After five seasons and 100 episodes, we finally made it to the end of Gotham with “The Beginning.” With the current storylines all but wrapped up in the previous episode, “They Did What?” the series finale took a time jump into the future with Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham, a city that seems to have recovered from its earlier madness but still has something sinister lurking in its underbelly . . . one we know the GCPD will not be able to handle.
Throughout Multiversity’s coverage of the series, we employed a rotating cast of staffers for our recaps – – everyone from regular viewers of the show to those watching it for the first time. For “The Beginning” we have a roundtable discussion featuring staff writers Christa Harader and Elias Rosner, Social Media Manager Kate Kosturski, and special guest from our 2018 Summer TV Binge of The Expanse, Frank Skornia.
Get your cape and cowl and mustache and let’s talk all things Gotham City for one last time. As always, spoilers within.
Elias: Test test. Who’s ready for the batshit insanity of Commish “hero” and the Moustache of Doom?
Kate: It feels like “They Did What?” was more of a series finale for the series than this will be. It provided closure for quite a few characters, wrapped up the main storyline of Gotham’s reunification with the city, and provided some answers to fan questions (like, how did Jim’s daughter end up being named Barbara?).
So before this episode actually aired (I’m writing these comments on April 22nd), I was pondering, “what’s left?” Of note is that this is the 100th episode of Gotham, so I can’t help but think this was just tacked on to get that 100 episode order that is a lock for syndication.
We also know there’s going to be a time jump, but how far? The previews show most of our main characters as the same actors, including Bruce, but we know that Camren Bicondova will not be in this episode. (If there’s one thing that Gotham seems to be good at, it’s recasting!) What good does it bring to story to recast one of your central characters just for the series finale?
Christa: Not much good, but Gotham has proven over its illustrious run that the sky’s the limit on strange and just plain bad choices!
Elias: Zero good. Camren Bicondova was one of the few good choices Gotham made and really brought the role to life in more than just a hammy way. Also, I noticed they only recast female characters to age up (Ivy Pepper & Selina Kyle) so. . .that’s uncomfortable.
Kate: Yeah, that. If there was anyone on this show that was a character in search of an identity, it was Ivy Pepper.
Elias: They really did her character a disservice with all that aging up and the implications it brought to the table.
I felt the same with “They Did What?” It wrapped everything up in a terribly crafted but neat, I guess, bow and put everyone on the path to where they “should” be. Jim “Righteous Indignation” Gordon is gonna be commish, Bruce-Man is off to become Bat-Wayne, Selina & Alfred are left behind because. . .reasons, and we get the beautiful, stupid moment of Riddler & Penguin almost stabbing each other, further cementing their relationship as the weirdest in the whole show, but the best because at least it was more honest than any of the others.
Also, the hell was up with Bane? He was touted as the big bad but is only around for, like, an episode or two, defeated, and it seems like Joker, sorry, ~Jeromie,~ is gonna be the end boss.
Kate: That has been one of the weaknesses of the show, introducing characters that we know play a major role in the canon later on and do nothing with them. It smacks of a show searching for an identity.
Frank: The penultimate episode really did seem like the proper series finale, while this is going to be a coda or epilogue to the series. The story has been told, and now we’re visiting with the characters 15 years later. I’m okay with the recasting (remember that Bruce is also being recast here) because it would be difficult for the younger characters to be shown as appropriately aged.Continued below
Also today is World Penguin Day, so I’m obviously going to be rooting for our dear friend, and once mayor of Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot.
Elias: Gotta love that recap really selling just how pointless this episode. For a better recap, go read Dany Roth’s highlights of each season over at SYFYWire. He’s covered this thing since season 1 (sans season 5), God bless his soul. Then come back to watch us suffer!
Elias: Broody Bruce is here to set up the spin-off series, Bat-Wayne.
Christa: You can really tell, because he’s blown his hair up with a bicycle pump because he’s a man, now. Or …something.
He looks like William Powell and John Astin (Gomez Addams) had a really stiff baby.
Kate: And now the madness begins for the final time. We have jumped a decade into the future and I’M SORRY WHAT THE HELL DIED ON BEN MCKENZIE’S UPPER LIP?!
