Endings are tricky, and Gotham seems to be going the way of the anticlimactic “just because” route. And they didn’t even touch on Man-Bat! Wat a waste of a tease in last season’s finale!
But Cloak and Dagger picked up the slack, even if it’s still a bit disorienting every time they go with overlapping Ty and Tandy’s scenes, back and forth, back and forth.
5.11 “They Did What?”
The morning after the bombing run, the army has orders to invade, destroy the city, and kill everyone. One officer says, “No.” Bane assumes command and kills him. And the rest of the soldiers, instead of shooting the man who just killed one of their own, meekly fall in line. Just because.
Refugees are pouring into the GCPD from all corners, with the army not far behind. They set up a blockade and Gordon gets every able-bodied refugee into the basement… instead of armed and on the wall and holding the army off. Is it just be, or should that one be a no-brainer?
As Gordon wants to run off to the Sirens, looking for his baby, her mother, and his wife, Selina goes instead, so Gordon can hold down the fort. She finds Lee just coming to, and beholding the utter destruction of the Narrows, so she goes to the precinct to help with the injured, by telling the people giving medical care what to do.
Penguin and Riddler are on the verge of leaving, but Penguin turns back. He still feels for the city, even if he was about to leave it in ruin. But leaving is one thing… leaving and watching it get burnt to the ground, then rebuilt by people who have no connection to it, that is not quite the same. So, he turns and goes back, leaving his dog in Riddler’s hands, because this is him listening to his heart.
Bruce has some toys from Fox, little things that might buy a little time, and one needs every advantage in war. One such: a radar-cloaking device that apparently excites certain animals. Gee, I wonder which animal that would be.
Gordon and Penguin have a moment where Penguin waxes eloquent, convincing Gordon to bring him into the fight with him, and then Riddler shows up to join as well, as the sub takes two people to function anyway. Cue dramatic walk of central cast people through the precinct and to the blockade. They completely ignore the opening scene of the season, but I suppose a lot of things have gone by the wayside already. It felt a bit like we’d gone back to the quality of those very first few episodes, which I did not entirely like.
A few dozen ragtag cops against several hundred trained and armed soldiers, and the cops don’t actually want to hurt the soldiers. They focus their fire on Bane and his cronies. And they’re overwhelmed within moments, including Penguin losing an eye to a grenade. But they still manage an orderly retreat well ahead of the encroaching army. Just because.
Bruce has an idea to buy them a little time, involving taking the core of Jeremiah’s generator and using it as a bomb to bring down the Wayne Enterprises and a few others to block the army’s path. It goes splendidly, and even has a moment where Bruce talks about what this means as a sacrifice for him. Then they turn the bomb on and Bruce says, “We run!” So they run, get out, and the building comes down. Time is bought (though the army gets to the GCPD practically in the same moment that they do).
Bane shows up, intent on death. Bruce and Selina hold their own for a bit, but Bane gets a grip on her neck. But he talks for a moment, giving her a chance to stick him with his own knife, and Bruce uses the radar-cloaking and bat-agitating device, attaching it to Bane. Bats swarm him, and he is defeated, though he just has a few scratches in the next scene and is still leading the charge.
Gordon goes to city hall to take his daughter back. He and Barbara manage to deal with Nyssa’s goons easily enough, but she’s too formidable a fighter. But, with such a clear gap in skill, Gordon gets crafty, cuffing himself to her at their wrists, hindering her, and letting Barbara get in a strike with the knife that she used to kill Ra’s. But Nyssa gets away anyway, and uses the info Barbara gave her to find the sub and leave, with Penguin’s fortune and his dog.
Gordon and what’s left of his men make one last stand in front of the GCPD, to buy time for refugees to escape through tunnels below, which, they probably should have started that earlier. Gordon sends Lee to lead them, and she gets them going and turns around to stand with Gordon, entrusting the refugees to Barbara, who leads them back out to also stand with Gordon, like they probably should have in the first place. Now faced with so many innocent and ragged men, women, and children, including a baby, and with only Bane himself and one of his men still surviving, the army listens to Gordon and turns their guns on Bane, like they should have done in the first place.
So. Much. Just because.
Alfred was down for the fight, and he has a limp and a cane by the end, which explains why he doesn’t go into the field anymore once Bruce becomes Batman.
Barbara named her daughter Barbara Lee Gordon, so her name itself would tell her who she can trust in Gotham.
Gordon got to hold his daughter for the first time and he is named commissioner.
Penguin and Riddler are angry. They just lost everything they had, they get no credit for fighting for Gotham, and they are cast out. Riddler didn’t even feel anything for the people he was fighting beside. So they’ll start again. They’ll make Gotham theirs, and make its people tremble at their names. They could work together… but they won’t. They embrace, with knives ready to kill each other, but they don’t. They part ways, and that is that.
