This episode has it all! The trial of Victor Zsasz! Lucius Fox and Ed Nygma solving mysteries! Harley and the Joker! Face kissing! Gotham is racing toward a finale and today we’re looking at “Ruin”!

People stumble away from the burned out buildings. There’s fire and ash everywhere. Barbara pulls her gun on Penguin, who’s too horrified to notice, and amid all the screams, she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger. Gordon stars pulling people from the buildings, giving orders, and trying to save as many people as he can. Then he tells Penguin it’s all his fault, but Penguin knows none of the gangs he brought in had explosives. Gordon tells Bullock to use the drinking water to put out the fires. It’s chaos.

When daylight comes, Bullock finds Gordon’s melted badge – it’s the badge he gave little Will earlier. Oh, man. They’re not playing around this season.

OPENING CREDITS!

Gordon reports to the radio voice that the death toll currently stands at 311, with more still unaccounted for. The sympathetic woman promises she’s getting help. I just realized – the woman on the radio is the Gotham version of Oracle! We’ll talk about that later. There’s a commotion in the police station as the survivors demand justice. Gordon tries to rally them but each speech is doing less and less. He tasks Lucius with finding out who caused the explosion. Bullock thinks it might be Barbara since she disappeared right after, but that doesn’t seem like a Barbara move.

Hey, Bruce is still handcuffed to the ironwork in Jeremiah’s church. A couple of hockey mask guys find him and attack. Bruce fights them off with the one hand for a bit, and then Alfred shows up just in the nick of time, having followed Bruce’s signal. Bruce admits it was Selina who cuffed him and he wants Alfred’s help to save her. Again. This isn’t what Alfred signed up for.

Gordon shows up at Sirens to question Barbara. She says the saboteur has to be stopped and she’s started looking into it. Turns out, there’s a shady guy who was seen in the area, holed up in a warehouse. Barbara asks Gordon if he thinks she could have killed all those people and he says “I don’t know”, which sets the stage for my finale prediction. We’ll talk after the recap.

Bullock calls in with a problem. Penguin and his army have turned up at GCPD with a lot of guns. When Gordon gets there, though, we learn it’s a peace offering. Penguin is there to give them weapons and ammo, with the only condition that Gordon find the Haven bomber. He’s willing to put aside their differences and this is nicely setting up that scene that opened the season.

Riddler time! Or Ed time! I’ve lost track of which personality is in control. Anyway, he wakes up next to an empty suitcase. He’s taken to recording notes to himself – “Apparently I’ve been on a trip or I’m going on one.” Also written on his hand is “INAT #1215 KNOWS”. The spaces in “INAT” could indicate missing letters so he decides it’s “Inmate”. But knows what? He heads to GCPD to steal some prison records.

This crew rolls out to the warehouse where the suspected bomber is hiding. Penguin starts making threats on a megaphone and somebody shoots it out of his hand. They isolate where the shot came from, but whoever it is keeps shooting. Gordon tells them to come out and they respond: “Pretty cozy up here. Thanks, guys.” Everybody knows who it is! It’s Zsasz! Gordon calls out to him and he pops up to say “Hey guys, what’s up?” before shooting again.

Ed gets into the file room, where Lucius catches him. Oh, I love these two together. He snatches Inmate #1215’s file out of Ed’s hand. Lucius offers Ed a deal. If he helps solve the bombing, Lucius will turn over the file. I like Ed calling Lucius “the second smartest man in Gotham”. I wish these two had more episodes together.

Zsasz shouts that he had nothing to do with the bombing but people aren’t inclined to believe him. Gordon tells Penguin to focus all their fire on Zsasz’ window for two and a half minutes and then stop. He uses this opportunity to sneak up to the building and get to the room. Zsasz is just chilling out, having a drink, which is awesome. Gordon tackles Zsasz once the shooting stops and brings him out. Zsasz compliments everybody on their professionalism. HA! Penguin wants to torture him but Gordon wants to question him by the book. Such as it is.

Ecco leads the recruits through a dark room illuminated by flickering lights. Hey, it’s that place where the Soothsayers were tunneling! And they’re still tunneling! The leader complains that they can’t meet the deadline, and somebody slits his throat. Selina watches all this from the shadows as we see it’s Jeremiah who’s taking the lead. Oh, man. The fact that we know this is a bad tunnel seems creepier now – like maybe he’s trying to collapse a city block rather than reach the mainland.

Jeremiah is wearing a white version of Jack Nicholson’s hat from Batman ’89, by the way. He threatens Ecco and then dances with her while she catches him up on stuff. Ecco leads the recruits off somewhere and I can’t quite tell where.

Ed puzzles over this mystery. The fact that the structure of the building is intact means it wasn’t C4. The burn pattern suggests anything else would have to have been too huge to sneak it in. Ed figures out somebody detonated the heating oil that would have been flowing through the pipes. Lucius finds some glass from a shattered window inside – it should have been blown out in the explosion. So now they know that whatever ignited the oil came through the window.

