The word bittersweet probably has been used lot since the start of Season 5 of Gotham. This penultimate episode is no different to how all the Gotham fans are feeling as this crazy, intelligent and never been afraid to take risks television show is coming to an end.
Tze Chun writing another episode of Gotham shows the audience again through his words just how well he understands the citizens of Gotham city. The direction of this episode was left in the talented hands of Carol Banker, who worked on recently Titans. Carol also had directed episodes of The X Files, The Tick, The Magicians and Designated Survivor. I always like to mention who has written and directed each episode of Gotham as they are often asked to return. In this case Carol is directing for the first time on Gotham and what a superb tale she directed.
So did this episode have me saying “They Did What?” of course but in a good way. I often put some small thoughts of what I actually thought of the recent episode of Gotham on Twitter but with limited amount of words that can be used I often just say how engaging, superb the 45 minutes of television I have witnessed. This is my platform to go into detail of the finer points I love about Gotham. I may end up writing a few thousand words but I can’t help recapping how the characters are used in the story, my favourite stand out scenes and lines that characters have said. With this being the 99th episode and only ONE episode left I am not going to change my ways.
Gotham city is in complete disarray. The bombing from the army under a General Wade’s orders has the citizens of Gotham returning to the GCPD for safety as they become refugees. Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) thinks Captain James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) needs to wave a white flag to Nyssa Al Ghul (Jamie Murray) but Jim knows to well that Nyssa doesn’t want to conquer Gotham but destroy it. Jim orders all abled bodied people to the bunkers. The opening of this episode brings us back to our first time jump which we saw in the Gotham season five premiere https://www.dcworld.org.uk/gotham/2019/01/15/gotham-season-5-episode-1-legend-of-the-dark-knight-year-zero/ , day 391.
Bruce Wayne ( David Mazouz) is full of guilt over Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) after he sent him on a mission. Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) proving again to Bruce she is his ally, even her words of reminding Bruce that Alfred knew what he was letting himself in for don’t comfort him. Bruce knows that Nyssa and Bane (Shane West) is coming after him, Barbara and Gotham because of what they did to Ra’s Al Ghul. Selina is determined to help Bruce stop them both.
New mom Barbara Keane (Erin Richards) is handcuffed to the staircase banister while she has to watch Nyssa al Ghul wave the famous dagger in front of her newborn daughter. Nyssa is free and easy with what her intentions are for Gotham, destroying Jim and the green zone is top priority. Because Ra’s al Ghul made his name destroying empires, Nyssa feels its her turn. Barbara desperate to save her child tells Nyssa about the submarine that she could escape on, but Nyssa isn’t interested and wants to raise Barbara and Jims baby as her own, as an Al Ghul.
General Wade (John Bedford Lloyd) telephones through to the army base camp. A soldier questions the Generals order to destroy the green zone. The General sees anyone left in Gotham is an enemy of the state. The soldier won’t be party to the murder of civilians. Bane arrives and gladly relieves the soldier of his duties as he snaps his neck. Bane asks if anyone else has problems with the General Wades orders, which nobody does.
The first of my favourite scenes in this episode will come no surprise to the people that know me. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) are ready to leave Gotham on the SS Gertrude. Ed senses Oswald isn’t happy. Oswald in a sad tone can’t believe they are both being so cavalier about the destruction of Gotham. Ed pretends to think about but he doesn’t have a problem. Oswald turns and leaves as Gotham is his city and he will damned if he lets the army take it. Ed cannot let Oswald do this, but of all the people Oswald thinks Ed would want to stop these monsters as they forced Ed to murder hundreds of innocent civilians at Haven. Oswald intends to follow his heart, he has been down this road before and following his heart has never worked out well for Oswald. He wants Ed to listen to his heart a bit more rather then his brain. In a very funny moment Oswald starts crying and admits he is going to miss Edward. With a very sullen tone and no eye contact Ed admits he will miss Oswald too. Oswald in an exasperated reaction tells Ed he wasn’t meaning him but Edward the dog. Oswald hands Edward the dog to Ed and leaves to make his way back into Gotham.
The plan back at the GCPD is to get General Wade out of the control of Nyssa, so then he can reverse the order on the city. The GCPD only have a handful of men to take on the army, so it’s more a slow them down mission. Jim wants to go The Sirens to bring back Lee, Barbara and his daughter who he hasn’t yet. Harvey thinks he should stay because The GCPD needs a leader. Selina offers to go to The Sirens.