Bruce and Selina have a moment after the battle, where Bruce blames himself, and is haunted by Nyssa’s escape. Selina assures him she’ll always be there for him, which reminds him of his parents, and leans against him.
Afterward, Bruce leaves the city. He tells Alfred goodbye at the airport, the butler staying behind to rebuild what was ruined, and wrote Selina a letter. A letter. He’s supposed to be all grown up now, but sometimes I want to shake some sense into that boy! If he is so set on leaving, fine, but at least tell Selina about it in person! But no, he has to say it in a letter. Just because. Oy vey!
Gotham‘s final climax was a huge letdown, I have to say. They did excellently for four seasons, constantly better and better, with greater and greater heights of tension. But this one? They fumbled.
Well, I suppose there’s still the conclusion to look forward to. The series finale, which will apparently finally usher in the Gotham city we all know and love, wherein its dark knight takes flight.
2.04 “Rabbit Hold”
Sometimes hope is the light found in the darkness, and sometimes hope is the light that enters the darkness.
In the wake of last episode’s ending, we have… fallout. Fallout, fallout, and more fallout. The entire episode is trying to deal with it.
Tandy and Ty warp back to the church, and Tandy is sure they need to get Mayhem back out of wherever she went to, as they need her help to find the other missing girls. Ty doesn’t know if they can, and he certainly can’t seem to do anything about it himself, so Tandy will go in… after tapping into the fear that seems to stimulate the portal’s activation.
Now, this leads into a fascinating glimpse at Ty’s character. He knows Connors is in there somewhere, so he knows his only hope of getting his life back is also locked away in the darkness. He’s sat on that hope for months now, doing nothing about it, because getting what he wants means releasing his most capable enemy, the bogeyman of his childhood. If Connors gets out and goes after Ty’s parents or Evita, and Ty fails to protect them… well, that thought terrifies him. Truly terrifies him.
That’s the thing about love: it means being more afraid for others than for oneself. That’s what people like Connors simply do not get, and it is the lack of love for others in their hearts which makes them so despicable.
The terror of risking harm to his family triggers the shadow portal and Tandy goes in.
She finds herself in a great darkness, her shining dagger the only light to be seen. She stumbles onto a pile of pennies, then the gas station that Mayhem saw before. There, she meets someone. He looks to her like Ty when he was a young kid, but it’s not him, and he freely admits it. “He” is this entity with many names, including St. Peter and Papa Legbi. They seem to settle on calling him Papa Mystery. He guides her into the maze ahead, so she can help Mayhem escape. There’s a viewing stand to look through, which requires Tandy to give up her shining dagger, and it pops out a coin with a dagger on one side and a cloak on the other. She figures out it must mean Ty doesn’t have his powers either. Which, is very bad timing.
See, out in the physical world, the gears are still turning. Brigid is doing what she can to wrap up the case involving the Uptown boys and their victims. Which, pause for a moment here, but the cops are hardly doing a stellar job of it. That, however, is partially because of the rules they play by. In a sentence:
Prostitution is still a crime.
Meaning that these girls who are kidnapped, stolen out of their own lives, pulled into terror and despair, pumped full of drugs and pumped by anyone who can pay for it… are arrested for what was done to them. In short, the victims are treated like criminals. That is just wrong, on so many levels.
For one, it’s an impotent threat and a worthless bargain when the cops arrest a woman for prostitution and offer to drop the charges if she flips on her captors, who will kill her if she does.
For another, there is neither justice nor mercy in it.
And for yet another… it’s impractical, counter-productive, and just plain stupid.
I have no appreciation whatsoever for the practice of prostitution. I believe it is a vile, abhorrent, evil thing and it must be done away with, for the good of all and the improvement of our society. And I believe that morality must play a role in legality, or it will all be worthless rot anyway. However, the law, as it currently stands, makes criminals out of victims, making things all the worse for them, and I cannot say that it saves anyone in the process.
It is one of the most bitter ironies of life that morality in legalized form often leads to little more than suffering. To force one man’s morality on another leads to damnation for all.
Thus, while I hate it, truly, with a deep and abiding disgust for the practice and the sorrow for those caught within it, I must contemplate if things could be better if the law were altered. The point of the law, after all, is to protect the innocent, ensure their rights, and bring justice upon the heads of the guilty. If the law is proving to do more harm than good, then it needs to be changed.
If prostitution were legal, and regulated, then the balance of power would shift. If a girl were stolen from her life, drugged up, beaten, raped, or otherwise mistreated, then she could at least go to the police without being thrown into jail herself. If the law protected these women better, then their handlers would have to treat them better, and they would have to employ girls voluntarily. If their customers could get what they want from one provider without fear of the law, then they would be discouraged from going to less savory corners for the same. And any girl trapped within would have a safe way out.
