Five seasons following that fateful attack outside the Monarch Theatre, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle finally got the redemption they sought. The missed opportunities of their shared past – in this case, the shooting of Thomas and Martha Wayne – came full-circle to a satisfying conclusion. While they couldn’t go back in time to stop the deaths of Bruce’s parents, they relived that horror and made the choice they wished they could’ve accomplished those years before. “Ace Chemicals” provided the perfect conclusion, for both character development and plot, that long-time Gotham fans have been looking forward to since the series premiere.
Bruce and Selina were just children when they were in the alleyway during the shooting. Sure, they’re still young teens now, but they’ve changed so much since then: Bruce is no longer the sheltered billionaire and Selina is no longer the emotionally-distant petty criminal. They’ve experienced personal development and their friendship/relationship has changed as well. They would’ve done anything to go back and change what they didn’t do.
Gotham made this scene a clever throwback since it allowed Bruce and Selina to change the events of the past without forcing in a terrible time-traveling plot. The personal growth as the hero/anti-hero brought them to this pivotal point, and without the four and a half seasons of Gotham to build them up, their decisions now wouldn’t have made sense. Selina developed the compassion and connection to someone else to push her to step in and stop a crime while Bruce developed the courage to stand up to his enemies and face it head-on. I might be putting more thought into this than what was envisioned, but this is one of Gotham’s most powerful scenes and it should be recognized as important for the series overall.
Jeremiah’s fascination with Bruce Wayne dived deep into the depths of obsession. While Jerome saw Bruce as a plaything and a common spirit, Jeremiah’s determination to be an integral part of Bruce’s life can be traced to every criminal decision he made. During “Ace Chemicals,” it became clear that Jeremiah REALLY wanted to mean something to Bruce, and he made plans that would get him further to that goal. We all thought the tunnel would eventually be the escape plan to leave Gotham City, but it was about Bruce. It’s always about Bruce. And from all of Jeremiah’s past plans, this might be his most emotionally and mentally manipulative yet.
I called it during the last review that the two figures would look like Thomas and Martha Wayne. Beyond Selina, James Gordon, and Alfred, his parents were the two most important people in his life. Jeremiah wanted to inflict the most amount of pain possible to hurt Bruce and the best way possible would be with the two people who caused him the most hurt. When you throw in Mad Hatter’s hypnotism and Ecco’s behind-the-scenes planning, you have a great plan on your hands. Jeremiah’s plan would’ve worked if Selina had not arrived in time to stop the attack.
I’ll miss Wayne Manor as a set piece. The mansion served as a good spot for taking the action and drama away from the heart of Gotham City. Wayne Manor will come back in some form for the post-Gotham story, but with five episodes left in the series, it’s sad to see it go. No one could’ve stopped those explosions in time.
Jeremiah is currently incapacitated as a result of falling into the Ace Chemicals’ tub. However, there’s no way this will be the last we’ll see of him. His “loss of brain function” could be a red herring for him to wake up from his coma and strike as a badly injured criminal OR (and stay here with me for a moment), what if Jeremiah, Mad Hatter and Ecco concocted a similar plan where someone received plastic surgery to look like Jeremiah? It would be the ultimate red-herring for the man thrown into the pit to be someone else.
Why is James so quick to sweep his issues with Lee under the rug? Sure, he loves Lee, but she’s done as much bad stuff as Barbara and yet he treats her badly. With all that treatment, it’s understandable why Barbara doesn’t want James to be a part of her life. The doctor/patient storyline between Lee and Barbara is a turn of events that we should’ve seen coming. Gotham might be setting up a potential storyline where Barbara trusts Lee with the protection of her baby after she’s harmed somehow. Hopefully, that story doesn’t come to be.
Penguin, Riddler, and Barbara might be the right motley crew needed to build that submarine to get out of Gotham City. But a submarine, really?! Can’t they just work with James Gordon to get the government to agree to help the city? Strange plans like this will no doubt find a way to blow up in their faces.
“Ace Chemicals” brought back the past to create one of Gotham’s best character developments yet. The heroes are moving forward with their lives while the villains are moving forward with their plans to escape Gotham City. And with one of the Big Bads potentially out of commission, this might be their time to do so. However, nothing is ever as it seems on Gotham, including Jeremiah’s potential health state.