Frank:I wonder who is attacking the gangs …
The mustache has arrived!!!
Christa: The mustache is probably attacking the gangs. We’re going full Fight Club, y’all.
Elias: OH NO! I was not prepared for how AWFUL this mustache is. Why is Mayor Hardy still Mayor 10 YEARS AFTER his disastrous reign?
Gordon’s “old man” voice is totally not selling me on him being just barely over 40 compared to Bullock’s just barely over 50 and being exactly the same.
Christa: He’s apparently aged 30 years instead of 10, and whoever did that job on his hair should be fired.
Also, Donal Logue just hasn’t aged at all.
Kate:It’s hilarious how some characters aged and some didn’t. And notice it’s mostly the men who didn’t age?
Elias: He’s just always been like that. Perpetually Bullock, perpetually older than everyone else. And yup to that Kate!
Frank:Oh look, gangs are being attacked at the same time Bruce Wayne is returning to Gotham. 2+2 sometimes can equal 4 you know.
Will little Barbara have red hair? Well the older one does!
Kate: It’s nice to see good co-parenting here from Jim and Barbara. They had many reasons to part on bad terms, and I thought she wouldn’t have even lived to see this series finale, but here we are. Motherhood helped her to grow.
Elias: Thank goodness for that too.
Christa: Didn’t help her wig, though. Also, why does everyone keep mentioning that it’s been 10 years? If it actually has been, then people … wouldn’t do that.
Also, didn’t she kill a bunch of people? I’m so confused.
Elias: Well, you see. . .It’s Gotham, who HASN’T killed at least one other person?
Christa: Typically, not Barbara. But, nothing’s typical in the wild world of Gotham, where everyone just does what they want!
Elias: Gotta love ‘em! Wait, Ed? 10 years?! How’d Penguin betray you so soon after that sweet, stabby reunion.
Frank:Ed!! Dude, you need a haircut. Oh, proto-Joker. You’ve fallen on hard times it seems. But it looks like you might have a Harley ally there.
Christa: Ed’s spent too much time at the goth club. He’s really into Icon of Coil and power noise now. And stabbing people, which is not quite in line with the Nygma I know.
Woof, those camera angles. Why do a subtle dutch when you can just drop the camera on the floor and walk away?
Frank: And the mustache didn’t last more than 5 minutes. I get it. I hate facial hair too. Alos, good work Jim for not screwing up the thing with Leigh (Lee? How does she spell it? I think it’s Lee)
Kate: RIP Bad Jim Gordon Moustache, 8:00 PM EST – 8:08 PM EST.
Christa: Gone but never forgotten, in our hearts forever.
WHY IS EVERYONE MENTIONING BRUCE? And filling us in on what they do now? Who wrote this? I want my money back.
Elias: We knew ye well. #he’llnevermoustacheyouaquestion. I gotta say, Jim Gordon being “Jim Gordon” is not living up to the high standards of the moustache.
Christa: Lee gets some sweet extensions and Gordon is … putting me to sleep. I haven’t even hit 10 minutes yet. I don’t know if I can do this.
Elias: You can do it! The best, well, “best,” is yet to come. Also, it can’t be as bad as Bane. . .Actually. . .Continued below
Christa: Don’t lie to me. Yes it can.
Frank: A cat burglar has to burgle. Hello new Selina. Mrow! Oh Entrapment, you have inspired so much goodness despite being a mediocre film.
Kate: Oh good, I’m not the only one who was thinking Entrapment with our introduction to the stealthy, stealthy Catwoman. Also, I think you’re right in that it’s spelled Lee.
Christa: Ok, so this scene isn’t as bad as it could be, and the music’s pretty ok, too. Burglin’ accomplished. +1 to you, Gotham.
… until she takes the mask off and looks like Britney Spears. Never mind. -1, Gotham.
Elias: Nice introduction of the new Selina. We’ll miss you Camren Bicondova.
Christa: The claws-as-glass-cutters moment is pretty neat, and a good nod to what would be a panel in a comic.
Frank: To aid with the drug-fueled insanity of Gotham we get blue Will Smith in the first ad!
Christa: … I hadn’t seen a trailer until now. It’s hilariously bad. Props to Lizzo for making money on that incredibly WASP-y cocktail in a can, too.
