Gotham 5×04 Review: “Ruin”

Gotham’s search for the bomber ended in a fizzle instead of a bang. After Haven went up in flames during the third episode, the mystery of who caused the explosion was on everyone’s lips. Penguin seemed like an obvious threat since his lackeys stormed the place because of his temper tantrum. But that would’ve been too easy of a solution, so his name got removed early on. Instead of a satisfying conclusion, we ended up with filler that seemingly created more questions, but gave no answers.

We called out Oswald’s inconsistencies during last week’s Gotham review, and this time he proved it yet again with his decisions. After spending an entire episode hating James Gordon and then needing him, the Penguin followed the same path this week but in reverse. To clarify, he started the hour by making a partnership with James Gordon before turning on him as a villain. Gotham has a bad habit of retreading the same plot over and over to death. I wouldn’t be surprised if next week Oswald becomes an ally again. Gotham needs to decide Oswald’s progression and stick to it: is he a villain to the GCPD or is he an anti-hero?

When Victor Zsasz was initially thought to be the bomber, I knew it had to be a red herring. Victor doesn’t perform any attacks without a clear purpose or client in mind. Plus, if he had tried to kill Oswald, he would’ve succeeded in his plan. Gotham seemed to have realized this too by quickly clearing his name and making it obvious that he didn’t do it. Unfortunately, this leads to the second thing that Gotham tends to do over and over again: shifting public opinion.


Wasn’t it just last week that people were afraid of Penguin and flocking to James because they trusted him more? The people of Gotham City apparently suffered mass amnesia to forget EVERYTHING bad that Oswald did to them. Sure, a bomber attacked their supposed refuge, but it wasn’t James’ fault. On one hand, you have one person (James) who is trying to help people, give them hope and supplies, and bring them safety while the other (Oswald) is a criminal, kills people if they cross him, and runs the town like a tyrant.

I wish I could say I was surprised that people sided with an obvious villain, but they do this so often that it’s become part of their character development. The super-villains and thugs of Gotham City get regarded as the bad guys; however, the citizens aren’t as squeaky clean either. Each one was ready to see Zsasz die merely because they wanted someone to suffer for their loss. For as much as the city needs redemption, maybe the townsfolk aren’t deserving of the help James and the GCPD are trying to give them?

Edward “The Riddler” Nygma was revealed as the true bomber of Haven, but the impact of this revelation fell flat. Why did he do it? We’ll never know. With the character still suffering from amnesia, we’re left to shrug our shoulders and make an excuse that his evil side did it because … he’s evil? Hopefully, Edward gets control of his mind again because the interest in this secret life is wearing thin.


One positive thing that came from the bombing plot is the reunion of James Gordon and Barbara Kean’s love affair. We discussed last week how this couple needed to get back together and how the early sparks of their romance were reforming. Well, positive thoughts into the universe paid off! The characters sizzled with their kissing at the end of the hour. Based on the Batman source material, we know that the daughter of Barbara Kean and James Gordon will eventually become Batgirl. So, will this tryst be the moment that starts this origin story?

Speaking of romances, Jeremiah has returned and he’s giving us full Joker and Harley Quinn romantic vibes with Ecco. When he pulled her into a dance, you could feel the chemistry between them: him with his manipulative interest and her with her undying obsessive love. This moment brought back a lot of the nostalgia from the comics and the animated TV series. It’s a shame that we had to wait four seasons to get to this moment.


Jeremiah’s “death” felt a tad rushed. Selina easily swept into the construction area to stab Jeremiah to death multiple times without anyone noticing or stopping her. For a big moment like this on Gotham, there should’ve been more of a climactic moment for Selina, Bruce, and Alfred. So with that in mind, I think this could be a red herring. Either Jeremiah survived the attack or something could be coming up for the return of the next Joker-like character. We can’t lose the character this early on into Gotham’s final season.


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