Gotham City has fallen, and it’s looking like the city doesn’t have too many days left before the villains achieve complete control. Gotham’s season five premiere picked up 87 days after Jeremiah successfully established martial law in the complicated metropolis. Most villains from Batman’s rogues gallery conquered territories, the Gotham City Police Department defended as much as they could, and the citizens were caught in the middle. The new Gotham City was very reminiscent of Arkham City, the villain-run setting in the Batman video games. I loved every minute of this new scenario.
“Year Zero”felt very much like a reboot. Instead of James Gordon and Harvey Bullock only working to solve a crime in the bustling city, that dynamic was elevated to also give the villains the upper hand at supervillain territory. We haven’t had the villains in city-wide control since Gotham’s second season and they each have their own band of acolytes following them.
In fact, this new grandiose mentality affected every single one of the foes in their words, actions, and presence. Penguin was more magnanimous, Barbara was more vengeful, Scarecrow was scarier, and Riddler’s insanity kicked up a notch. Even James’ leadership qualities and Bruce Wayne’s mysteriousness came out in full force. For years, we’ve asked for more and now we got it.
The main story of “Year Zero” focused on the different factions fighting over food supplies. Within a city of depleting resources, this challenge would naturally be an issue that would come up and affect the living quality. I’m glad that Gotham didn’t bypass these conflicts because they add more depth to the situation that the characters live in. They might have running water, some electricity, and apparently hair stylists (James’ hair looked so trim and neat after 87 days in chaos), but they all are most likely tired and hungry. That issue would push them even further to the brink.
When the main group all converged at the fallen supply helicopter, I was excited to see how they would react. Food meant power in Gotham City, and someone would be walking away with a huge cache of control; a fight would no doubt start. Gotham did not skimp out on the action and bloodshed for its final season. Bodies fell one after the other over food and alliances were put to the test. However, the biggest surprise of the night was the main cast casualty: Tabitha, aka Tigress.
Saying I was shocked would be an understatement to the sheer gobsmacked expression on my face. Tabitha joined Gotham during the second season and she’s been a mainstay character in Barbara, Butch, Selina, and Penguin’s stories. Seeing the character killed off is a loss because we’re losing her great loving dynamic with Selina and Barbara. But, on the plus side, we now have the catalyst for the war between Barbara and Penguin. Erin Richards looked positively furious in her portrayal of Barbara Kean over Tabitha’s death–she sent major shivers. A bloody battle will commence and it will be glorious.
Another performance that pulled on the heartstrings was Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle. Picking up from Gotham’s season four finale, we learned that she survived Jeremiah’s gunshot wound and ended up paralyzed. Gotham took an interesting approach with her character development from being the rebellious criminal-turned-anti-hero to become someone depressed and suicidal. You could feel the heartbreak she felt every day stuck to the bed, as well as Bruce’s sadness seeing the person he cared about in pain.
Camren did a great job capturing the shift in the character and the emotional void she had. Hopefully, Bruce and Selina will overcome this trauma. Selina’s revelation by tying her injury to Bruce could be a bad slippery slope. He’s bringing her to “The Witch” to reverse the accident, but emotional scars might not heal so easily. We can’t end Gotham with Batman and Catwoman at odds.
What is going on with Edward Nygma? Whatever Hugo Strange did to him after the fight with Lee must’ve altered his mental state or body chemistry. The Riddler didn’t make a grand return yet as a result of the mystery–we need the riddle maker to come back and show his evil presence.
“Year Zero” set the tone for where Gotham is going for their final season with a bang. There’s no time for small henchmen or empty threats. Gotham City is at war and the villains/heroes are here to slay. We lost a good villain, but plenty of equally interesting pieces were thrown into the air. Who is The Witch? What could Ecco’s return at the GCPD mean? What did Edward do during his blackouts? Will Barbara kill Penguin? I can’t wait to see how this turns out.