Elias: I think I skipped the trailer to avoid letting my brain melt even more.
Christa: Good call, Elias. Good. Call.
Frank: Yeah, you should look guilty Jim. While you were cuddling with Lee, poor Bullock watched a guy blow his head off. If only we knew about someone that could make people do what he wants with his voice. . .Jim, your deductive skills are slipping.
Kate:Even in the highest positions of power, Jim shows a willingness to bend the law, but it has honorable intentions (saving his friend). So I can’t fault Jim too much, but I feel if this show went on, that decision would bite Jim in the ass.
Elias: Nah, the writers would bend over backwards to make sure he was framed as Mr. Hero Man Who Can Do No Wrong no matter what he chose to do and face no consequences.
Christa: Yeah, I don’t know of many other people who could just yell about an active case in a police station, despite the alleged grandeur of the shot they were going for.
And, I’m not buying the threat level here given that they’re jamming every single villain into the last episode. Pick one and stick with that.
Elias: And this isn’t even half the villains of the season, let alone the series.
Christa: Ugh. UGH. Also, WHAT’S IN THE BOOOOOOX.
Frank: I’ve been quite pleased with the Penguin being the overall mastermind for much of this show. He’s such a delight. Monocle!!
Elias: The costumes continue to be the best part of this show by far.
Christa: Yeah, that montage is pretty good. The silhouette shot of him popping out his hat is choice.
Frank:Wow, guess Cobblepot has been eating well in prison.
Kate: It’s definitely starting to channel a bit of the Danny Devito Penguin from Batman Returns.
Frank: More Burgess Meredith from the 1960s Batman.
Christa: Yeah, got a definite Batman 66 vibe. It works. Robin Lord Taylor was the only thing I consistently enjoyed when I slogged through season 1, and it seems like he hasn’t lost any of the charm.
Kate: Testing the Riddler with a riddle. We do know that Ed can be vulnerable as there was one episode where a riddle from Lee stumped him. A riddle about love. And Nygma’s great love, I will argue, was and is Cobblepot.
Christa: I support this.
Elias: US Army markings? Are Nyssa Al Ghul and Bane back?
Christa: I sure as hot heck hope not.
Frank: For someone that “is not their enemy” that was a pretty aggressive move weird shadowy guy with a cape.
Kate: Batman – – oops I mean Weird Shadowy Guy With Cape – – still has a bit to learn about vigilante manners. I don’t think there’s an Emily Post for that though.
Elias: Gotta love that stock voice changer.
Christa: I am so tired of the voice changer. SO. TIRED.
And we’re back to property damage!Batman, I see. That window was just fine before you got there, Bruce. Use the door.
Elias: Holy broken window Batman!
Christa: Nicely done.
Elias: Thank you.
Frank: So Bruce has been away for 10 years. Does that mean he’ll be twice as capable as Oliver Queen was when he returned after 5 years? And I bet Bruce didn’t spend much of that time on a hard to find (haha, yeah right!) island in the Pacific.Continued below
Frank: Kudos to Oswald for wearing the top hat in the car. That’s not an easy feat.
Kate: This confrontation at the docks with Jim and Cobblepot is a reversal of that first season scene when Don Falcone ordered Gordon to kill Cobblepot and Gordon refused. It’s a nice, in its own twisted way, to bring the Gotham story full circle. I had been wondering earlier how this time jump would tie into everything with the previous episode closing the circle on existing storylines, but this did it.
Christa: Agreed, I am a sucker for visual symmetry and I think they did ok here. Ben McKenzie is … not great, though. And, they didn’t have to mention it in the script. We got it.
Elias: Ben McKenzie’s acting in this scene is way more wooden than it has any right to be.
Christa: Wow, Oswald’s not behind this? What a shocker. A true revelation. Who could it possibly be?
Elias: *Looks at camera like we’re in The Office.*
Frank: Look my building is taller than yours! And by building I mean my penis.
The actress playing Selina could convincingly play Yvonne Strahovski’s sister I think. Alfred with the 4 name introduction, despite not having any official role in Wayne Enterprises.
