Gotham Season 5 Episode 1: ‘Year Zero’ Review

The opening sequence to this episode sees Edward, Oswald, Jim, and Harvey all getting ready before leaving, each with a gun in hand, before the four of them meet up and walk to meet other members of the GCPD. Jim declares for them to fire on his command and when he says “for Gotham” they all let loose and as the camera pans out we see helicopters, tanks, and some kind of army on the ground below. Admittedly I expected this scene to be shown much later in the season but regardless, it was still an epic way to open the first episode of the final season.

After that opening, we move to the GCPD where Jim is talking to someone over the radio. He explains how Gotham has been divided up by the criminals giving us an insight as to where each character is after the time jump since the end of season 4. While he talks we see clips of the characters he’s talking about. Every major character and/or group seems to have a spot in the city except for Jeremiah who we find hasn’t been spotted in months. Jim explains that there are poor and sick people who couldn’t make it out in time before the bridges blew and it’s the government’s duty to help them but the person he is talking to says that people aren’t allowed in or out and when the people stayed they were now no longer the government’s responsibility. After a lot of back and forth with the person on the other end refusing to give any definitive help, Jim asks them to just admit that the people in Gotham are on their own to which there is no response.

From his response, it is clear that Jim had already lost hope of getting help from the outside world. It’s true Jim fashion that he didn’t give up and kept asking nonetheless even though he clearly knew that they were on their own, he had to try. It’s also very much a Jim thing that he stuck by helping the people of Gotham instead of trying to save his own neck.

[Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon | Fox]

Sticking to the topic of lost hope, the scene transitions to Selina lying in a hospital bed where it’s confirmed that she’s paralyzed but also that she needs to have surgery before her spine collapses on itself. Alfred reveals that they tried to get her out during the evacuation but the bridges blew before they could. She has her back to them and when Bruce comes over to tell her about the operation, she still doesn’t look at them, simply just agrees to it. Sure the crying and keeping her back to them is an indicator that she’s depressed over the whole thing but so does the beautiful music in the background and the way it’s filmed. I love that most of the scene is focused on Selina in the foreground with the others blurred in the background, and it’s only every now and again that they come into focus.

Later we discover that her spine will stay intact thanks to the operation but she’ll still never walk. Selina appears to be cold and distant and even lashes out a little at Bruce over what’s happened to her. I get why she feels the way she does and all I want is for her to find peace and I’m sure when she does her feelings toward Bruce right now will change. As Bruce is leaving, a nurse says that Selina needs the witch.

At the end of the episode, Bruce arrives to find that the Doctor and nurse are holding Selina who has tried to kill herself. Bruce holds her as they drug her and helps her back to bed. She says that they should have just let her do it and she passes out as the Doctor reveals what her intentions were to Bruce. The same nurse from before tells Bruce once again that he needs to go to the witch. The only person I can really think of is Ivy. I highly doubt they’ll introduce someone else and Ivy has healed Selina before, despite the odds, it would make a ton of sense if that was who the nurse is referencing.

[Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle | Fox]

At one point, Scarecrow and his men attack both the GCPD and the hospital. They take food from the former but not before there’s a fight between Scarecrow and Jim, and at the hospital, Bruce goes to investigate when a nurse declares that men are stealing medicine from the basement.

He ends up using night vision goggles to fight them. I loved this scene! It was so great to see Bruce take them out one at a time in such a stealthy way. The creep factor and the use of the shadows was very Batman and I had such a good time watching it. Also, that shot where we see he’s standing on top of the cage and he jumps down behind one of Scarecrow’s people and strikes. The lights coming back on does hinder him and some of them get away, however, this was still a very awesome scene to witness and I’m more than a little excited to see more of Bruce/Batman in the coming episodes.

After the attacks, it turns out that food is down to one or two weeks and, while trying to decide what to tell the people, Bruce appears and says they will tell the people that help is coming. He is going to make a supply run whether or not the government gives permission.

[Fox]

In city hall, Oswald seems to be finding leg straps that make his limp less so and most likely to help with the pain a little too. Mr Penn reveals that a worker at the factory passed out due to lack of food and Oswald, while eating a full meal, declares he can’t give what he doesn’t have. The real gross bit is that he gives the entire meal to his dog because he doesn’t like the way its cooked. During the talk with Mr Penn, Oswald hears the helicopter and it turns out Barbara and Tabitha have heard it too.

Bruce and Jim, on top of the GCPD, make contact with it as it flies by but it is then hit and shot out of the sky. Everyone races off to find it and a group are found scavenging the supplies. Oswald arrives first and takes them out so he can claim the supplies for himself but before they can take them, the GCPD arrive. Oswald declares that he didn’t shoot down the helicopter which means, so long as he isn’t lying, that someone else in Gotham has good firepower. I’m thinking Jeremiah perhaps. It would make sense if he was preparing something big and I highly doubt it’s going to be anyone from across the river. Honestly though, I’m just going to wait and find out.

