Gotham 5×09 Review: “The Trial of Jim Gordon”

James Gordon had a lot to answer to in Gotham’s court of public opinion. But in the case of “The Trial of Jim Gordon,” the entire legal facade dealt with his inner demons. There’s something about alternate psychological realities that greatly improve the quality of a character. Instead of spending a few episodes for the character to work out their baggage, they get it done with a mind-bending trip in under an hour. The show doesn’t waste their time and we get to move forward. Overall, this increased pacing benefited Gotham and brought the show where it needed to be with only three episodes left.

For the trial itself, Gotham missed a big opportunity to bring back Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face). How could they do a courtroom scene and not use their future legal super villain? It’s blasphemy! Sure, the trial focused on James’ self-sabotage and being his own prosecutor supported that theme, but the effect would’ve still landed its mark if Harvey were the prosecutor. In fact, the return of Two-Face would’ve been a great nod to Gotham fans since he hadn’t been seen since season two.

“The Trial of Jim Gordon” would’ve also benefited with more surprise cameos from the dead. There’s no better time to bring back forgotten and unseen characters than in fever dreams. Professor Pyg, Scarecrow, and the Owl Court all returned to James’ “wake,” but more characters could’ve been brought back. There’s no way that all of the same actors returned just for a quick scene. Their costumes were most likely used by extras. Gotham accumulated a long list of villainous costumes over the years, so that room and jury box could’ve been filled with the faces of past foes to heighten the impact of James’ trial.

On the other hand, congrats to James for working through his baggage. He took the lesson by the horns and married Lee, which had been a long-time coming. Like, several seasons of Gotham in the making to get here. Arguably, his connection with Barbara Kean is stronger and they have such fire, but if Lee is his endgame, it’s a great development for him to achieve his happy ending.

Jeff Neumann/FOX

His issues with Barbara, however, will only get worse from here. She truly tried to be good for him and she made big moves to help the city to prove to James that she changed. No one else was able to rein in the gangs of Gotham City except for Barbara, who deserves a lot of credit for her leadership and control. Still, nothing could break up Lee and James. Barbara is angry right now and she might do something reckless. Hopefully, Penguin doesn’t push her to do something she’ll regret this close to the birth of her child.

Bruce and Selina’s relationship moved the dial a few more steps in the right direction, too. The surprise date was a touching move on his part. You could tell that he was way more into the romance than she was.  But, as reluctant as Selina was, she loved the romantic gestures too. And, when push comes to shove, she’ll save Bruce from danger because she cares about him, too.

Despite the sweet moments, her anger at Bruce for wanting to leave Gotham City made no sense. Didn’t she plot with Penguin a few weeks back to leave the city in a submarine? Selina planned to escape Gotham City and never look back, possibly even leaving Bruce behind to reach the mainland. Her recent change of heart should’ve completely erased the memory of her past decision. When she chastised him for wanting the same, her position came across as hypocritical and too convenient. Her stance is a small error, but consistency is key for a seamless narrative.

Jeff Neumann/FOX

I loved the return of Poison Ivy! Within a matter of minutes, she had all the key players wrapped around her fingers and nearly achieved her goals. Say what you will about the character, but she gets things done. What made “The Trial of Jim Gordon” impactful was that every plot within the episode tied back to Ivy’s layered plan. She didn’t have a one-way path to success, but her plan required several people to be affected and involved. When the pieces finally came together, it created an interesting web.


Poison Ivy should put Victor Zsasz under her control more often. The assassin is naturally a funny character, but in his hypnotized state, he made his comedic one-liners an art form. Throughout his standoffs with the GCPD and Harvey Bullock, he relished in letting the world know that he loved Poison Ivy. That type of happiness was infectious to the tone of his scenes. We need more of that type of light-hearted humor from him.

“The Trial of Jim Gordon” moved us further into the future toward a Gotham City that might change everything post-series. Will the city be saved or will it ultimately fall? That’s remains to be seen. However, with another flash-forward, the progression is moving along nicely as we head into Gotham’s final three episodes.


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