I have no good excuses. I literally forgot to recap the Gotham finale. And now I’m trying to make things right after dropping the ball right at the end there. And now it’s time for… “The Beginning”.
We open with Bruce on his plane. He’s got a passport and a letter to Alfred. We see him next in what I assume is Nepal because they’re trying to make it look like Batman Begins.
TEN YEARS LATER
Gordon has a mustache! He and Bullock are talking to Mayor Richard Kind about a brewing gang war and we also learn that Gordon is planning to resign. How did Richard Kind get re-elected? Anyway, he needs Gordon to stay on through the dedication of the new Wayne Tower. The Mayor leaves and the two guys talk about Bruce Wayne coming back. Gordon goes to see his daughter, and she’s super cute. Barbara has red hair now and I almost can’t deal with it. Barbara jokes about how she’s building a building taller than Wayne Tower and then makes fun of Gordon’s mustache. She seems… good. She’s definitely doing legitimate business now.
Over in Arkham Asylum, Riddler won’t stop talking about Bruce Wayne and how they saved Gotham together. Then he sees a newspaper and finds out Penguin is being released from Blackgate. He’s upset because there’s no release date for Riddler. Like somebody’s getting cured in Arkham. Then he stops somebody from poking at Jeremiah – he’s still unresponsive and Riddler drives a scalpel into Jeremiah’s leg to make that point. That triggers an alarm and a couple of guards put a bag over Riddler’s head and take him somewhere. A nurse wheels Jeremiah away.
At night, Lee checks in on a sleeping Barbara Jr., and then finds Gordon shaved his mustache. Man, Barbara got to him. It seems their marriage is healthy and happy and they’re supporting one another. Man, the years have been kind to the good guys. Lee mentions Selina and then we see somebody in Catwoman-esque suit pulling off a museum heist. Give me people dodging a security array and I’m a happy man. She pulls off her mask and they did a good job of casting an actress who looks like Selina Kyle ten years later. Anyway, just as she lays a hand on a big diamond, she hears a swooping sound. It throws her off, but she takes the diamond and sneaks out.
At GCPD, Harper lets Bullock know that Ed escaped from Arkham. Bullock goes to check out one of the guards, a guy who missed work that day. He breaks into the guy’s house, only to get pistolwhipped. The guy insists that Bullock “talk to him” and gives him a cell phone. Whoever is on the other end terrifies Bullock, and the guard screams “Do you understand?” before shooting himself in the head.
Later, Gordon questions Bullock in the interrogation room. He wants to know what happened and Bullock straight up lies and says he shot the guard. He’s confessing to shooting an unarmed civilian rather than tell Gordon what he heard. Gordon’s not buying it and tries to talk some sense into the guy. So Gordon heads out to the squad room and says anybody who doesn’t believe Bullock is innocent can leave. Nobody leaves. He puts out an APB on Riddler. Speaking of, Ed wakes up in a room lit with blinking neon and finds an envelope waiting for him. Inside is a letter from a “dear friend” telling him to remind Gotham who the Riddler is. The letter is purportedly from Oswald and also he left behind a lot of explosives for Ed to use.
At that moment, Penguin is getting ready to leave Blackgate. His eye looks better now, but he has a monocle and he wears a small top hat because it’s the dang finale and we’re going to get him in his Penguin clothes. There are reporters waiting for him and he says only that he’s going to lay flowers on his mother’s grave and then serve the city that he loves. And he invites one reporter into the limo for an exclusive. And then he demands his jacket and hat.
We see somebody in black gloves looking over blueprints in a warehouse. When Gordon and Harper show up, that somebody disappears and we definitely hear a cape noise. Gordon follows the sound with gun drawn and a gravelly voices promises he’s not Gordon’s enemy. Then he throws a smoke bomb to distract them and we clearly see Batman jumping out the window to escape. I got chills, and I’m used to Batman!
Later, they learn that the guy with the voice lured them away from some bombs that they could have activated by accident. But they know a lot of C4 has been stolen and on the night they’re dedicating the new Wayne building, that’s bad news. Gordon gets to his car and Penguin is waiting in the back with a gun. He makes Jim drive him out to the pier where Gordon was supposed to kill him back in the very first episode. Gordon says he can kill him if he wants, but there’s no need to attack Wayne Tower. Penguin doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This revenge begins and ends with Gordon. Gordon realizes he’s telling the truth so he jumps in the water before Penguin can pull the trigger.
Cut to the gala for Wayne Tower. An adult Selina Kyle comes to Alfred to tell Bruce to stop spying on her. She’s figured out the person at the museum was him, and Alfred thinks she’s being irrational. Or that’s what he says. You know he’s in on this. She demands again that Bruce stay away. And as she leaves, she catches a glimpse of Ed but then Barbara gets in the way. Not intentionally, she’s just trying to say hi. Meanwhile, Ed has Mayor Richard Kind hostage and is ready to blow him up.
Lee and Lucius catch up at the gala, wondering where Gordon is. Alfred gives a speech welcoming everybody to the future of Gotham. There’s no sign of Bruce, and Riddler is waiting for him to make his move. But Barbara finds him first and I still can’t deal with red-haired Barbara. This is what’s in my brain now. Riddler’s disappointed that she’s not here to join in the plan and she reminds him that he already tried to blow up this Mayor before. Ed: “It’s a callback!” HA! While Ed’s talking about his plan, Selina sneaks up and knocks him out with a pipe.
Gordon arrives at the gala demanding that they evacuate the building. Mayor Richard Kind runs in, still tied up complaining that Riddler tried to blow him up again. In short order, they all get on the same page that Penguin isn’t the one who gave Riddler the C4 and a lot of it is still unaccounted for. And that’s when Gordon looks under the display of the model of Gotham City and finds dozens of blocks of explosives, all wired to blow.