Kate: Kudos to the casting department for finding an older Selina Kyle that looks very much like Camren. The same big eyes, the same wild curly hair. (Frank just pointed out to me that the actress, Lili Simmons, is from Westword, which explains why she looks so familiar to us.)
Christa: Yeah, she’s pretty good!
But, Alfred in that tux? Hellooooo, sailor.
Kate: On the topic of Mr. Pennyworth, you know what I’m oddly sad about? Five seasons and nary a single Doctor Who joke or Easter egg in this show! Missed opportunity when your Alfred is the son of one of the actors from the classic Who era.
Elias: She does a fantastic job of channeling Camren, yeah. I am really weirded out by a non-evil Barbara after the last four seasons completely redefined her.
Elias: That Riddler outfit!! That’s really how you make the comics come alive!
Christa: That is a fantastic costume. Wardrobe should be congratulated, they’re knocking it out of the park in this. Hair and make-up, however …
Elias: They just fell asleep on the job.
Christa: She called him a ding-dong. I take back everything I said, this show is amazing. Ed needs to work on his vogue-ing, though.
Frank: Gordon looks surprisingly dry… did he stop off at home to get changed before going to stop the explosion plot?
Kate: He stood under one of those Dyson dryers.
Elias: Gordon being 100% done with Haley being kidnapped is beautiful.
Frank: And the gang’s back together again!
Frank: Someone could hold it steady… or you could just stack things underneath the edges so no one has to hold a bomb detonator… NTS if I build a bomb, do not follow typical electric wiring rules…
Christa: But always, always put it in the architectural model. No one will ever suspect the only prop in the room! I would also like to personally congratulate us all on making it over halfway through the episode.
Elias: It’s simply the victory lap of shame for the rest of us. This is nothing compared to the Azrael stuff.
Christa: They . . . did Azrael? Really?
Elias: Yup! Tabitha, remember Tabitha? I think she died before the episode you watched? She was his sister. Dated (?) Barbara & Butch, who was Solomon Grundy. He was mayor for a bit. Season 2, I think. Was killed. Came back to life thinking he was a literal angel. You know, standard stuff.
Christa: It’s so unfortunate that Azrael made it to the screen.
Elias: This is so not the pacing of a finale episode. Why is this bomb scene dragging on so long?
Christa: Because for some reason they have really dial in those close-ups with the model in the way. Duh.
I love how Lucius just grabs the freakin’ detonator and then Lee shows us her super steady jazz – wait, I mean doctor’s – hands. What is happening? They’re seriously jiggling this thing around way too much.Continued below
Elias: Gotta defuse the clock bomb though. Only the magic of ~doctor’s hands~, hands that were once very dead and also crushed by a hammer, can save them.
Kate: Well Elias you called it. The mastermind behind the bomb plot is none other than Jeremiah Valeska.
Elias: Boom bam. I’m not proud but I will take the win.
Christa: HE WAS MIIIIIIIIIIIC’ed!
Elias: That whole small scene had me cackling.
Christa: Yeah it lacks a bit of the drama they were going for. I’m laughing to keep from crying, because we still have 20 minutes to go. Face-grabbin’ prosthetic Joker and all.
Elias: His makeup really is quite bad, isn’t it? It’s trying to do the NickolsonXLedger thing but failing in both.
Christa: They just glued it on and it’s meant to be painted over. Awful.
Elias: And he looked so good before! The make-up was perfect, both pre-acid bath and in the promos.
Christa: From the promo shots I saw and the footage, yeah, it looked really good. They went for a Romero vibe, which was a nice change of pace. Disappointing to see they’re leaning into the disfigurement and leaving the paint off.
Christa: You know they’re gonna do a Joker show. You know they’re gonna try it.
Elias: But we’re already getting the Joker movie. Please. WB. Please don’t.
Frank: And it looks like Gotham is diving deep into the abusive relationship with their Harley *sighs.*
Kate: Yes, my one problematic aspect of all things DC: Harley Quinn. But, everything in this show has to tie somehow to current Batman canon, and Harley had to be one of them.
Elias: They were doing so well of skirting the line of the Harley & Joker relationship though! Well. . .I say “well,” when really it was they were both looney in different ways because of Jerome’s gas and their relationship shifting because of it.