Bullock and Gordon question Zsasz. He admits he was in the building, but only to steal supplies. (“Do you have any canned peaches? I would trade an arm and a leg for some. Not mine.”) Zsasz says that if he’d killed a building full of people, he’d be covered in tally marks by now. I didn’t realize they were still doing that bit, but they did set it up in his first appearance. I love that this particular quirk of his is important enough that it makes for a valid defense.

Lucius reports to Gordon that an RPG blew up the oil tank, which blew up the buildings. Since it was hit from above, it sounds like it couldn’t be Zsasz. And that’s when Penguin shows up. He’s not interested in the evidence, because he’s got a whole gang with him to take Zsasz. Penguin plans to put him on trial, which will probably work out fine for everybody.

Lucius and Ed check out the rooftops until they find the one with the right angle. Also, the shooter left the case behind. HA! At this point, Ed is invested and wants Lucius to find the culprit, which is a nice bit. Lucius gives him the file and he learns that Inmate 1215 is a nobody who died a while ago. Then he notices a woman in a wheelchair looking out an open window and figures maybe she saw the bomber.

Penguin set up a trial for Zsasz in his territory. Gordon and Bullock are there but they can’t possibly fight the mob. Penguin calls the court to order and then tapes Zsasz’ mouth shut. Everybody in attendance claims to have seen Zsasz leave the building and so Penguin offers Gordon the chance to say a few words. Gordon tells the crowd everything they know about the explosion and why it couldn’t have been Zsasz. This turns into an inspirational speech that rouses nobody. Penguin sentences Zsasz to death by guillotine. Gordon and Bullock decide that can’t happen, which is a very Batman choice to make. They part the crowd and try to pull him out. Penguin shoots out the guillotine rope by Harvey manages to pull Zsasz free. Gordon knocks Penguin across the room and they all run.

They drive Zsasz out to the middle of nowhere. They can’t take him back to GCPD, because somebody is going to kill him for something he didn’t do. Zsasz appreciates it but says the city will always belong to the bad guys. And then Gordon tells Bullock to give Zsasz his gun, and it seems like Gordon is ready to shoot him in self-defense. Zsasz refuses the gun and promises to catch up with them later. Damn, that was risky.

That’s also a nice sendoff for Zsasz. I assume we’ve probably seen the last of him since we’re running out of episodes and Anthony Carrigan is on Barry, though he may pop up for the finale. I want everybody to be in the finale. It’s episode 100! You have to really just have a blowout, right?

Bruce and Alfred stealth game their way into Jeremiah’s church and make they way for the… digging room. And then Selina, having stolen Ecco’s mask and robe, gets in close and stabs Jeremiah. She stabs him over and over. Bruce catches up to her after about eight stabs, but Jeremiah appears to be dead by that point. Alfred and Bruce help her get away.

Ed makes his way through the building to find the apartment – turns out the right one is #1215. The woman panics upon seeing him. He tries to question her and she explains that she saw him launch a rocket and blow up a building. She sucker punches him and then he has memory flashes of launching the rocket (while in his full Riddler gear). He noticed the witness and wrote himself a note. Before part of it rubbed off, it said “WOMAN IN APT #1215 SAW”. The woman promises not to tell anybody and Ed helps her keep that promise by tossing her out the window.

Gordon is alone in his office when Barbara shows up – she has a lead on a guy who’s selling RPGs. She’s helping! She tries to sympathize about the people he lost, but he just tells her to go away. She give him a kiss, taunting him about being the one who has to carry the weight and then starts to leave. That’s when Gordon grabs her and pulls her in for some full-on making out. Woo!

END!

–Just a couple of quick notes since we’ve got a new episode tonight. I’m loving this season so far, but I hope we get to see some of the other villains soon. Let’s get Mad Hatter and Firefly back in the mix! Now, Ecco is definitely the Gotham Harley Quinn, but I imagine DC won’t let them use the name for the same reason they can’t call Jeremiah “Joker” – they’re saved for movies. Speaking of, I did not like Suicide Squad and I thought that version of Harley was, well, bad. I don’t care that much for Harley outside of the animated series, but I think this version fits Gotham. She reads more as Harley than many other versions, at least.

Also, we’ve got Gordon talking to a woman on the radio and she keeps promising help. It reminds me of that era in the comics when a wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon assisted Batman with information as Oracle. It’s a neat way to pay homage to a character who can never appear on the show.

Finally, I have a theory about the other Barbara. My guess is that Barbara is going to sacrifice herself to save Gordon or Bruce or maybe all of Gotham. I think she’s going to get a big redemption just to leave open the chance that maybe Jim would name a daughter in her honor. Barbara Gordon wants very much to exist and will fight her way into possibility even when they try to write her out. (She outsmarted Frank Miller and he erased all potential for her to be born.) I’m betting it happens before the finale, since they’ve already announced Erin Richards is directing the final episode. It’s really cool to see how far she’s come with the show. I mean, she was always awesome, but the show had to figure it out.

Second finally, Jeremiah is definitely coming back, right? My guess is either Hugo Strange brings him back or there’s some Lazarus water somewhere. And maybe he comes back crazy in a different way, so Cameron Monaghan gets to play another Joker.

Next time – Bane is coming!

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