Last time we were in Gotham Jeremiah was trying to give everyone the worst day by turning the city into his personal hellscape. When that plan failed thanks to Jim and Harvey, he settled for just giving Bruce the worst day by shooting Selina point blank in the stomach.
The episode picks up right where the last one left off. Selina is rushed to the hospital, Bruce right there by her side as she’s taken into surgery. Just before they’re forced apart, Bruce promises Selina he isn’t going to leave. Alfred meanwhile took Jeremiah to the GCPD, but he’s wondering why he didn’t kill him himself. From the way the cops are eyeing Jeremiah, their thoughts are along the same lines.
Jeremiah isn’t too concerned he’s behind bars. He must know we’re less than ten minutes into the episode. He asks to speak with Bruce, but Jim already made that mistake with Jerome. He’s not putting Bruce in harm’s way again. Jeremiah taunts Jim with the suggestion there are more bombs hidden in the city. The GCPD rounded up the bombs they knew about and have them locked up at the precinct. There’s no way to know if Jeremiah is bluffing or not.
Elsewhere in the city, it turns out Oswald not only knew where Hugo Strange was, but the good doctor was close by because he’s already part way through Butch’s procedure when we catch up with them. Tabitha is there when she gets a call about Selina. You can add her name to the list of people who want Jeremiah dead. Unlike everyone at the GCPD she actually heads out to do it.
Meanwhile, the Mayor and his team are trying to get some order back to the city. It doesn’t work out too well for them. One of them spots Ra’s standing on a roof across the street just before the bomb in their building goes off.
With the Mayor dead and the threat of more bombs hanging over the city, the army swoops in, enforcing Marshal Law. The first order from the Major in charge? Bring Bruce Wayne to the GCPD to talk to Jeremiah. Jim’s attempts to stop them gets him arrested and ordered out of the city. He doesn’t get too far because the Riddler turns up to kidnap him. Jim’s ‘holding Lee back’ in the Riddler’s own words. Naturally, the Riddler wants to kill him in a painful and elaborate way. The exaggerated choice of murder this week is a hydraulic press.
Ra’s Al Ghul shows up the Siren’s Club. Turns out he does want Barbara by his side, never mind he tried to kill her. He’s also been having performance issues with the demon’s head power. Some of it might have remained with Barbara. Ra’s offers her a place to rule the League with him. She just has to join him when he takes his leave from Gotham later that night.
Bruce and Alfred in the meantime have been dragged from the hospital to the GCPD. Once Bruce is in the room with Jeremiah the taunting starts. Jeremiah realized his vision for a new Gotham was never meant for just him. Someone showed him Gotham’s destruction would be Bruce’s rebirth. Bruce demands to know who that someone was, but he already knows.
The power goes out, and sure enough, Bruce and Jeremiah are gone by the time Harvey and Alfred get in the room. They aren’t the only things missing. All the bombs vanished with them.
In the Narrows, Lee finds the Riddler. She’s insulted he thinks she’d let someone like Jim Gordon hold her back from her potential. Last time she checked she ruled the Narrows and actually made it a liveable, functional place. Her work in Gotham is done, and she’s ready to leave. She offers the Riddler the chance to come with her. Gloating that he’s won, the Riddler lets Jim go. Once the Riddler isn’t around Lee and Jim have a moment of reconciliation. They still care, but they’re both too far gone from the people they used to be.
At the Siren’s club, Tabitha is pissed at Jeremiah, Barbara is pissed at Ra’s, and Alfred shows up, pissed Bruce got kidnapped again. They plan to take them out together. Oswald isn’t going to be left out of this party. Mostly because Butch made him.
Having escaped with the help of League of Shadows, Jeremiah takes Bruce to Ra’s to a spot they can watch the destruction of Gotham together. The rest of Ra’s men are getting the bombs into place. They both give Bruce their own versions of ‘this is all to better him’ speech.
Barbara makes her appearance then. Ra’s thinks she’s accepting his offer, but she has her own plans that involve stabbing him with the sacred dagger that can kill him. Ra’s points out that Bruce is the only one who can kill him with the dagger and she’s outnumbered. He’s right about one of those things. Tabitha, Oswald, Alfred and the rest of their crews come in guns blazing.
Barbara and Alfred go after Ra’s together. Tabitha is gunning for Jeremiah, ready to make him pay for what he did to Selina. Jeremiah gets the upper hand, but Tabitha is saved by Oswald, of all people. Barbara kills Ra’s with Bruce’s help. By help I mean she grabbed his hand and made him stab Ra’s with her. As he crumples to dust he leaves Bruce with one last time with the prophecy he’ll become the dark knight Gotham needs.
At the GCPD Jim and others put it together the targets are the bridges. Jim orders the evacuation stopped, or everyone on those bridges is going to die. He’s about to get arrested again, but Harvey has his back. And the rest of the GCPD has their backs. Jim gives the order to clear the bridges. They save the people, but the bridges still fall. Everyone watches as their city falls into chaos.
The evacuation is forced to resort to boats. Among the people being shipped out is Selina. She’s alive, but the very thing I was most scared of happening happened. She’s paralyzed. There’s space for Bruce on the ambulance with her, but he isn’t going to take it. He has Alfred go with Selina, so he’ll know she’s safe.
