The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn
Gotham, like Twoface, has always been a show of two halves. On the one hand, its seasons have been a little convoluted, chock full of inconsistent plotting and at times, questionable storylines. Contrasting this are some of the best episodes in any superhero show and Gotham’s attempt at fleshing out a prequel for The Dark Knight has been extremely enjoyable. Most of this has been thanks to the excellent origin stories given to the most iconic villains in Batman’s illustrious history. Season 5 begins strongly, with a tease of what’s to come and a look ahead at the chaos now gripping Gotham City.
The story begins with a welcome recap, reflecting on the events leading up to the start of this final season. It’s been 391 days since the government blew the bridges to Gotham, effectively trapping everyone inside and preventing anyone from entering or leaving. After a brief opening few shots, we’re shown the forces of good and evil coming together; “For Gotham!” Jim Gordon screams and the screen erupts into a strobe of gunfire and anarchy.
It’s at this point where we skip back to 87 days. Gotham has broken down into a lawless, anarchistic state. All the villains have carved out their own plot of land with Scarecrow, Victor Freeze, Barbara and more all going it alone and fighting over dwindling resources. Jeremiah is no one to be seen and seeking the chance to capitalize on this anarchy is Penguin. Continuing to manipulate those around him, Penguin controls a prolific enterprise of ammunition which seems to be the leading currency for negotiations.
The government has all but abandoned Gotham by this point. Jim Gordon and a very thin line of police officers hold up at the GCPD, trying desperately to get supplies for a continued flurry of refugees who have got caught in the crossfire between gangs and weren’t able to evacuate. After a desperate plea to the forces outside the city, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a Wayne Enterprises helicopter. In true Gotham fashion, the extent of chaos is fully realized when a mysterious figure shoots the chopper out of the sky and various forces converge on its location.
This then leads to different gangs coming to blows over the supplies and the extent of Gotham’s ambitions for the season ahead fully realized. Knowing this is the final season, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before and during this fight, more than one casualty is realized as the battle lines are drawn. It’s a bold move from the writers too and something that appears to set the tone going forward. We also see more of Scarecrow here too although given his brief appearance last season, we’ll hold our cards close to our chest before presuming he’ll be a focal figure for the season to come.
The episode ends with a look ahead at what’s to come. Penguin continues to antagonize, putting out a bounty on Jim Gordan’s head. Barbara has been pushed over the edge and seeks vengeance while Bruce Wayne is determined to follow a new path to help Selina recover from her paralysis. The Riddler is waking up in different places around the city and seems even more agitated than usual. All of this while Jim Gordon follows an ominous message from an exhausted child who passes out soon after revealing his message. There’s an awful lot to chew over for the week but there’s no denying that this episode sets a very high bar for the season ahead.
The fifth season of Gotham opens with a real banger of an episode. There’s some explosive action and crucial questions raised for the forthcoming season ahead. If there’s one thing Fox’s superhero prequel has always done well, it’s the characters and this episode does not disappoint. In the season where we finally close the curtain on Gotham, the first episode gets off to a flier and it’ll be interesting to see if the show can keep this momentum going next week when we return to the lawless streets of Gotham City.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!