It would sicken me to condone it, in any way, on any level, and I doubt the girls would suddenly have a wonderful life in their occupation… but if it helps those girls in any way, especially in saving their lives and letting them leave, safely, whenever they like… then how could I say no?
But I have digressed long enough. Back to the story!
While these gangsters are at the police station, they notice a wanted poster with Ty’s face on it. They get his name, pass it via a phone call to their colleagues elsewhere, who use it to get access to his home address… where his mother is. Brigid notices this and calls him, warns him.
Ty’s mother, Adina, is working on something big at the moment. She has files open all over the place. She wants to bring her son, Ty, home, but he’s wanted, and I think I can follow what she’s doing. To bring him home, he needs to be exonerated. Without Connors himself, she’s focusing on that night he killed her son. His uncle fixed that mess for him, so who’s his uncle, and how bad of a man is he? If she can bring down the uncle, she brings down Connors’ version of events that night, which shifts suspicion for an officer’s murder from her son and towards the people responsible, which exonerates him and lets him come home. Something like that, I imagine.
Unfortunately, that means she has to guard what she’s doing, the information she’s gathered, so she has to put the vital bits back into a safe, taking precious time, before they run. But when Ty tries to teleport them out, he can’t do it. It’s that exact moment when Tandy has forfeited her dagger, so Ty loses his cloak as well. He’s left powerless in a dire situation. Fortunately, his mother is equal to the task.
Adina leads the flight out of their house, triggering the alarm to call the cops, and stealing a car. It would seem, much like her husband, Adina has a past which her son knows nothing about. Parents are full of surprises that way. 😉
The pair flee, talk, and have mother-son dynamics of her wanting to protect him and him wanting her to see that he’s not a kid anymore, all at once. They take cover in an old church, rumored to be haunted by three-century-old vampire nuns, and they have a quiet moment to talk for the first time in months.
The vampire-nun story, it would seem, comes from the early days of New Orleans. The French king selected and sent a number of women to the area to help the men breed. The women didn’t know that the were being sent into sexual slavery, really, but the crossing was so harsh on them that their keepers began to feel for them. They were smuggled into the city under cover of night, and then, coincidentally, a number of caskets, which they were sent with, were delivered to the church. So, if I followed that story right, the men who were supposed to sell them decided to rescue them instead, with what they had on hand to work with.
Adina asks where he heard that story and learns about Evita, which makes her smile. She doesn’t like Tandy, the little thief who stole her badge, but she likes what she hears about Evita.
Their respite is interrupted, however, by one of the gangsters from the previous evening. This is the young man whose life Ty saved, by leaping in front of the bullets coming to kill him. The gangster holds them at gunpoint, but he has enough character left to be grateful, and he doesn’t shoot them, though he was torn about it. Ty manages to take the gun, and the gangster actually helps protect them from his gang. He tells his boy when they show up that cops are on the way, and Ty makes that true by calling them himself. Brigid gets a minute to come in and get Adina out, but the cops are ready to murder Ty on the spot.
…and, once again, the timing on Tandy’s part is crucial.
In the darkness, Tandy finds herself at a mall. She and Mayhem find each other easily enough, but finding the way out is trickier. There’s a hall of mirrors between them and the exit, and Mayhem doesn’t cast a reflection. Tandy does. In fact, she has several, and has to choose who she is, or something like that. Thus why Mayhem, only part of a person, doesn’t have one: she has no other sides of herself to come to terms with.
They find where Connors has been squatting, but he’s not there at the moment. Evidently, he is obsessed with Ty, hanging effigies of him all around his space.
They also find a record store with all of the missing girls cataloged, and Tandy’s own painful memories on record. She listens to then, and it tears her apart: when her father didn’t want to look after her because he was working, when she listened to music while they were fighting, when she stepped out a door while they were fighting… her pain is sharp, and she hasn’t really dealt with it.
Mayhem, now, while Tandy is busy, she goes to deal with the one she’s wanted to kill all this time: Connors. She gets him, starts hanging him, but Tandy interrupts. She uses her dagger, which breaks the rules, so the darkness swallows them up and casts them out.
That would be the moment when Ty was waiting, in dread, to be found by the police. He teleports away, to the church, and doesn’t land alone. No sign of Mayhem, if she was pulled out with them or not, but Tandy and Connors are both out, and Connors immediately makes his escape.
So, they’ve no idea yet if they managed to succeed, but they certainly managed to let their enemy out, and they nearly lost everything in the act. Oh, and now Connors knows where to find Ty.
Things are not looking good for our heroes!