This Gotham review contains spoilers.
Gotham Season 5 Episode 4
It’s funny. Gotham can really be a series with absolutely no restraint. It’s a show that, at times, can’t seem to resist camp and excess, but at other times it can be a classy drama that allows viewers to truly experience poignancy. That’s how we begin things this week with the aftermath of the explosion that took down Jim Gordon’s Haven. The episode, appropriately titled “Ruin,” allows for each of our major players to have a reaction to the utter destruction of the only safe zone in Gotham City. We get to see Gordon’s response to the death of the young orphan he befriended, we get to see the same grieving man spring into action as a true leader, and we witness Barbara forgoing her revenge on Penguin to help the survivors of the blast. We even watch Penguin’s complete shock in the face of true evil. It’s like, for a brief moment, the excess and camp were blasted away when Haven went up in flames. For that same short instant, Gotham felt like a really effective episode of The Walking Dead. And that’s a good thing because it proves that through all the Theo Galavans, and magic seeds, and deadend storylines, this series has made us care about its beloved icons.
And Gotham stays focused this week with three concurrent storylines. First we have the aftermath of the Haven attack. Gordon, Bullock, and Penguin all try to find the culprit that killed so many at haven. It looks like there’s a lead when our trio of unlikely allies and their men chase down a mystery man seen leaving the scene of the attack. That man is none other than the returning Victor Zsasz! Penguin instantly demands Zsasz’s head, because after all, Zsasz recently betrayed Penguin to Sofia Falcone, but Gordon wants evidence before he will condemn the scarred up gun for hire.
Which brings us to our second of three storylines; it’s been a week since we’ve seen Edward Nygma. Good ‘ol Ed is trying to find clues over what his other persona is doing when in control. This week, Nygma’s detective work leads him to a Blackgate inmate. Nygma goes to the GCPD and tries to steal the file. He runs into Lucius Fox, who promises to give Ed the file if the brilliant criminal will help him investigate the rocket attack. Now listen, just seeing Lucius and Ed together for 90 seconds makes me long for a police procedural starring these two Bat icons.
Nygma discovers that the explosion that took down parts of Haven was caused by an RPG and not a bomb, so it would be impossible for Zsasz to have perpetrated the attack. So now we have these two stories converging as Gordon stands up for Zsasz. Gordon does not want to see justice fall apart in the No Man’s Land that Gotham has become, so the Penguin/Gordon alliance is already fraying. Penguin demands a trial and we get a little Dark Knight Rises kangaroo courtroom action as Penguin finds Zsasz guilty. Gordon busts it up and frees Zsasz.
Now I get the whole justice thing, but yo, this is Victor freakin’ Zsasz, a dude who cuts scars into his own flesh every time he offs someone. Is it really wise to have this dude on the streets? Well, Zsasz does have a strange sense of honor, so maybe somewhere along the way Zsasz could help Gordon when the future commissioner least expects it? Until then Jim Gordon has released a serial killer into the wilds of a lawless Gotham filled with vulnerable people. Huh.
Whatever your feelings on Zsasz, the alliance Gordon made with Penguin has seemed to hit a major snag, but it looks like Jimmy boy might have reignited an old union, one that goes back to the very first episode of Gotham. Yes, Gordon and Barbara Kean are a thing again. This week the episode ends with a Barbara/ Jimbo lip lock. Now here’s a relationship that has been through some ish! Between Tabitha, Ra’s Al Ghul, Sofia Falcone, Leslie Thompkins, Valerie Vale, and so many more, there’s been some drama since Gordon and Kean ended their engagement. But No Man’s Land makes strange bedfellows and the alliance between the GCPD and the Sirens has now been sealed with a kiss.
But we’re not done, because despite the rekindling of romances, the betrayals, and the hooks ups, there were two huge unexpected twists during the fourth installment of the final season of Gotham. First we learn who shot the RPG that took down Haven. Edward sees that there’s an old woman living across from the rooftop that the RPG was fired from. Edward confronts the wheelchair bound old lady and discovers it was Edward himself who fired the fateful rocket. Yep, when Ed’s other persona took over, he went on a murdering spree. Edward tosses the lady from a window (well, maybe Gotham got a little excessive this week) and now he must deal with the fact he has a monster living inside him. This should take us to some interesting places.
And now we must talk about the most unexpected twist of all. Last week Selina fought Ecco Harley and handcuffed Bruce, all so she can find and take down Jeremiah. This week that hunt comes to an end. Bruce is freed by Alfred, but by that time Selina is deep in Jeremiah’s territory. He is digging a tunnel under Gotham using labor drones provided by Ecco’s initiations. Selina infiltrates the group and we’re all expecting her to have an epic battle with Ecco, or Jeremiah, or both so Selina can get revenge for Jeremiah paralyzing her. Now this is where I should tell you that I really enjoy the interactions between Ecco and Jeremiah, they are truly a, well, echo, of the classic Joker and Harley (and now I get the meaning of Ecco’s name—well played, Gotham). I should tell you that I’m looking forward to more of this twisted Bonnie and Clyde. But I can’t, because when Selina sees Jeremiah she just quickly and efficiently, stabs him to death. No prolonged battle, no soul searching over whether the killing would be just. Selina just shivs Jeremiah right in front of Bruce and Alfred. Well damn, that’s some empowerment right there. Now I know we’re in a show where death doesn’t mean much, but that would be a hell of a way to write Jeremiah out and also give the spotlight to Ecco.
So Jeremiah is dead, Edward Nygma is the biggest monster in No Man’s Land, Penguin is pissed, and Gordon and Barbara are a thing again. It’s easy to say that Gotham heated up in a big way this week to deliver another memorable episode.