being a nuisance. Why change things here?
Perhaps it was to prevent a future attack, but the fact that Ed and Oswald put their lives on the line should have shown Jim that the two of them had made changes. Not complete changes, sure, but I think their help would be enough to keep them out of Arkham for at least a few years. More than that, with as often as criminals get out of Arkham, I don’t fully buy that Oswald and Ed would be imprisoned for that long.
I mean, what happened in that 10 year time gap? Absolute peace in Gotham City? Or just so little crime that the GCPD could actually handle itself?
This is a consequence of having a shorter season and just one episode 10 years later to wrap up everything. There’s not enough time to do so. Or at least do so very well, for my money. In this instance, a two-parter series finale would’ve worked better. I’m not going to attempt to rewrite the finale, but two episodes in this time skip would better set up the new status quo in Gotham City.
More than that, there could be a better buildup not just to Bruce Wayne’s return, but his inevitable first appearance as The Batman. We could further learn why Ed and Oswald had been locked away and maybe spend more time on both Jim’s time as commissioner and why he thought about stepping down in the first place.
And what about Bruce? We don’t spend a lot of time with him on his journey- though we’ve followed this kid for five seasons now, so it’s not a huge deal- but what about life at home? How did Alfred and Lucius adapt to life without Bruce? Same with Selina. Did she hold any resentment towards Bruce just writing her a letter and not an in-person goodbye?
Plus, what about Bane and Nyssa? Bane is locked up, but did Nyssa escape? If so, again, that’s a future villain for Batman to face in the future. There’s just too much that realistically could not be answered in the span of one episode, maybe not even two. Still, I think a two-part finale would’ve better served the series rather than one. But the series did reach the coveted 100-episode mark, so that’s still an achievement.
While it may seem like I’m being down on the episode, it’s only because it felt rushed. Again, a consequence of a shorter season run means you’ve got to fly through things as quickly as possible. This includes how much time we get as Batman.
Right off the bat-man, I’ll say that I’m not a huge fan of the suit. From the front, anyway. For a TV budget, it’s serviceable in the same way Kara’s outfit on Supergirl works for that show. But I’ve been spoiled by films, and it’s hard to not immediately think of former Batman suits from the Nolan films, the Burton/Schumacher era and, more recently, Batfleck’s suit in Batman v Superman…less so with what we saw in Justice League.
And I can’t really compare it to the suit from Titans because, as of writing this, I haven’t seen that series. Either way, while the suit isn’t great, it’s decent enough. It’d be a different matter altogether if we got an entire Batman series with this suit. But then, that’s why we’ve got Lucius Fox to make modifications.
I think the suit looked better when it was in the shadows, like when Bruce made his way towards that window. It’s not terrible, but I don’t think much of it. Hell, the Batwoman suit over on the CW looks better than this.
Anyway, with the series coming to a close, I find myself still in utter fascination with this series. Many, included myself, were skeptical of the mere concept of Gotham. But then, this was never really a series about Batman, but the protagonist was Gotham City itself. The people who lived in it, were shaped by it, and sought to make it either better or worse, that’s where you get the drama.
While I maintain that this series had trouble finding its identity early on, it, like Legends of Tomorrow, really found its groove from Season Two and onward. It embraces the many interpretations of Batman mythos that came before it, carved out its own take on the mythology, and stuck to its own crazy, and often batshit crazy rules. I can’t fault the show for wanting to be unique.
Gotham didn’t try to be like the Arrowverse shows, despite the two often showcasing similar villains. It paid homage to the wide and ever-expanding history of the Dark Knight and gave us a slice of life series set in Gotham City. While not everything worked and though this final season did feel very rushed, it was still a good ride.
Overall, Gotham is a solid show, but very rough to start out. Even still, from the many ups and downs, I find myself at the end enjoying a lot more of Gotham than I initially thought I would. This show often took bold risks and doubled down on them, rather than buckle in the face of criticism. Would it be nice to see more of this series? Absolutely.
I still think there’s plenty of story to tell now just with this time skip, but in the time leading up to the finale, too. Hell, between Titans and Doom Patrol, we’ve got our fair share of dark material on DC Universe. Not to mention Swamp Thing is on the way, too. A continuation of Gotham could fit just as well in its world, never mind that you’ve also got Batman on Titans.
But that’s all a dream for the moment. It’s been an interesting journey watching this show from the pilot to now, but I don’t regret sticking it out through the finale. Gotham was a hell of a ride and with the series coming to a close, so does our time together talking about it here.
With that said, thanks for following along with my Gotham ramblings, keep on watching television, and take care.