First goosebump moment in this episode is when Bruce is discussing what he has to do with Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), various bits of equipment are laid on the table from Wayne Enterprises. Smoke bombs and signal jammers that will give Bruce some time. Bruce picks up a device which was part of the Nightwing Project (cue goosebumps) put it on any aircraft and it becomes invisible to radar. But it’s flaw it serves as a beacon to certain animals. Bruce decides to take it a it might become useful.
Jim Gordon and Oswald Cobblepot’s relationship has been one of my favourites on Gotham. Jim can insult Oswald and always seems to get away with it. The pier scene between Oswald and Jim in the first ever episode forged an important relationship even Jim didn’t realise his actions in saving Oswald would have them working together in saving the city they both love. In another favourite scene from this episode Oswald arrives at the GCPD to see Jim. He offers Oswald a drink but he refuses as it dulls the senses. That is what Jim is hoping for. Jim is surprised to see Oswald still around as the storm that Oswald warned him about long ago is finally here. Oswald sits to reminisce about the turbulent times they have shared. The city is part of Oswald just like it is for Jim, sure Oswald could of escaped with money. But for him to watch from the mainland and watch the city burn to the ground by an army, then watch tasteless industrialists and vapid politicians rebuild it? Oswald is honest in his feeling in how his life is etched on the walls of every alley and dirty warehouse. Oswald’s blood lives in its broken concrete, so he is staying to fight in Gotham for his legacy.
Bullock has news on the army breaking through the GCPD barricades they will be fighting 600/700 soldiers. Bane is leading them, Bullock does question if it’s still worth fighting as they only have 30. Nygma surprisingly turns up (well not really) to make the number 31. Ed informs Oswald that it takes two men to Pilot a submarine. One man and a dog won’t work. This scene also gives Ed an opportunity to reveal his true feelings about the city of Gotham and agrees about the blood in the concrete and he actually likes the city the way it is.
A beautiful slow motion scene just like we had in the opening episode of this season has Jim, Harvey, Bruce, Oswald and Ed walking together to lead the willing members of the GCPD to the bunkers to fight. I like how this scene is early in the episode and not exactly a triumphant success. Bane has another go at Jims savour complex. Bane would of been up there with Jim but he has found his true calling. Jim orders everyone to target Bane and Nyssa’s marines as the rest are innocent soldiers just following orders. “For Gotham” the firing begins.
Lesley Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) awakes with a groan. Selina who finds Lee asks where Barbara and the baby are. Lee explaining to Selina that Nyssa kidnapped them as Selina tells her they need to leave, Lee see out of The Sirens window The Narrows being burnt to the ground. Lee knows she is needed at the GCPD to help the injured.
Bane commands his army to target Jim Gordon. Oswald mouths off to Bane as he shoots someone’s ear off. Bane shoots back and throws a grenade which lands in front of Oswald and Ed. Oswald unselfishly protects Ed which results in Oswald receiving a bad eye injury. Bane uses a bazooka to which finally defeats the GCPD. They need to find another way of slowing down the army, Bruce has an idea. Gordon moves everyone back inside the GCPD, Lucius radios through as he knows where the General is. There is another problem for Jim to deal with Selina has informed Lucius that Barbara and their baby has been kidnapped by Nyssa al Ghul. Jim decides he needs to sneak into city hall, this will also give him the opportunity to give General Wade a zap so he can reverse the invasion order. Ed encourages Oswald to keep moving, but he is in so much pain. Ed apologises for freezing when he saw the grenade. Oswald doesn’t want his apology as he thinks it’s the least he can do. Oswald does want the truth about how bad his eye looks, Ed tries to say it’s only a scratch but he gags.
Bruce’s idea of how to slow down the army is probably the biggest eyebrow raising moment in the episode. He needs Jeremiah’s battery from the basement which powers the GCPD. Lucius re-modified it after the bridges went down. Now Bruce needs it to become a bomb again. With the 3d map of Gotham in front of him Bruce intends to use part of Jeremiah’s plan to topple buildings so this will track and slow the army down. For this to work ground zero blast is Wayne Enterprises, Selina questions Bruce’s decision but doesn’t challenge it. They need the core which Lucius removes, I did laugh because everyone in the GCPD groaned when the power went out. Selina is surprised at how small it is. Lucius explains that it only took one of the batteries to blow up one bridge and the clock tower. Selina permanently by Bruce’s side will go with him as Bruce wants Lee and Lucius to stay at the GCPD. Lucius sums up what is happening in Gotham after Lee can’t believe they just let Bruce take a bomb to Wayne Enterprises. Lucius wants to add this current event to a list of things he cannot believe are happening.
