Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of Gotham season 5…
Denizens are crawling from beneath the city dragging their underbellies towards a light which is getting further away. Smog coated, derelict and beyond redemption Gotham sits on the precipice of damnation, as principal players continue teaming up in increasingly insane ways. Madness for everyone is only one more bad day away and those stakes are being cranked up by a disinterested mainland, intent on keeping the city isolated. Guns and ammo, food stocks or a fortified stronghold are no longer enough. Jewels or riches no longer hold the necessary currency to propel powerful people into positions of omnipotence.
So we find ourselves atop this slag heap with little hope for redemption and Gordon scarred, on foot and running from another insane assassin. Pitch black, low on ammo and hiding from an advancing Nygma escalation is inevitable, salvation unlikely but survival almost guaranteed. From bomb proof megalomaniacs, self-involved sociopaths and another heavy duty villain being moulded, Gotham is shaping up for another round of full on slap down. There are bloodless beatings, reassuring resurrections and more than a little kink flying around in an episode which continues to carve its own path.
There are so many threads interweaving in an attempt to provide closure across the board that events can become muddled. Thankfully for 13 Stitches there is a surprising balance being struck which somehow keeps things together whilst also providing progression. Valeska remains the shadow which looms large and those fleeting glimpses however brief add fuel to that fire. One might accuse these writers of employing the kitchen sink mentality, but since this is their final hurrah you feel inclined to forgive. MacKenzie, Logue and company are definitely reaching the end of an era and for all concerned there is a sense of going out on a high.
Production design which has been a mainstay of this series from season one remains consistent, even if writing wise things might occasionally come across as convoluted. Child actors and seasoned veterans alike have grown into their roles, making these characters live and breath convincingly. Gotham will always have its naysayers but tenacity and sheer stubbornness have kept it fresh, diverse but above all highly watchable.