With everywhere in the city in havoc, Lee can’t leave the Narrows. Now they’ll need her more than ever. The Riddler realizes she never meant to leave. At least not with him. He comes up behind her, knife drawn behind his back. Lee beats him to the punch. Or rather, beats him to stab. The Riddler doesn’t go without taking Lee with him. He stabs her with the same knife she stabbed him with. They have one final kiss before their bodies fall to the ground like a twisted version of Romeo and Juliet. It’s official; these two have the most messed up relationship in all of Gotham. That’s saying something for this city.
The bloody romance this episode doesn’t end there. Strange’s procedure worked. Butch is back to his normal human looking, beating heart self. He and Tabitha share a sweet moment and exchange ‘I love you’s. And because it’s television drama the fact that everyone is this happy means something bad is about to happen.
Oswald shoots Butch seconds after Butch thanked him. Oswald has been playing the longest of long cons. Everything he did to help Butch was all to rip the person Tabitha cared about the most. Just like she did to him when she killed his mother.
With the city all but empty it leaves the perfect opportunity for the underworld to run amuck, claiming new territory. Oswald is taking the best pickings for himself. We can’t count out the Riddler and Lee just yet because Oswald asks Strange to ‘fix them.’ Mr. Freeze and Firefly are each carving out their own turf.
At the Siren’s Club, the men of the League finally realize Barbara’s the person they should be following. Tabitha returns, injured and still reeling from Butch’s death. Barbara’s had enough of the corruption in this city, something she links back to one source. The men. She decides the Siren’s Club is going to have ladies night, every night. The cover charge for men? Their lives.
But they aren’t the only ones in the city. Bruce is there, looking for Jeremiah, kicking ass along the way. Jim’s still there, and so are Harvey, Fox and a dozen or so more people ready to stand with him. Jim warns they have a fight ahead of them.
He doesn’t know how right he is. This reckoning has brought some new players onto the board. Like, Manbat? Mother and Orphan?
In the darkness of the city, Jim shines a beacon into the night. In the first of what’s sure to become many instances, Bruce answers the signal. As they stand together, looking out at their city Bruce remembers Jim’s words to him when they first met. However dark it is now, there will be light.
Gotham Delivers a Fierce and Fun Finale.
An intense ride from start to finish is just what I’d expect from a Gotham season finale. No Man’s Land didn’t disappoint. The episode lay the way forward for the next season while bringing together everyone for a showdown. It also packed some twists that were genuinely engaging. Lee and Ed killing each other was a compelling end to their twisted romance. I am glad Gotham carries on its tradition of having so few characters stay dead for long. Who knows what Hugo will do to them? Butch might not stay dead either. He is Solomon Grundy after all. But even if he does return, Oswald killing him to get back at Tabitha for his mother was amazing. It’s easy to forget Gotham is filled with villains and Oswald has been one of its most convincing. That scene was a brilliant reminder of how ruthless he can be.
Speaking of villains, Gotham’s streets are about to get a few more. Manbat is nowhere near the top of the list of Batman rouge’s I would have guessed could appear on Gotham. I would have said Condiment King before Manbat. But with each season Gotham has gotten closer in tone to its comic origins. What was a laughable fantasy in the pilot, is now very real and very much part of the world.
Not everything was great. Namely, Selina being paralyzed. Why was this the thing they had to take from The Killing Joke? I hope going forward they treat the storyline with respect it deserves and this moves Selina character forward. While I do hope she walks again, I also hope they don’t dues ex machina her recovery like another DC show did (I’m looking at you Arrow). Another beat that fell flat was Ra’s trying to win Barbara back. I’m glad it wasn’t even a question for her that she wasn’t going with him. Barbara has proven herself to be worth so much more, especially this past season.
Looking back on the season as a whole, it’s been disjointed, to say the least. It started off strong enough with its focus on the Pyg and Sofia. But the back of the season shifted gears so many times it’s hard to figure out where some of those plotlines were going. Sofia set herself up as Queen only to be immediately be taken down. But she didn’t die and with the city evacuated, who knows where she ended up.
Another plotline that just wilted away was Ivy’s. She ran havoc for a few episodes only to vanish without a peep. At least she helped break Bruce out of his party boy phase, even if that was fun to watch. The final moments of this episode was the perfect opportunity for her to return in a cameo appearance like Mr. Freeze, Firefly, and Scarecrow. Jarvis Tetch was also missing from the chaos.
Ra’s return in the end really helped to strengthened Barbara’s growth, but it didn’t do much else. I know Ra’s entire shtick is coming back to life, but I felt like he wasn’t used as well as he could have been. Especially when he didn’t add much to Jeremiah’s plan that Jeremiah couldn’t have done on his own.
Meanwhile, the attention on the Valeska twins brought back focus to the narrative in the final episodes, and those episodes were the strongest in the back half of the season. Jeremiah’s chaos will no doubt continue next season.
Gotham returns in the fall with its fifth and final season, promising to show Bruce’s final journey to becoming the Batman.