Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.
- The last few episodes have been insanely overstuffed, and it really looked like Gotham was on its way to a messy finale, but I have to say that “A Dark Knight: No Man’s Land” clears the deck nicely while also resolving the stories it needs to resolve. It’s a fun, exciting hour, and the final stretch bodes well for season five.
- The episode begins with Selina being rushed to the hospital, and while it’s a little frustrating that she’s such a nonfactor in the finale, it’s good that she’s alive and poised for more stories next season. She’s really become one of the more interesting characters on the show, and her growth pairs nicely with Bruce’s.
- While the GCPD has Jeremiah locked up, his plan is still in motion. In fact, he reveals that there’s a lot more the cops don’t know. He says he has more bombs planted all around the city, and he’ll only give up their location in exchange for a conversation with Bruce Wayne.
- Hugo Strange has a simple plan for getting Butch back to his usual self: “some fresh blood and a jolt to the heart.”
- The Mayor is upset that Gordon won’t lift the evacuation. Just when he’s about to call it off himself, one of Jeremiah’s unexpected bombs blows up city hall. Being a bureaucrat in Gotham is probably a lucrative gig, what with all the corruption and such, but the turnover rate from, you know, murder, hardly makes it worth it.
- Not long after that the military is called in and Marshal Law is declared. Gordon pushes back on the General’s decision to bring Bruce in to talk to Jeremiah, so he has him arrested. Thankfully, Gordon isn’t isolated for the episode, as Nygma shoots the guards and kidnaps the Commissioner for his own twisted motivations.
- Those motivations? Squeezing the life out of Jim in order to allow Lee to move on and become the person he knows she can be. “For her sake you’re going to die. For my sake you’re going to suffer.”
- The whole love triangle with Jim, Lee, and Nygma has been one of the weakest aspects of this season—the other prominent one being the scattered Ra’s Al Ghul stuff—but there’s promise in where it ends up. Lee stabs Nygma, he stabs her back, and Penguin brings both of them to Strange to be revived. “What should I do with you?” mutters Strange, which is a thing you never want to hear him say.
- Most of this episode boils down to the race to stop Jeremiah’s bombs. It’s a surprisingly compelling story, considering what came before. It’s anchored by a very good rivalry between Gordon and Jeremiah, and the way the episode weaves in Bruce’s destiny as the Dark Knight works really well. As Gordon clears the bridges leading out of Gotham, which were the targets all along, Bruce must watch as they explode, and Gotham is changed forever.
- Bruce doesn’t end up in the hands of Ra’s and Jeremiah though, as the ragtag group of Barbara, Tabitha, Penguin, and Alfred show up to rescue him and kill Ra’s. It’s a great sequence, with Barbara and Alfred teaming up to attack Ra’s, followed by her teaming up with Bruce to stab Ra’s and send him into the afterlife, maybe for good this time. Jeremiah is still out there though.
- Penguin is always down for a good shootout, and quickly volunteers to save Bruce and kill Ra’s and Jeremiah: “One question: who do I get to kill?”
- The military General who takes control of Gotham for a bit is such a dumb character. A contrived storytelling piece and nothing else.
- So Ra’s and Jeremiah are the bad guys, but their actions will also give us Batman? Then how am I supposed to feel about them?!?! I’m so conflicted!
- What a final stretch in this finale. Butch is cured, but then Penguin kills him and shoots Tabitha. It was all part of Penguin’s plan, and payback for the death of his mother. Then there’s the various villains taking their territory in a Gotham abandoned by the government, Barbara starting a “No Man Zone” run by the Sirens, and Gordon, Bullock, Lucius, and Bruce staying behind to help Gotham. The final scene promises more progress towards Batman, as Gordon and Bruce stare out at the city from the roof of the GCPD, the spotlight that will eventually be the Bat Signal a beacon of hope in a dark time.
- As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting on these discussion posts. My feelings about this show swing from one week to the next, but I always enjoy talking about it, and I think this was easily the best season yet. See you next season!