Since Gotham is wrapping up its final season, we’ll be reviewing the final two episodes This review contains full spoilers for Gotham Season 5, episode 11, “They Did What?”
Gotham’s penultimate episode – the storm before the storm, if you will – closed out the series as we know it in preparation for a massive 10-year time jump that will give us both Batman and Joker in next week’s finale. This chapter paid off the forward-glimpse we caught in the beginning of the season, where Jim teamed with Penguin and Edward in a firefight against an aggressive clump of soldiers.
Overall, it was fine. Given all that Gotham’s been through, as a city and a show, it was hard for this final crucible to truly stand out as an action piece. It’s like, the city’s already a demolished and mostly-abandoned ghost town. It’s kind of difficult to take a hard stance against the entire place being bombed to hell so that it can all get rebuilt. I understand not wanting a full thriving city to get obliterated, but there wasn’t much left to save here except a few hundred people. Wayne Manor’s not even standing anymore and this week’s chaos brought down Wayne Tower. I’m just saying that most of Nyssa’s job was done already.
It was the villains who really shined through in “They Did What?” though. And by that I mean the core cast villains – Oswald, Ed, and Babs. It nicely set them all up as strange bedfellows for the future. Each one of them has a uniquely bizarre and intimate backstory with Jim (Barbara the most, naturally) and it stages everything nicely for the jump. Will Jim, given his offbeat palsy connection to them, be able to keep the peace until Batman arrives? Will Gotham’s first long stretch of serenity happen off-screen? Or will the next decade be filled with just as much insanity as before?
Penguin and Riddler’s mistrustful-but-loving parting of ways was a highlight (as was Oswald sacrificing his eye to save Ed). Their 180 turn back into villain-hood, after losing all their loot, wasn’t exactly the best about face the show’s ever done, but their farewell (even if they’re only just going to opposite ends of the same city) was a great way to signal how much they’re going to continue doing their own thing while still sharing a close connection.
While Bane himself worked as a foil, his plot to trample over the last remaining rubble piles of Gotham fell a little flat. Ultimately, “They Did What?” was less about the big action beats and League of Shadows mechanisms (any diabolical plan that involves getting revenge on a teenager is kind of flimsy) and more about setting everyone up for the decade we’re not going to see and the eventual arrival of the Caped Crusader.
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