Considering Barbara has given birth to her daughter the day before she shows nothing but determination in protecting her baby and Jim, which has to be admired. With Nyssa enjoying torturing Jim as she holds their daughter, she reminded me of a Disney wicked witch. Nyssa plan to destroy the green zone is still top priority but she hasn’t made up her made what fate Jim faces.
Bruce and Selina arrive in the lobby of Wayne Enterprises, Selina still can’t get her head around the crazy plan. Especially as part of this plan was thought up by Jeremiah. A portrait of Martha and Thomas Wayne looks down at Bruce he hesitates for a moment but the building is the heart of his family’s company. Some of Bruce’s earliest memories are playing with Alfred in the lobby whilst he waited for his parents to come down the escalators. The Wayne’s built the company to make Gotham a better place and Bruce knows they would of sacrificed everything for the city. Bruce is also willing to sacrifice everything as he places the bomb on the centre pillar it turns from blue to red. Selina asks an important question “when it does that?” Bruce “we run” and boom like Wayne Manor, Wayne Enterprises building is no more.
Nyssa wants Barbara to watch while she attempts to kill Jim, Barbara will receive her fate after Gotham is destroyed. Nyssa certainly has some impressive Kung fu moves and isn’t overly pleased when she hears that her army have been slowed down getting to the green zone. Jim knows he hasn’t got the skill to fight Nyssa so cleverly using handcuffs traps Nyssa which gives Barbara the opportunity to take out the rest of her men in the room. As Nyssa continues to tell Jim that she can’t be stopped because she is an Al Ghul true heir, Barbara takes the dagger which stabbed Ra’s and plunges it into the abdomen of Nyssa. General Wade comes down the stairs and Nyssa orders him to execute fail safe, in which he shoots himself. This is another fail in the plan to reverse the order on Gotham. Nyssa leaves city hall and makes her way to the submarine. She is genuinely surprised that Barbara was telling the truth.
Bruce and Selina need to hurry to get back to the GCPD. Bane grabs Bruce by the shoulder and flips him to the ground. Bane is impressed that Bruce blew up his family’s building to stop the military, but it will take more then that to stop Bane. Selina won’t leave Bruce and both of them together put up a good fight against Bane. Bruce’s anger against Bane in what he did to Alfred comes to the forefront, but Bane sees that as collateral damage in war. Selina is in danger as Bane has her in his grip, she manages to reach her knife attached to her thigh and stabs him. Bruce attaches the device from project Nightwing to Bane, goosebump moment 2 in this episode Bruce waits to see what winged mammals this device attracts. Bats. They come flying out from beneath the subway tunnel, Bruce watches in awe as they over him and start attacking Bane. We finally see live action Bats on Gotham.
Gotham has never been afraid to show the emotion when needed. Jim holding his daughter for the first time is certainly one in this episode. Jim has to break the news to Lucius that General Wade is dead and there is no way of reversing the invasion. They are surrounded by the army and Barbara is desperate to get her daughter out. The only way out is the tunnels underneath the GCPD which connects to the subway line. Lee doesn’t want to leave without Jim but he is staying behind to hold the line so the refugees can leave safely.
Bruce sits with Alfred who wakes and is happy to see him. Alfred who is in a bad way talks about how he tried to protect Bruce, but Bruce was a soldier all this time. It’s Bruce’s time to protect Alfred and Gotham even if there is nothing left to defend.
Lee reassures the people of The Narrows that they will be safe once they reach the subway vent, she isn’t going with them. Barbara hugs Lee goodbye and thanks her for everything she has done for her and the baby. This is a huge moment for these two characters. As Lee leaves Barbara turns back to watch Lee walk away and you can see she has had a change of heart.
Jim leads our heroes and villains to stand in front of Bane and the army. Bane doesn’t see this as a war anymore but a firing line. The refugees have come back with Lee and Barbara to stand shoulder to shoulder. Bane orders the army to fire but nothing happens. Jim offers a choice they can stand with him or with Bane.