Christa: Par for the course, I think, and I didn’t see any of their previous interactions so I’m not super invested. I am, however, very invested in the wedding that I believe should end this episode. Namely, that of Oswald and Ed. And don’t body-shame your life partner, Ed. It’s not cute.
Anyone else notice how Bruce just murdered that chauffeur? Just me? Ok.
Kate: One of the commercial breaks in the airing on the East Coast was for the Pennyworth prequel on Epix and I have to say, it has my attention. But I’m also a sucker for a period piece.
Elias: If the writing is good, I’m all for it.
Christa: Same. Agent Carter did well, and I definitely get that vibe here.
Kate:Now we’re about 45 minutes in here and I still have only a loose idea of what’s going on. Which again leaves me wondering, what purpose does this entire episode serve? More and more it feels like this is just tacked on to bring the series as close to current Batman canon as possible, and get that 100 episode order. It also has a bit of a feel of a backdoor pilot.
Elias: It really does feel like that, doesn’t it? It’s a risky thing, though. To take such a little known hero and make a full series all about him. It’s not like Batman has the cache of someone like, say, Jim Gordon, Hero Cop Extraordinaire.
Christa: He’s so famous I can’t stand it. Truly.
On a serious note, they would’ve been fine ending where they did. I don’t actually need to see Bruce in the suit. We know what he looks like, we’ve had a handful of versions at this point. Neatening it off pre-Batman would’ve been too subtle, I guess, but it’s a missed opportunity to put a little style and class on your ending.
Elias: Yeah. The show was supposed to be about Jim & the GCPD and Bruce was a piece of that but shouldn’t be the end all, be all. This should end like Smallville with Jim flying off on his mustache. (I can’t remember where I saw that joke before but I did not originate it.)
Christa: Yeah, they missed the point. And I know there’s something to be said for the bonkers stuff they got into, but it’s just not my speed when the writing telegraphs everything and the visual is just the back-up. They didn’t steer hard enough in either the true origin or cocaine binge directions, to the detriment of my viewing experience.Continued below
Frank: Little foreshadowing going having little Barbara Gordon near that eye-shaped window. Not usual to see fear on Barbara’s face.
Christa: Yeah, that was a nice little visual moment.
Kate:So what Joker are we getting here? It’s a lot of Heath Ledger Joker, that’s for sure. Maybe a dash of Jack Nicholson Joker and Mark Hamill Joker as well.
Christa: Oh noooooooooo. This is teeeeeerrible. And I don’t care how crazy Harley is, no one puts on eyeliner like that.
Elias: Nice shot little Barbara!
Christa: Yeah, she really beaned him.
Elias: Daddy? Oh no. Nononono. And now she’s dead. Wow. That was deeply unnecessary and a waste.
Christa: What a complete waste of time. So cheap. Why use her at all if you’re going to do that?
Elias: Right?! She was around for the rest of the season but, again, totally wasted. I guess they just needed to wrap everything up in that neat little bow. Which is stupid. She could’ve easily not been in this final episode or gotten away.
Christa: Exactly! Gratuitous, and not just because she’s a woman. I dislike when writers throw a character in just for the recognition or to square off a plot point. Best to just let it go. It also dilutes Joker’s reveal, which sucks on its own, to be fair, but still.
Elias: It is extra terrible when considering Gotham’s track record for killing the women in the show. Actually, every single woman sans the other detective in this final episode has died. All of them. Selina was “almost” dead but I count it.
Christa: Easiest way to communicate someone’s eeeeeevil. That’s just dumb.
Elias: Yup. Actually, I think Lee’s died twice?
Frank: Something with a J that is born from the primordial ooze. That’s a good descriptor for Gotham – primordial ooze of the Batman mythos. And this is the scene from the first Burton film.
Elias: Ooooooooooze. Why does Jeremiah also have the stupid “old man” voice? Wait, sorry. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.
Christa: Good point, Frank. The voice is really weird and inconsistent. It’s hard to get a read on what he’s going for, and it’s just bland because it lacks focus.
Elias: And we know he can do much better. (See the entire rest of the season.) The make-up felt like a hinderance.
