Gotham Season 5 Episode 12 – The Finale – “The Beginning…” Recap & Review


 

He’s Back

After five long seasons and plenty of speculation, Gotham’s series finale and final send-off for the show is upon us. After a brief prologue showing Bruce Wayne heading off to the mountains to begin his training, we begin this episode by skipping forward ten years.

Jim Gordon is on the verge of retirement and his daughter is now grown up. Donning fiery red locks, Barbara has a civil relationship with the Father of her child and they all discuss Wayne Tower’s completion. Whispers begin to circle around the city as the big opening day approaches with Bruce Wayne almost certainly going to return.

With the newspapers picking up this news, we cut to Arkham where we find Nygma and Jeremiah both spending their time in the asylum. Jeremiah is brain dead, physically scarred and a shadow of the man he once was. As the alarms wail overhead, he slips out of Arkham and prepares to welcome Bruce back to his city with a bang. It’s here where we get a glimpse of Selina too. Now quite the prolific cat burglar, she steals a diamond whilst feeling the shadowy presence of someone watching her.

Before we get a chance to explore this further, we cut across to Bullock who follows a lead in his case to a nearby house. He’s given a phone by one of the guards from Arkham and, wide-eyed and afraid, proceeds to beg the person down the phone to stop. Who this could be is anyone’s guess for now!

A new look Penguin, complete with a monocle and flabby belly is released from prison and immediately gets to work with a scheme of his own. He finds Jim Gordon and points a gun at him, demanding he drive. It turns out Penguin was not behind the gang being killed or Nygma’s escape. As Jim slips away down at the docks and Penguin wildly fires his gun in anger, Riddler’s master plan is revealed. With a crate of C4 and his eye set on Wayne Tower, he aims to blow the structure up.

Thankfully, old habits die hard and while The Riddler monologues about his plans for Bruce and Wayne Tower, Selina arrives and knocks him out. While Jim evacuates the building, Barbara and Selina bring The Riddler to him. They diffuse the bomb with seconds to spare but while Riddler and Penguin slip away, something stirs in the shadows – Batman?

Back at the ice lounge, Barbara grabs her gun from the drawer with her daughter but stops when she hears music coming from the lounge. Jeremiah is back, dressed in full joker gear and kidnaps Barb’s daughter. He was only pretending to be brain dead, biding his time for Bruce to return. This builds to a showdown at Ace Chemicals where Jeremiah reveals himself as the new-look Joker. With all seemingly lost, Bruce appears and, despite not catching a glimpse of his face, manages to thwart the threat thanks to an array of batarangs. With one final look, he slips away ready to protect Gotham from the threats lying within.

The episode then ends with Jim Gordon revealing the infamous spotlight on top of GCPD while Selina and Bruce finally talk, albeit in fractured bites of dialogue. The final shot of the series finally sees our dark knight looking over the city, ready to defend it from the threats within.

On the whole, the final season of Gotham has proven something a lot of fans have known for a long time. This show run out of steam a while back and despite some nice ideas, the story and general pacing this year has been way off the mark. This is particularly evident here in the finale too, with all the elements rushed and a lack of characterisation failing to establish anyone as a legitimate threat. Despite 10 years passing and a new look for some of our villains, all of them feel like comic book caricatures, especially Penguin and Riddler.

Although Joker has always been destined to return to Gotham, his brief appearance is disappointing too and I can’t help but feel this finale could have been so much more. Still, fans will always have the second season which, to me at least, highlights the pinnacle of this series and quite what could be achieved with some danger, a handful of maniacal villains and a real threat for Jim Gordon to deal with. Still, there’s enough here to make for a decent tribute to Gotham but given how much anticipation was built leading into this one, I can’t help but feel just a little disappointed with the finale we were dealt.

 

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