Season 5, Episode 1: “Year Zero”
Directed by Danny Cannon
Written by John Stephens
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 finale, “No Man’s Land” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Trespassers” – click here
We’re back in the City of Gotham, on the 391st day of No Man’s Land. The city’s not quite like it was once. Things are more divided than ever. The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) are each ready with weapons to hit the streets, as are Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue)— they’re on the same side right now after all. Told you things have changed.
Jump back to Day 87. Gotham was declared “off limits.” The city’s been turned upside down. The Penguin was running City Hall after getting his mitts on the majority of the ammunition supplies and weaponry. Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) has things locked down tight with Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) in their end of town, running the Sirens Club and the whole area as “women only” with men allowed to buy a bit of time inside. Scarecrow (David W. Thompson) and his creepy crew run another area of the city. And as for Jeremiah Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), nobody’s seen him for ages.
Meanwhile the rest of the country’s left Gotham to its own devices.
Then there’s poor Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), whose injury has left her spine in a mess. Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is trying to help her by getting a surgeon to work on her, but her spirit’s been shattered. Are we going to see a version of Oracle using Selina? Or is there something else in store for her?
Gordon, Bullock, and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) have plenty of people to feed, not knowing if the federal government will ever come to save them. The captain tries to assure his friends things will be okay. But they all know the villains are out there, biding their time.
“You win, or you die.”
Speaking of the villains, some of them aren’t in such great shape at the beginning of this No Man’s Land Gotham. Such as the Riddler, experiencing more and more dissociation between himself and his alternate personality. He loses time, like a narcoleptic, waking up in strange places and not knowing how he got there.
Scarecrow’s got big plans. He and his people infiltrate the GCPD’s gates, shutting down power to their HQ. They try to rob the supplies Jim and Bruce have been stockpiling to keep them/their people going, but they didn’t anticipate the Dark Knight and his night vision capabilities courtesy of Mr. Fox. However, the power comes back on, temporarily blinding Bruce, and it gives the Scarecrow gang time to flee.
The young billionaire’s mostly concerned for Selina, worrying about her pain. He’s having supplies flown in covertly via his and Alfred’s (Sean Pertwee) connections. This doesn’t change the fact Selina will “never walk again.” She’s also begun to resent Bruce a little, for effectively being the reason she was injured so irreparably. The Dark Knight’s discovering, in his crime fighting infancy, how being a face, instead of a symbol, allows your enemies to torture you in unimaginable ways through your loved ones.
When the chopper comes with supplies later it’s shot down in the streets. Vultures are already swarming the downed craft, though Penguin quickly arrives to scoop up whatever he’s able to nab. He comes face to face with Jim and the GCPD, as Bruce sneaks in from the back. Who exactly shot the chopper down if it wasn’t Cobblepot? Out of nowhere, Tabitha pokes the Penguin’s men full of holes. She takes him hostage by gun in front of everybody, planning to murder him for what he did to Butch. Only when she pulls the trigger, the bullet fizzles out, and so he stabs her in the heart, ending their feud. Barbara makes it there in time to watch her close friend die, which drives her mad, sending the bullets flying in all directions.
Penguin gets Barbara at the end of the gun, trying to work out a truce after all they’ve gone through together. She won’t have any of it. So, Cpt. Gordon, unable to stop feeling for his former lover, steps out to try making his own truce with Cobblepot over the chopper’s supplies. Penguin underestimates the GCPD, who’ve got more ammo thanks to Bruce, and he even takes a bullet in the leg from his old pal Jim to seal the deal.
Who is the woman with the strange mask at the GCPD? Her name is Ecco (Francesca Root-Dodson). She also wears very Harley Quinn-like colours. She slips out before Gordon can see her. He gets a call from “a friend” across the river from Gotham City. No telling who it is, not yet. Although Jim gets a sense there’s an unsettling presence nearby. He sees what Ecco’s left for him— a pair of eyes on his map of the city, along with a red bunch of HAHA!s in a smile. Father Gore would bet money on Ecco being a Harley character, given Gotham won’t call Jeremiah the Joker (that name’s reserved for DC movies). Especially seeing how she looks in the trailer, painted face + colourful clothes and all. There IS a DC Comics character called Echo actually tied to the No Man’s Land arc (her 1st appearance was in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight— Season 5’s subtitle), though the name Echo’s been used by various people at different times in DC and it could easily be just another way to keep things in league with the comics while also sneaking Harley in there.
Selina’s contemplating suicide. She’s stopped by the nurse and doctor before Bruce gets there. He realises the deeper pain than the physical one in her spine. The weird nurse there keeps speaking of “the witch” being Ms. Kyle’s only chance now. And it looks like young Mr. Wayne is starting to believe her.
At the GCPD, an officer brings a child who wandered through various sectors in the city to bring a message for Cpt. Gordon. The boy says someone is killing him and his people. There are dark, devastating things happening around Gotham, and even without the U.S. government, Jim is determined to save his city and those within it, at any cost.
Solid opener for this final season! Hate to see Gotham go, because it feels like every season the series picks up steam. All the same, Season 5 is shaping up to be interesting, and it’ll hopefully finish things on a strong note.
“Trespassers” is next.