The crowd remains quiet as Bane and his marines aim their weapons, the army has turned on Bane and they now stand with Jim. The refugees cheer as good old fashioned belief with no violence has won the reunification of Gotham. Lucius has managed to raise the mainland on the radio, they know everything and the army now is being repurposed for the humanitarian mission of rebuilding Gotham. Everyone especially the refugees will get water, food and medical treatment.
Jim sees Barbara alone with their daughter Lee encourages Jim to go to her. Barbara considers what has just happened in Gotham to be a good bed time story in the future. Jim doesn’t know what to call his daughter as he asks Barbara to her hold her again. Barbara has named their daughter Barbara Lee Gordon, Jim doesn’t show much enthusiasm until Barbara explains she is named after the three people she will be able to rely on.
Bruce is sitting alone when Selina finds him, she doesn’t understand why he is a bit glum after they won. Bruce knows Nyssa al Ghul is still out there and he feels herself and Bane were right all this happened because of Bruce. They hurt people he cared about. When Bane had Selina there was nothing Bruce could do. Selina again reassures him that she will be there whenever he need her. This doesn’t put a smile on Bruce’s face as that is exactly what his parents used to say.
Oswald is furious that Nyssa has stolen the submarine with all their gold on board. In this final scene between Ed and Oswald which is another favourite of mine they are both left with nothing and back to square one. Ed has had enough as they were part of saving the city of Gotham from damnation but what will they see for their loyalty? Oswald rants on fantastically about how they won’t get any credit for their selfless bravery. Ed doesn’t want their thanks or their respect, he felt nothing whilst he was standing shoulder to shoulder with the people. He feels absolutely nothing for the drab boring people of Gotham. That was Ed once, minimum wage at a thankless job at the GCPD. Ed will never again be a common criminal he has shown the city who he truly was once before and they will bow to The Riddler. Oswald who has sat and listened agrees that their accomplishments have been erased and their brilliant minds underrated. If they had let Oswald run the city the way he wanted to they would not of been in ruins. He has the men and money and the guns, Ed quickly reminds Oswald, Gordon has taken them. Why did Jim take them? Because he still sees Oswald as Fish Mooney’s umbrella boy. Ed only came back to save the city so he can take it for himself. Oswald believes they would be stronger together as no one would be able to stop them. They will take what they want from who we want and they will not suffer no fools. Ed agrees together and wants to shake on it, but Oswald sees them as brothers a hug will seal the agreement. The clever and tense moment in this scene is as Ed and Oswald move towards each other they have their knives drawn as to stab each other in the back. With with a mutual respect, understanding a line has been drawn under their past. Life begins anew. It time for them both to get to work.
No matter what you think of the character of James Gordon, some of his decisions have been questionable over the seasons but he is the heart of Gotham and never turned his back on it. The Mayor of Gotham honours Jim with the title of Commissioner. Harvey is emotional as he is sad that his partner won’t be around the GCPD. Jim doesn’t see the mission changing as he is still trying to make Gotham city a better place. Harvey wants Jim to be careful as he is swimming with sharks now.
Bruce feels his life is too public and has decided to leave Gotham, Jim is surprised as Bane is in prison. Bruce knows Gotham is in good hands. Jim shakes Bruces hand and thanks him for everything he done for himself and the city, and reminds Bruce, Gotham will always be his home.
In the final emotional moment Bruce stands with Alfred, who still looks fragile after his fight with Bane. Bruce makes sure Alfred knows how to contact him if he needs him. Alfred considers himself a very self-sufficient as he will be busy on the reconstruction of Wayne Manor and Wayne Enterprises. Alfred wants to make sure that Bruce remembers everything he has taught him and he never tried to replace his parents. As he couldn’t and would never do that. But Alfred wants Bruce to know that he is the only son that he will ever have, and he is proud of him. As Bruce walks towards his private jet Alfred looks lonely as he walks back to the Bentley.
Bruce left a letter for Selina with Detective Harper at the GCPD. We don’t know what Bruce wrote to Selina but it made her run to the airport. She is too late as she arrives Bruce is already airborne.
If this episode had been the final ever episode I would of been completely happy how everything has been wrapped up. I admit it would of been a little disappointing not to actually see a ‘Batman’ but the last five seasons have really been about the city of Gotham and how it infects and shapes people into who they are.
“They Did What?” Is a fantastic penultimate episode full of twists and emotion. I would score this episode 9.5/10. I can’t wait to see “The Beginning” I actually think I am ready for the final ever episode…I think!