Gordon tries to clear the room, but the people left either refuse to let him do this alone or know they can’t get far enough away. We’ve got Alfred, Barbara, Lucius, Selina, Lee – it’s good to see them all in a room together before the end. Damn, I love these guys. Anyway, they try to work out how to defuse this bomb. Outside, somebody in a police uniform punches out the guy who’s escorting Riddler. Back in the bomb room, Lee figures her surgeon hands are best suited to clipping wires in awkward positions. She stops the timer for a second, before it just speeds up. I think Futurama did that gag, but it works here. Lee manages to defuse the bomb just in time, but then Lucius realizes that the clock tower on the model of the city is the old one. You know, the one that got blown up right before No Man’s Land. And Gordon puts the pieces together, even if the answer is impossible. Harper runs in to tell Gordon that Mayor Richard Kind ordered Bullock moved to Blackgate.
In the parking garage, Gordon catches up with Bullock and asks if the person behind all this is who he thinks it is. Bullock says not to say the name, but Gordon asks if it’s Jeremiah Valeska, That triggers Bullock’s escort to grab his gun and Bullock knocks him out with a quick elbow. A panicked Bullock says to check for a wire, and sure enough, the guy had a microphone on him.
Back in Arkham, Jeremiah is still seemingly braindead. We see that some inmates have been charging others to hit or stab him, and then Ecco comes in and kills everybody before telling Jeremiah that their cover is blown. He drops the act, has a good laugh, and then grabs her by the throat.
Riddler is led to Penguin’s car and they have a nice reunion where they confirm neither of them is behind all this nonsense. Then something lands on the roof of the car. The driver tries to peel out but a black cape obscures the windshield and they crash into a lamp post. And once they get out, whoever was on the roof is gone. But then we get a first-person shot as somebody drops down onto the villains. Man, I am loving this.
Back out on the street, Lucius asks Alfred about Bruce and Alfred just says Bruce is making his own decisions. Then they see Penguin and Riddler tied up and hanging from a lamppost, kicking and screaming. Hee! Barbara brings her daughter, Little Barbara back to Sirens to get her gun. And then they hear the song “Crimson and Clover” playing for no good reason, so Barbara goes to investigate. She finds Ecco waiting at the bar. She approaches and Jeremiah sneaks up on her. He is basically all the way Joker now, but they don’t use the name. Ecco puts a knife to her throat and Jeremiah welcomes her to the surprise party and asks about “the other you”. Little Barbara, who takes after her parents, whips an ashtray at Ecco and that lets Hot Barbara get free. Jeremiah shoots Hot Barbara in the leg and picks up Little Barbara and shoots the injured Ecco in the head before giving Hot Barbara a message and leaving with the girl.
Gordon and Bullock show up and Barbara tells Gordon that Jeremiah wants him to go “the place where he was born again”, or else he’ll kill little Barbara. Gordon know that’s Ace Chemicals, and he runs, promising to bring her back. When he gets there, Jeremiah is dangling Barbara over a vat of chemicals and sometimes he loosens his grip on the rope to drop her a little. Gordon: “How long have you been pretending to be brain dead?” Jeremiah: “How long have you been pretending? That’s a joke, I know you’re not pretending.” Hee!
Gordon wants to know why, and Jeremiah says he was waiting for Bruce to come home. They’re bound together but Bruce abandoned them. And then he lets go of the rope and Gordon grabs it just before Barbara hits the chemicals. So then Jeremiah stabs him. And before he can stab again, something flies across the room and knocks the knife out of his hand. Jeremiah looks around, pulling his gun and then a shadow covers him. Jeremiah says “You?” while he laughs hysterically. And then something that is clearly a Batarang lands in Jerome’s hand. Something else knocks him out, and I feel like Gordon knows exactly who’s saving the day here. A shadowy figure in a cape watches Gordon hug his now-safe daughter.
This is so rad.
Gordon and Bullock talk about the guy who just saved Gordon as they walk out to the old spotlight. They put it away after reunification but Gordon thought today was the day to light it again. Alfred joins them, apologizing that Bruce couldn’t make it. He asks about Gordon’s retirement, and Gordon says he’s thinking of sticking around.
Selina waits on top of a building, and the shadowy figure appears behind her. She knows it’s Bruce and that he tried to protect her. But she didn’t want protection, she wanted him. He answers that there was no other way, and you can tell it’s David Mazouz’s voice, but pitched downward. He doesn’t know what happens next, but he won’t leave Gotham. He tells her to return the diamond and then leaves.
Penguin and Riddler are in a prison transport, ranting about how they’re not going to give up the city to a man dressed like a bat. Riddler manages to spring the lock and they jump out the back and Penguin says they need to get this guy. Then we see a shot of a caped man gliding between buildings and they agree “Tomorrow”. I’m going to miss these guys so much!
Gordon, Bullock, and Alfred stand by the illuminated spotlight. Alfred: “And in the darkness there will be light. That’s what we promised Master Bruce all those years ago. We saved him. Gave him hope.” Bullock sees the caped man gliding. Finally he stops on the next building over, standing above his three friends. And in a shot that makes me cry, we all see that it is Batman, in a suit that looks great but maybe wouldn’t look as good in motion. It’s awesome and it made me cry because, dammit, we got to Batman. I love that we made it this far.
I’ll talk more about this episode and the series next week, but I thought this was an awesome finale and I love this show as much as I can love anything.
Farewell, Gotham. You were better than we deserved.