Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne face the chaos Gotham City has become, as villains who survived the attack on the city begin to resurface and claim various territories; Selina Kyle grapples with how to deal with her uncertain future.
Gotham is back and it’s crazier than ever! As sad as I am to see the show entering its final season it’s great to have it back on the air.
This first episode back from a long break does a great job of setting the scene for the final season. In many ways it reminded me of when Fringe returned for its short final season. Re-contextualising that show with its new future setting is easily the blueprint for how Gotham introduces us to No Man’s Land.
An initial flash forward sets up what appears to be a shaky alliance and the final battle for the city. We may witness in this episode the final moments prior to Batman’s first appearance.
Following this we drop back to the “present day” which equates to day 87 in No Man’s Land. Handy for us is that we catch up with Jim Gordon just as he’s explaining the new Gotham City landscape to an unseen character via two-way radio.
We quickly learn that the city is now without hope. Cut off by the government and abandoned to ruin. It perfectly reflects how we find the city in the No Man’s Land event back in the 90s. There are brief glimpses of several of the major players before we dive in to the story of the week.
There’s plenty going on in “Year Zero” as almost no character is left out of the proceedings. Over the past four seasons the Gotham writers have learnt how to perfectly balance the ensemble. Although the roles have once again changed everything is still the same here.
All eyes are now on Bruce. The fuse has been lit and there’s little time left before we need to see him don the cape and cowl. This episode finds him a fully functioning vigilante working alongside the GCPD to protect the city. Even without the costume Bruce has become the Dark Knight protector of Gotham.
Despite his young age it still feels organic to the story. The moment he shares with Jim on the rooftop of GCPD both foreshadows the future and celebrates the relationship the two have already forged. When they meet again at the end of the episode we get to see them take another step towards their endgame.
“Year Zero” also begins an intriguing plot for Cory Michael Smith’s Edward. We’ve already seen much of his transformation in to The Riddler. At this stage all that’s left is for him to get his trademark question mark costume. There’s no resolution to this latest mystery here. We simply get to see that his vying persona’s are not functioning quite as they used to.
Oswald is quite simply Oswald. He’s been hiding in city hall following the bombing which brought down the bridges. “Year Zero” gives him plenty of opportunity to scream at the camera. It’s what we’ve come to love him for and the writers are playing to his strengths here.
The biggest emotional arc, for this episode at least, belongs to Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova). Following her shooting at the hands of Jeremiah/Joker (Cameron Monaghan) she’s holed up in what passes for a hospital in No Man’s Land.
With little equipment and their medicine stash raided there’s not much they can do for her. She’s given the diagnosis that she will never walk again and to begin with takes the news in typical Selina style. She’s nonchalant and cold. Apart from a solitary tear she spends much of the episode shutting down emotionally like she always has.
But when the opportunity arises we see her force herself from her bed and attempt suicide. What follows is a moment of emotional darkness for the character which will strike a chord with many viewers. It’s a realist territory Gotham hasn’t often dared to portray. Well done to the production team for being true to PTSD of her injuries.
The climax of the episode brings the first casualty of Gotham‘s final season. Tabitha has been a rather malleable character over the years. Jessica Lucas has done a great job with the material she’s been given but I’ve always felt Tabitha just went wherever the story needed her.
She’s given a good exit here and it serves its purpose to the story. It illustrates that nobody is safe in No Man’s Land.
“Year Zero” is a triumphant return for the veteran series. With only a handful of episode left before it reaches a sad conclusion this episode catches the audience up quickly following season 4’s huge cliffhanger.
It’s Gotham bigger and crazier than ever!
In the next episode…
Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock and David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne. The series also stars Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.
The series airs on FOX Thursdays at 8/7c.