Batman begins but “Gotham” ends

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Screen Capture: David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne / Batman in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning...”



The abbreviated fifth and final season of the Bruno Heller developed DC Comics based series “Gotham” came to an end Thursday, 25 April 2019 with the Rob BaileyErin Richards co-directed episode “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…” With a teleplay written by series showrunner John Stephens, the “Gotham” series finale was an appropriately logical ending point.

"Gotham" Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb
“Gotham” Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb

SPOILER ALERT

If you have yet to see the “Gotham” series finale, you should be aware there are spoilers in this article. You might want to watch the episode before you continue reading beyond this point.

Episode Synopsis

Set ten years after the events depicted in the Carol Banker directed penultimate series episode “Legend of the Dark Knight: They Did What?,” Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham. Meanwhile, while the city prepares for the opening of the newly completed Wayne Tower, Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is framed for murder.

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Screen Capture: Cameron Monaghan as Jeremiah Valeska in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

Not believing Harvey capable of murder, Gotham Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) begins to put the puzzle pieces together. A sinister plot is at the heart of everything which is unfolding in Gotham. As Jeremiah Valeska’s (Cameron Monaghan) plan takes shape, a new mysterious figure emerges and becomes the hero Gotham needs.

Where is Bruce?

Bruce has apparently returned to Gotham, not that we get to see him in the city. We don’t. Despite Bruce making his presence as Batman felt in the entirety of the episode, we do not get to see any significant scenes featuring David Mazouz as Bruce after the “Gotham” title frame.

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Screen Capture: David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne / Batman in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

The sequence immediately before the series title frame is reminiscent of the 2005 Christopher Nolan directed “Batman Begins.” The mountain is evocative the one Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne climbs to find a particular flower.

How did the series finale feel to you?

Is it my imagination or did the Bailey / Richards co-directed episode feel to you more like a series premiere than it did a series finale? It is not just the tail end of the episode I am talking about in which Batman looms over the city. It is significantly more than that. The flow of the episode suggests a beginning not an ending. But then this is what “Gotham” has always been about. There is no denying this point. When Batman begins, “Gotham” would end.

One could say the penultimate episode in the series would have made for a better send off to “Gotham” than that which we saw Thursday night. In the previous episode, we saw both heroes and villains successfully working together for the best interests of the city. It was this episode that best reflected events depicted during the series’ five-year run. Bruce left Gotham. Anyone that knows the Bruce Wayne / Batman story should have seen that coming from a mile away.

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Screen Capture: Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith as Oswald Cobblepot / Penguin and Edward Nygma / The Riddler, respectively, in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

The narrative is problematic. Is Gotham ever safe from the threat of violence? The pending appearance of a certain caped crusader is more important. Once Batman appears, the show is done. That was Heller’s plan from the series premiere. Because “Gotham” has been far too smitten with Batman, various depicted canon characters were not fully fleshed out.

Is Jim Gordon retiring?

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Screen Capture: Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie as Detective Harvey Bullock and Commissioner James Gordon, respectively, in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

It has been ten years since Captain James Gordon saw a promotion to Gotham Police Commissioner. He feels it is time for someone new to take over. Jim wants to spend more time with his wife and daughter. Does this happen? If the series follows canon, it does not. Gordon continues as Police Commissioner.

Is there a trailer?

Cast Change

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Screen Capture: Sean Pertwee and Lili Simmons as Alfred Pennyworth and Selina Kyle / Catwoman, respectively, in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

While the eagle-eyed viewers amongst us will have noticed Camren Bicondova’s name in the episode’s credits, the role of Selina Kyle / Catwoman was portrayed by Lili Simmons. Getting to play the character is a real coup for the actress. This is a batman canon character we’re talking about. Not everyone can pull it off and make it believable. Evidently, Camren felt she was not able to play a 28-year-old Selina. Consequently, the character saw a recast.

The reasoning for the casting change for Selina is probably the same for why it was we did not get to see Bruce in the episode. With “The Beginning…” set ten years in the future, Mazouz looks too young to play the character.

Final Thoughts

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Screen Capture: Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie as Sean Pertwee as Detective Harvey Bullock, Commissioner James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively, in the Rob Bailey / Erin Richards co-directed “Gotham” series finale “Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…”

Based on the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, “Gotham” presented television viewers with a different side of the characters DC Comics readers are familiar with.

Batman origin stories include a time jump shortly after Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered. Because this does not occur with “Gotham,” the series narrative takes a different path. We follow Bruce’s life story for the next four years. The time jump occurs immediately after the opening sequence of the finale episode.

When Fox ordered “Gotham” as a series, the premise revolved around Jim Gordon’s origin story. Because of this, we were going to learn how he became the Gotham Police Commissioner. The series still accomplished that but it was no longer the focus. It did not take long for the series focus to shift. From season to season, the focus became more about rich kid Bruce Wayne than it did the police detective.