Season 5, Episode 12: “The Beginning…”
Directed by Rob Bailey
Written by John Stephens
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “They Did What?” – click here
Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) has gone away, in hopes of learning better how to protect the city he loves. He’s headed far off, to discover himself and become the Dark Knight. In the meantime, ten years passes.
Things have changed in Gotham City, and some things have remained the same.
Commissioner Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), sporting his moustache, along with Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are worried about someone “attacking the gangs” in downtown Gotham. Jim’s also decided to hang up his hat. Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind) does’t want that. Especially when Mr. Wayne is returning for the first time in a decade to see a new Wayne Tower opened. Jim’s staying long enough for that, then he’s gone. He and Barbara (Erin Richards) are raising their girl amicably. She’s busy building her own empire. At home, Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) lives her life with Jim, too. They’re all trying to move onward, upward.
At Arkham Asylum, Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) has been locked up for the past decade. He now finds out his buddy Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) is being released soon from Blackgate, which only makes him crazier. We also find Jeremiah Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) there. His condition has gotten pretty wretched. He’s “been a vegetable” since Ace Chemicals. He does have help. A familiarly-dressed nurse wheels him away when an alarm sounds. Surely it’s Ecco (Francesca Root-Dodson)?
Can’t forget about our Cat, Ms. Selina Kyle (Lili Simmons). She’s gotten even better at her gig. We watch her dart and squirm around a ton of security laser beams until she’s made it to a big, juicy blue diamond. She gets her hands on it, but something catches her eye. Has someone followed her?
Poor Harvey ends up in a bad spot when he goes to investigate a guard who didn’t show up for work when the escape at Arkham went down. The guard gets him at the end of a gun. He hands over a phone: “Talk to him.” And Dt. Bullock’s reaction says it all. We don’t hear what the person on the other end says, but the guard shoots himself in the head.
This sends Harvey right back to the GCPD, where he’s got to sit down in an interrogation room with Jim. He claims he killed the guard. Why? Is this all part of a bigger plot?
Nygma comes to with a bag over his head in a basement. He’s been left a note from Penguin, as well as some toys: C4 explosives. Speaking of Owald, he’s got himself a new eye, a monocle, and the signature look’s COMPLETE!
Jim’s taking a look around a warehouse with Dt. Harper (Kelcy Griffin). Someone’s lurking. Could it be him? COULD IT? Yes. We finally hear Bruce become Batman, using something to disguise his voice from the shadows. “I‘m not your enemy,” he tells the commissioner. He advises not to touch the bodies there, then tosses a smoke grenade and runs through the window. This leaves Harper and Jim confused, until they have the scene checked over and they see the bodies were rigged with C4. Now they know their mysterious figure’s trying to help. The worry is, the rest of the explosives might be headed for the new Wayne Tower.
In his car, Jim’s surprised by Penguin holding a gun on him. They head for the docks. This could be the end. Except Jim dives for the water, swimming off hopefully before he’s filled with bullets.
At the big Wayne gala, Selina talks to Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). She wants Bruce to stop watching her, she knows it’s him. Alfred believes they need to speak in person, yet what Bruce did is enough to keep her angry. Then she notices Nygma, which prompts suspicion. She lets Barb know. The redheaded mama knocks the Riddler out and Commissioner Gordon has the place evacuated. It wasn’t Penguin who broke his buddy Nygma out. There’s someone else pulling strings, and there’s still a ton of C4 ready to destroy Wayne Tower.
Jim and Lee, with help from Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), are able to defuse the bomb just in the nick of time without blowing themselves up. This doesn’t mean everything’s okay. They notice, in the model of Gotham at the tower, there’s a model of the old clock tower. Why? Another clue.
On top of that, Harvey’s being moved to Blackgate. This sends Jim off to save his friend. In the process, he asks Bullock if the one behind everything is Jeremiah, and when he says the man’s name out loud it nearly gets them killed— the cop escorting Harvey has a mic on him. You see, Jeremiah’s been pretending. He’s been sitting there, near catatonic, letting people stab and cut him all these years. He’s fully aware. He’s been plotting.
Alfred and Lucius know what Bruce is up to as the Dark Knight. They’re choosing “to serve” rather than let anyone else in on the secret. Around Gotham, the criminals are being rounded up already. Penguin and Riddler get strung up from a light pole, tied and prepared for cops to pick up like we’ve seen so often in the movies and the comics. Things are getting scarier elsewhere. The Joker and Ecco find their way to the Siren’s Club. Little Barbara attacks the Joker, trying to stop them. He puts a bullet in Barb’s knee (thankfully he didn’t paralyse her like in The Killing Joke) then takes the little girl with him after finishing off a wounded Ecco.
Jim goes to Ace Chemicals. He meets the Joker, who’s hanging his daughter over a vat of that bubbling green liquid. A great bit of dialogue here when Gordon asks Jeremiah what he’d like to be called. A hilarious, deadpan delivery from Joker gives us a dark laugh during this exchange:
Jim: How long have you been pretending to be brain dead?
Joker: How long have you been pretending?
That’s a joke— I know you’re not pretending.
Commissioner Gordon realises that Joker’s been waiting for Bruce to come home. The supervillain feels connected to him. He’s lost without the light to his darkness. When he drops Little Barbara, Jim rushes to grab her. Then, the Joker’s confronted with his long lost other half. The Dark Knight’s come to help save Jim and his daughter, though, typically, he leaves without every really being seen. Such is the relationship between Gordon and Batman.
Gotham has, indeed, changed. Maybe for the better. At least in certain ways. The supervillains all have to deal with the new Caped Crusader leaping across the tops of buildings, flying in the night, and it’s going to cramp their style.
“Hidden in the darkness,
there will be light.”
FANTASTIC SERIES FINALE! Maybe it’s not what everybody wanted. But it’s exactly what Father Gore was hoping to see.
The way they never showed Mazouz, only used his voice for Batman ten years later, was a stroke of genius, especially considering they needed to age Selina, too. The scene at the end between Batman and Catwoman was a great little piece to add. A slightly sweet but also antagonistic relationship being built, one that’s always present in the best of their encounters throughout any medium.
Funny, how the end of the series Gotham is the literal beginning of the story we all know from the comics. It’ll be great to return to the whole series again soon. What a wild ride.