Martin Carr reviews Gotham’s season 5 finale…
With the recent release of a Pennyworth prequel trailer it seems apt that we bid farewell to Gotham. Like the bastard child of Christopher Nolan’s almost flawless reinvention, Gotham was greeted with derision from day one and yet has proven tenuously entertaining. Despite consistently low ratings it has avoided network culls much to the disapproval of DC diehards. Much of that has come from a staunchly stubborn approach where the showrunners never pretended to be anything other than their own animal. Gotham consistently rebelled against bad press, critical dissatisfaction and comic book folk law to leave its own legacy. For the most part it succeeded in bucking trends, confounding naysayers and creating a unique audience. Unfortunately what we have here is neither a whimpering final retreat nor whooping victory lap, but something somewhere between the two.
In these final forty minutes and change we are treated to a grown up Selena Kyle, an interesting addition to Jim Gordon’s top lip and a Penguin who looks more Burgess Meredith than Danny Devito. Nygma remains very much his own creation and Smith should be commended for retaining that singular identity. However it is with Jeremiah Valeska that genuine originality resides in this truncated finale. Looking like a dapper Gollum this heavily scarred incarnation is given reduced screen time, but still allows deeply disturbing menace to permeate those prosthetics.
Elsewhere limited screen time is given over to Lili Simmons as a full grown Catwoman who gets little to do and few opportunities to make an impact. If rumours are true this introduction has more to do with an imminent spin off show that may or may not feature the actress. As for Batman he is personified through high wind whipping between masonry cracks, flashes of black across the camera lens or silhouettes of that infamous cowl. For all the hype which hailed this finale as an honest introduction to their Dark Knight it falls disappointingly short.
Similar in many ways to the penultimate episode this feels more like a tying up of loose ends in preparation for something else. High on promise, low on impact and obviously slashed to ribbons as a normal twenty two episode run was cut to twelve, it feels more like a casualty of war then any type of celebration. For that the blame should lay with FOX who obviously preferred Gotham to go quietly rather than raging against the dying of the light.