The unthinkable has happened: Gotham City has fallen. The sprawling dark metropolis fell to the power of the villains during the season finale of Gotham. After years of the villains slowly gaining their control, all it took was a partnership between Ra’s al Ghul and the Joker (i.e. Jeremiah) to turn the tide and overthrow the city. Due to this storyline, Gotham has essentially been rebooted for its fifth and final season. And if we’re being upfront, this move could be what brings new life to the series.
A big focus for “A Dark Knight: No Man’s Land” was pushing Bruce in the direction toward who he’s supposed to become. Ra’s al Ghul consistently called Bruce his heir, and after he experienced the vision of the future, he saw the path that was worthy of Bruce. We, of course, know that his future will be Batman, but he doesn’t. Ra’s al Ghul wanted to turn Bruce into the Dark Knight – all of his speeches and wording hinted at this persona. Jeremiah, on the other hand, simply wanted to rebuild Gotham and have his best friend by his side. Their two roads converged together due to a common goal. After four years of watching Gotham, Bruce needs to start his next phase of becoming Batman; we agree with Jeremiah and Ra’s al Ghul that he needs to get a move on.
Bruce looked ready to assume the mantle when he stood with James Gordon at the GCPD light. (Side-note: Did anyone else smile seeing the first version of the Bat-Signal? The reasoning was a stretch, but the appearance was worth it.) After all the trouble that had amassed the hours before, like him killing Ra’s al Ghul again and Alfred leaving town to watch over a potentially paralyzed Selina, Bruce Wayne had been pushed over the edge. He’s going to do whatever it takes to clean up the town and stop all the villains who emerged from the darkness.
For super-fans of the Batman series, you probably spotted a few new villains who weren’t on Gotham before. In particular, a glimpse of ManBat was featured, as well as Mother and Orphan. With a couple of our favorite villains leaving town or left in limbo, the spots are open for enemies we haven’t seen before to make an appearance during the 13-episode final season. Scarecrow, Firefly and Mr. Freeze claimed their territory, and some of the others who have been MIA, like Poison Ivy, will surely return.
Speaking of villains leaving, are you sad that Solomon Grundy is dead? Penguin spent a lot of time tracking down Hugo Strange and helping Tabitha turn Solomon Grundy back into Butch Gilzean, only for him to shoot his former friend in the chest. Say what you will about Penguin, but he’s been holding onto that grudge against Tabitha for two seasons now. He played the long game and he won. So, Butch is dead. The character never stood out as one of the better villains on Gotham, but he had a light-hearted attitude to him. It’s sad to see him officially go, especially since he was on Gotham since the beginning.
When it came to Lee and The Riddler, there’s no way these characters are going to die. If we had to make a guess, Hugo Strange is going to do something diabolical to them – more so to Lee, since her character already made a bigger departure from the comic books than Edward. When it comes to their relationship, Edward makes a bad decision in how he approaches Lee’s offer to leave town. Will their relationship last? Probably not. She gives him an out to be together, but their paranoid villainous ways ruin any chance at freedom. (Seriously, they stabbed each other!) And she’s still hooked on James Gordon, so that mark will be against them. If they ride off into the sunset by the series finale, that will be a miracle.
Barbara Kean made the right call in siding against Ra’s al Ghul. The League of Assassins leader barely treated Barbara with respect and he only wanted something from her; we can’t forget that he was willing to kill her to get the Demon’s Head the last time. So, when he offered her the chance to leave Gotham City together, it’s understandable why she didn’t trust him. Plus, he lied about her past life to minimize her impact on his life. Barbara does not need someone like that in her life; she is a queen and can rule with a zombie king.
With Gotham City under martial law, it will mean Gotham will change completely for season five. James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Lucius Fox and a handful of cops are on their own to take back the city; the government has practically abandoned them. When the Major comes in to handle the bomb situation, it’s frustrating to see him dismiss all of James’ warnings and advice. No one comes to help Gotham City before Jeremiah’s threats and the town has to deal with the super-villains all on their own. The Major has no experience, so he should’ve listened to James much earlier. Now the villains have taken over and countless people are going to die.
“A Dark Knight: No Man’s Land” is a great set-up for what could be a thrilling final season. The characters are set up for a war that will span the city, and the landscape has changed to be more like the comic books where the criminals have clearly marked territories they control. Finally, Bruce Wayne is on his journey to become Batman. This is the story we’ve all been waiting for. Who will survive? Who will come back? I can’t wait to find out.