This Week on TV, Mar. 9, 2019

Spoiler Alert!

For the moment, Gotham is the only one in my lineup airing, and it’s about to end forever. But we have a few weeks to wait between this episode and the next one anyway, it would seem. It was a good episode, but not really great, ya know? I think they’re rushing things a bit too much, trying to wrap up and get everything done a little too quickly. But, still, it was good.

Gotham

5.09 “The Trial of Jim Gordon”

You know how you sometimes wish everybody’s crap would just be magically worked out already? Yeah, there’s a reason they don’t actually do that. On the one hand, it feels cheap and unrealistic, and on the other, it’s very surprising when it suddenly happens in the middle of a story that has thrived on drawing out the emotional torment.

That’s a bit what it felt like in this episode. They rushed through working things out, some of them very significant, and it came out feeling a bit… lackluster. Which seems to be a recurring trend in these more recent episodes. Perhaps tying up loose ends crowds out the usual devices for building tension? Either way, it is what it is, I suppose.

Jeremiah’s mad scheme may have been stopped, and everyone saved, but it resulted in a severely-poisoned water supply. Fox and his team have developed the means to clean it, filter out the toxins, but it’s slow going. With the available supply of clean drinking water at critical levels, Gordon sees reunification with the mainland as their only hope of survival, and the only hope for reunification is to persuade the government that it’s safe to take Gotham back into its fold, which means things need to be safe. To that end, Gordon has a plan: convince the gangs to commit to a ceasefire.

Penguin hosts the gathering of chaos, which, after the military purge of a couple episodes, there’s quite a few more of the vile gangsters left than I would have thought. They all want to kill everyone else, but Gordon makes his case: they need the government to save them, so they can either fight over what little water left, eek out a few more months, and then die… or they can stop killing each other and live. The attitude of “kill or be killed” will just get them killed.

Unfortunately, the moment Gordon’s done, someone shoots him.

It’s not necessarily fatal, but there’s not much even Lee can do for him with such limited resources. She just pulls out the bullet fragments and bandages him, once Bullock, Harper, and the others manage to carry him out of Pengun’s lair to her infirmary.

Bullock takes command of the GCPD in Gordon’s absence and hunts the shooter. Penguin gets a well-deserved punch or two to the face before he points out the shooter was outside. Bullock is able to retrieve a fragment and, pieced together with what Lee fishes out of Gordon’s gut, finds the initials VZ. Victor Zasz.

Zasz is a bit crazier than usual, but it turns out Ivy has him enthralled. She has a plot in motion now, with several moving parts. When it seems that Zasz hasn’t quite killed Gordon, and gets himself arrested, courtesy of the GCPD and Alfred, she shows up to bust him loose. He distracts everyone else in the lobby – Bullock is right, it’s getting annoying how often they get shot at within their own precinct, and it used to be such a rarity – while she makes to finish the job herself. Bullock suits up in heavy armor while everyone else keeps Zasz busy – and all of them miss – so he’s able to just take Zasz down with his fists.

Lee had a little argument with Gordon before the big meeting. It felt a bit automatic, really, but whatever. She is looking down the barrel of raising Gordon’s kid, somewhat alongside Barbara, and she is highly interested in Gordon living long enough to be there. When he’s injured, her fears are on the brink of realization, and that’s only the latest in a long-running pattern. He’s practically addicted to nearly getting himself killed. Somehow, something about this needs to change. Something’s gotta give.

Whatever it is, though, after a talk with Alfred about raising kids, Lee is able to commit to standing by Gordon’s side, whatever he does. Which, I suppose, is supposed to make it all the more tragic and tense when Gordon’s heart stops beating and Ivy breaks the syringe with the adrenaline in it. Lee is ready to commit, and Gordon is left to die, even if Ivy is staggering away with a fresh bullet in her.

Gordon spends most of the episode in a delusion of a trial about whether he lives or dies. He is both the defendant and the prosecutor, and the subject matter is all his failures, all the death around him, how Lee has hurt so much because of him, how the people of Haven trusted him and died for it… that sort of thing. But as he is on the brink, he sees Lee holding his baby. He wants to hold the child, but his arms are strapped, so Lee drops the baby to the ground. And Gordon, wanting to be a father, finally wants to live.

Gordon wakes up then, and he immediately asks Lee a very important question.

Elsewhere, Selina has also been dealing with Ivy. Bruce takes her on a surprise date, one where he confesses that he’s been thinking of leaving Gotham, after all the harm he’s inadvertently brought upon it (like Gordon). The discussion barely starts, however, before Ivy interrupts, enthralling Bruce and having a familiar goon try to kill Selina. Selina deals with the goon easily enough, then catches up to Bruce at Fox’s water treatment facility.

Ivy’s plan is to kill everyone and everything that isn’t a plant so the plants can supposedly thrive freely. Not going to work that way, I think, but she’s crazy. Bruce enthralls Fox and the plan proceeds, but Selina knocks Bruce and then Fox back to their senses and they stop it. All is well.

A month later, Gordon and Lee get married. Bullock performs the ceremony, makes it amusing and touching at the same time. Bruce kisses Selina while everyone applauds the bride and groom. Happy moment.

Barbara is less happy. She did as Bullock demanded, keeping the gangs from tearing each other apart (by poisoning and blackmailing them), but it’s just not enough. Penguin thinks she was hoping to convince Gordon that she could be redeemed, but that’ll never happen. So, as the sub slowly progresses, Barbara decides to take the child and leave Gordon behind. He’ll hunt her to the ends of the Earth? Let him.

So… Ivy launches a fairly good plot that gets foiled fairly easily, Gordon has one of the more lackluster inner journey wake-up calls we’ve yet seen and marries Lee, Bruce is thinking about leaving but we know he never will (at least, not for long), and the series finale looms ever closer.

So much ground to cover, so little time!

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