Christa: Yeah, it’s a real shame. He was very sinister and very crisp, and totally! He has such a good face. Also, that is so very clearly not a child hanging from that rope in the wide shots.
Ok, his “beautiful” delivery was pretty spot-on. I’ll give him that.
Frank: You know weird shadowy cape guy, you could have come to the rescue a little sooner…
Elias: Did Bruce-Man just kill J with that Batarang to the head?
Christa: What is with this Scarecrow-esque shadow? And that Batarang to the head made me laugh out loud.
6 MORE MINUTES. I CAN DO THIS.
Elias: 360 seconds let’s go!
Frank: CALLING IT AT 8:54. Final shot is going to be the bat signal! (At 8:59 aww, I was wrong.)
Elias: You were so close! That would have been a good end point.
Christa: Aw, yeah, it would’ve been. Very iconic. Listen. Silver Fox Alfred. I’m into it.
Elias: He is the most charming man in the show. Pertwee brought the right balance of butler and “I’m going to fuck you up, superspy” and him dialing back the latter was a nice touch.
Christa: I love him in just about everything I’ve seen. He was a rock in this show.
Frank: Aww, we’re going to get a Selina Bruce reunion of some sort.
Christa: I was terrified that he was going to use the voice modulator again.
Elias: Forever haunted by this awful trend in TV superheroics.
Christa: That scene was really awkward. Selina unable to control her emotions doesn’t roll with me. She’d be ice-cold at this point, and it’d be around the edges. The end bit and her “Like hell” line delivery is much better. I know it probably hits better for folks who’ve watched the entire show, but I’m not into it.
Kate: I agree. Selina was always the one to push Bruce away when he got too close, or she was getting too close to him for her own comfort. Maybe time has softened her heart but with such a sudden time jump, these strong emotions make no sense without the context.Continued below
Elias: Nope. It fell flat for me too.
Christa: Oh good, so it just sucks.
Elias: Yup. It’s weird because, like you said, she really should be ice cold after 10 FRICKIN YEARS. She’d miss him, sure, but the resentment for Bruce being the worst and pulling the worst stunt and leaving would take precedence.
Christa: Has it been 10 years? I don’t think they mentioned that.
Elias: You’re right. I don’t think they did. That must be why it’s still raw for her.
Christa: Yeah, Selina would be completely over it – on the surface. I want that Cat to come out.
Elias: Come on Gotham! Give us that sweet face reveal. Also, I gotta say, Bruce leaving Selina behind really was a stupid, stupid decision. Why can’t these two be happy? In at least one incarnation. Please.
Frank: Christopher Nolan gave them a happy ending!
Christa: That was also terrible. Excuse me, I’m dropping this mic now.
Elias: Shhhhh, let me have that moment, no matter how awful it was.
Christa: It’s all yours, buddy.
Frank: After 10 years, Gotham PD is still totally incompetent at transporting prisoners.
Elias: You’d think they’d have learned after “No Man’s Land” how to retrofit a prisoner transport to not be easy as sin to escape from.
Christa: It’s not even locked.
Elias: I didn’t even notice that. Wow. Well done GCPD.
Kate: Who wants a Nygma-Cobblepot buddy comedy? 🙂
Elias: *Raises hand emphatically* I do! They’re the power couple of the series.
Christa: Listen. This is my future. Everything they do together is fantastic. I’d watch a whole show focused on them in a heartbeat.
Incredibly awkward Batman parkour silhouette aside (the cape wasn’t even extended,) everything about this scene was great.
Elias: It finally felt like Gotham City rather than a “slightly” strange New York.
Christa: Right? The shadows were there, the grime and grit were there and that purple and green and ooh, it was good. For a brief, shining moment, it was good.
Elias: Donal Logue’s Harvey was the Harvey we needed and the one we deserved. This Weird Shadowy Cape Guy, however, looks like the College Humor version of the Christian Bale one.
Christa: I’m stunned. I have no words for that. It’s just. Wow. No.