When it seems like the GCPD are outgunned Tabitha kills two of Oswald’s men with a crossbow. She then kills another one before grabbing Oswald from behind and holding a gun to him. I can’t stop laughing that after threatening Jim, Oswald has the audacity to ask for his help against Tabitha. Unfortunately, as we saw earlier with Oswald’s gun, Tabitha’s misfires and we know it’s her only bullet. Before she can do much of anything, Oswald pulls a knife and stabs her. I do feel like Tabitha’s death scene was missing a little something but considering the short season they have, I’m not overly surprised that it happened now and I like how it was done. I loved the echo and subtle slow motion that came with her final moments and in that regard, it was a really great scene to watch.

A shootout ensures but is stopped when the GCPD run out of bullets and Barbara is shot by Oswald. At one point, Bruce takes out two of Oswald’s men and gets access to his van, bringing ammo to Jim and Harvey. Before Oswald can do anything to Barbara, Jim steps up and offers to split the supplies fifty, fifty. When Oswald refuses, Harvey shoots his men and Jim shoots Oswald in his bad leg. The remaining man drops his weapon and helps Oswald to get away while the GCPD load up the supplies. I honestly couldn’t stop laughing as Jim declared that he was never going to go through with a deal like that and that he needed all the supplies. Also, this scene reminded me that we’re supposed to be getting Jim and Barbara interactions this season so I’m extra pumped about those. It really seems like they’re going to go on the route of potentially getting them back together or making sure there’s a possibility for it so that, if you’d like to imagine or if the show ever returns, there could be a Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. However, we’ll just have to wait and see.

[Fox]

Back the GCPD, we see that on the upper levels Ecco is looking over Jim’s map of the city but when a voice comes over the radio, she hides in the shadows and Jim comes upstairs. The voice says that Jim has allies across the river who will help Gotham. They don’t reveal who they are and in the silence, Jim notices the sign of Jeremiah on the map. He doesn’t mention it to anyone else but he does talk to Harvey about looking out for Jeremiah again. I’m super curious to see what he’s been up to while he’s been gone the last 3 months but I’m even more curious to know the woman on the other end of the radio is.

In a scene at the very end, an officer comes to the GCPD with a little boy who reveals there are people in danger all the way on the other side of the city. As the boy collapses and is taken to get help, Jim addresses the other members of the GCPD. He makes it clear that they’re going to help those people and that even if the government does nothing, they still need to.

I thought this was a pretty great way to end the episode and overall I did enjoy myself watching this. I do have to say, it jumped around a bit too much and I wish the order was slightly better but I’m going to chalk that up to limited episodes and having to pull off a final season that covers everything when the writers and co expected to go on much longer and most likely had plans and ideas for a full 22 episode season. The pacing also wasn’t the best but again, it wasn’t awful. All in all I think it’s good for the first episode back and I honestly don’t expect this season to be anywhere near perfect, however, I can already tell it’s going to be entertaining.

[Fox]

Other things to note:

  • I’m kind of annoyed that Tabitha doesn’t seem to have asked about Selina or visited her or anything. Maybe she thinks Selina got out of Gotham but considering she died at the end of the episode it doesn’t matter. It just would have been nice to see her go to Selina before that happened. I know she was concerned about the whole Oswald and Butch thing, plus the city is in chaos, but the last time Selina got seriously hurt, Tabitha was angry. They spent a lot of time together and I wish, even for a moment, we got something.
  • That being said, I love that we got mentions of Selina and Jim! When he finds out that she needs an operation, he seems concerned which I’m happy about. He and Selina have had many interactions over the years and their relationship is one of the more underrated ones so I’m happy that even a small moment like this was added in. Later, Jim asks about Selina again and even mentions that she’s strong and will pull through.
  • I didn’t mention Edward in the full review really because he was off doing his own thing and not much happened. We know that he is waking up in different places all over the city with no idea how he got there and no memory of what happened.
  • Also, let’s take a moment to just think about the fact that Oswald named his dog Edward.
  • I really loved the scene toward the end with Barbara standing in the middle of the room and declaring to kill Oswald as the camera zoomed in. There was something just so aesthetically pleasing about it.
  • Seeing Jim and Bruce standing by the spotlight and talking about how they stayed behind to protect Gotham was great but it still seems like Jim doesn’t know everything about Bruce’s life as a vigilante only that he can handle himself better in a fight now. We also know that Bruce has a place at the GCPD and is free to fight beside them and you can already feel the build-up to the Jim/Batman relationship.
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