This Gotham review contains spoilers.
Gotham Season 5 Episode 10
“I Am Bane?” You sure are, pal. Well, a Gotham facsimile anyway. This week, as Gotham speeds towards a finale (man, the end of Gotham is so going to get lost in the Game of Thrones finale gaga, ain’t it?), Bane makes his debut. Now, whether this Eduardo Dorrance version of Bane is the actually, for real Bane that Batman will face (and get his back broken by) is still up in there; it has to be said that this Shane West portrayal of the man who might break the Bat certainly has a Bane like feel. Well, a Dark Knight Rises Bane, anyway. Man, what do people have against lucha masks?
The coming of Bane to No Man’s Land begins with the US military arriving and getting ready to open up Gotham City. In a Gilligan’s Island level yoinks, the presiding General Waid (named after comic book great Mark Waid of course, who, oddly, never had a significant run on Batman) is ready to announce Gotham City’s reunification when Bane attacks. Bane abducts James Gordon, Bruce Wayne, and Waid, and we are off. Shane West’s Bane is a unique thing. At times, he’s really doing a Tom Hardy impression, but at other times, he seems like an unstoppable force of nature. He is definitely all Nolan Bane with none of the lucha mastermind shtick of the comics. But he does seem frightening. I’m not sure how I feel about connecting Bane to Gordon, but I guess it works in the context of Gotham.
Bane, of course, is a puppet of the mysterious Walker who, this week, is revealed to be Nyssa Al Ghul. I would have bet dollars to donuts that she was going to be Talia, but I guess it makes sense that an adult Talia would not really work. That would have made Talia one hell of a cougar if she boinks Bruce Wayne later in life. So Nyssa it is and her quest for vengeance against Bruce Wayne for the death of Ra’s Al Ghul begins.
Of course, Bruce didn’t kill Ra’s himself. Ra’s died by the hand of Barbara Kean and Nyssa knows it. Unfortunately, this week, Barbara is in the middle of giving birth to the next generation of Kean and Gordon and is in no shape to fend off Bane. Barbara goes to her doctor Lea Thompkins for help and now Gordon’s other lady love is caught up in the Bane madness. Now, if this baby is Barbara Gordon, the future Batgirl, her birth is pretty epic. As Barbara goes into labor, Bane’s men attack. Lee is pushing Barbara in a wheelchair while the about to pop a baby out mother is John Wooing it with double pistols taking out Bane’s flunkies. No wonder the future Batgirl is an action junkie.
And, with Bruce and Gordon in Nyssa’s clutches, it is up to a very unlikely team to protect Barbara and baby. I mentioned Lee, but earlier in the episode, Barbara absconds with a vital component to the submarine that Riddler and Penguin are building. Ed and Oswald try to retrieve the part when Bane attacks. I never really realized I wanted to see a Riddler and Penguin versus Bane live action slugfest, but here you go.
Before we check back on Barbara, let’s talk some Nyssa. The Daughter of the Demon is driven by vengeance for her father. She has Bane torture Gordon in front of Bruce and has Hugo Strange attempt some diabolical experiments on Gordon. Bruce and Gordon both manage to escape and even free General Waid, but it seems like Nyssa can be the deadliest foe ever to appear on Gotham. She is cunning, is driven by vengeance, has the resources of the entire League of Shadows, has Bane, has Hugo Strange, and has the training of an Al Ghul. She is certainly very different than the mostly altruistic version of Nyssa that appears on Arrow, but she also might be more dangerous given the setting of No Man’s Land.
Speaking of dangerous, back to Bane. Bane is inches away from killing Barbara, Lee, and the baby when Alfred and Selina make the save. Alfred goes toe to toe with Bane, and shockingly, Bane breaks the butler. It seems that Alfred is dead. Now, I know, no one dies on Gotham. Alfred is feet away from all of Hugo Strange’s revitalizing equipment, and there is always Lazarus water, but it is still shocking seeing a broken Alfred. It is also shocking seeing Selina so concerned for Alfred. Wasn’t she the girl saying just a few weeks back she doesn’t care about anyone? I guess she does have a heart.
This final season of Gotham began with a flash-forward of our heroes and villains making a Helm’s Deep like stand against an invading force. We now know who and what that was all about. Waid is a puppet of Nyssa and the US military is going to take out Gotham City. As the missiles fly, many questions remain. What will happen to Alfred? Is the baby Barbara Gordon, and if so, does her mother sacrifice herself? How does Gotham City survive No Man’s Land? Will Ed and Oswald ever finish their sub?
And let’s not forget, the wildcard. Will Jeremiah awaken?
We have two more episodes to find this out. See you in a month.
Marc Buxton is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.