Frank: And Gotham ends the way we all expected it to end. I am impressed that it managed to get so much mileage out of the concept since at the start it was supposed to be primarily focused on Gordon and the Gotham City PD before Batman. My issue with that premise is that the whole point of Batman is that the GCPD fails to miserably to do its job that a billionaire needs to dress up as a bat to properly take care of business. Why would we want to watch a show about characters doomed to a miserable failure? Overall I was really pleased with how they decided to lean into the complete madness that exists in the Batman canon, all the while teasing the audience with false leads about characters and plots.
Kate: And with that final zoom on Weird Shadowy Cape Guy, we end the madness that is Gotham. Had this show not been canceled, this has potential to take it in a new direction. It almost felt like a backdoor pilot for Gotham: The New Generation. The show certainly strayed many times from its roots in the GCPD prior to Batman dropping in, but it always leaned into the idea of a city in chaos – – first slowly with the Gotham underworld (RIP Fish Mooney), and then really hard in this last season with the city cut off from the world. It at least set up the chaos that Gordon will have on his hands that will eventually prove to be out of his control. And the fact that it embraced this chaos and remained true to that identity is worth commending.
Elias: What a wild ride. While I half expected Fish Mooney to come back — we last saw her riding off into the sunset with B. D. Wong’s Hugo Strange, after all — really bringing this episode full circle, I’m kind of glad they didn’t. This last season was a whirlwind of plot points and twists that somehow managed to go way too slowly at first, overcompensate at the end, and leave us with this baffling final episode that also managed to rush 90% of its events and drag out the rest.Continued below
I’m glad it ended here and while this final episode makes me wonder what a full-season order might have looked like, it probably would’ve looked exactly the same, with maybe TWO episodes set in this “10 years later” time.
Kate: And quite frankly, one was enough.
Elias: God, too true. Still, I can’t say the series wasn’t fun and insane. I think what held the show back the most was its insistence on Jim Gordon ALWAYS being “Commissioner Gordon,” or at least always been framed and treated as that idealized version, instead of letting him face the consequences of the grays this show revelled in.
It really did come a long way from focusing on the Gotham underworld and the more “reasonable” portrayals of our favorite villains to letting go of the stuff procedural elements that held it back from realizing its true potential as the weirdest show on primetime. Ed, Oswald and Selina may be the best parts of the show to have survived all 5 seasons, aside from Donal Logue’s pitch perfect Harvey Bullock.
Kate: Donal Logue is a goddamn national treasure. How I shall miss him.
Elias: One last shout-out to the costume designers! Week-in and week-out, they MADE this show look the way it did and for all the problems Gotham had with its writing, tone, CGI-city, treatment of women, portrayal of mental illness, queer baiting but also not, the tease and betrayal that was Ben McKenzie’s moustache from hell. . .where was I going with this? OH! Right. Costumes. They killed it and I hope this is a boon to their resume.
Christa: Can’t say enough about how good the wardrobe was on this show, because without that talent it’d be unwatchable.
Wait, what am I saying? It’s already unwatchable. Like we were saying above, the show never finds its bearings, especially after the very memorable-to-me episode way back when in which Bruce telegraphs his emotional turmoil by holding out his hands as he’s struggling with the morality of shoving a dude out a window. It was doomed then, and it’s remained doomed to the bitter end.
Kate:I agree. By leaning hard into its insanity, it was a show that never had a strong identity. Or if it did, it lost it along the way.
Christa:There were good moments, for sure, and Ed and Oswald are pretty much it for me. The zaniness was there. Some of the seriousness was there. Some of the crime drama was there. But the show just could not decide what it wanted to be. Mixing so many tones, packing the cast full to bursting, shooting and editing the way they did … there was just no tension. And to have a good Batman, a good Gotham, you need tension. So, for me, it’s ultimately a shame. RIP, Gotham, and may you spawn nary a single spin-off.
Elias: Too late for that.
Christa: I can’t hear you, Elias. I’m burying my head in the sand.
Kate:Hey, I’m kind of on board for Pennyworth but I’m also a sucker for a period piece.
Elias: I had to put these lines here at the end because, oof, that burn.
Gordon: “How long have you been pretending to be brain dead?”
J: “Oh, I don’t know. How long have you?”
Christa: The shade of it all.
Kate:Well, here’s to the GCPD, Bruce, Alfred, Cobblepot, Nygma, and company. You may not have always been the easiest to watch, but you definitely made things interesting.