Gotham season 5 premiere recap: Year Zero


Gotham returned tonight with an explosive kickoff that set the stage for its final season. Who dies? Who’s M.I.A.? And what’s coming next?

Gotham has fallen into chaos before, but never like this. Welcome to No Man’s Land where factions rule the day, food is running out and help is not coming.

Season five, aka “Legend of the Dark Knight,” begins with a shocking flashforward to Day 391 since the bridges going in and out of Gotham collapsed. Jim, Harvey, Penguin and Riddler are all working together. They join ranks atop a barricade-like building and reign down fire on an enemy force below that looks like it might just be the U.S. military.

What could have happened to unite such an unlikely squad against the government? Well, for one, the government cuts off Gotham from the rest of the world for months.

A new reality

Following the sneak peek of the coming battle, we flashback to Day 87. Jeremiah Valeska hasn’t been sighted in months, but the aftermath of his attacks has left the city at war with itself.

The police are operating out of the precinct and guarding a ten block perimeter. They also took in 150 civilians after the evacuation ended but food and ammo are running low and tensions are rising. Despite Captain Gordon’s desperate pleas over the radio, the government is refusing to let anyone out of Gotham or to send in supplies in.

Penguin is holed up in City Hall with most of Gotham’s ammo at his disposal, courtesy of an armory raid. He’s also dining quite finely while letting his soldiers starve.

Barbara, sporting a pixie cut, and Tabitha are still running The Sirens Club but have altruistically transformed it into a women’s shelter. Men are allowed in if they pay but only for a limited amount of time.

The Riddler, sporting 2000s emo boy band hair, is homeless and struggling to keep his alter ego Ed in check. He thinks Ed is planning something, but memory gaps are interfering with his ability to figure out what that plan might be.

Having been shot by Jeremiah, Selina is paralyzed (presumably from the chest or waist down) and her spine is at risk of collapsing. She consents to have surgery, which successfully repairs her spine, but she knows the paralysis cannot be cured and has fallen into a deep depression.

Bruce and Alfred have remained by her side. However, Selina very understandably can’t help but resent Bruce since Jeremiah only shot her to hurt Bruce. Selina bluntly tells him, “What did me in was being your friend,” and admits that she wishes she’d died.

GOTHAM: Guest star David W. Thompson (R) in the “Year Zero” season premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, Jan. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Giovanni Rufino / FOX

Darkness falls across the land

Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow, leads a two-pronged raiding party. After attacking the GCPD perimeter, he causes a city-wide blackout. His formidable army of minions steals the precious little food the precinct had left and steal pain meds from the clinic where Selina is being treated.

Jim and Bruce fight back at the precinct and clinic respectively but it’s largely too no avail. Determined to help the GCPD and Selina, Bruce calls in a helicopter to deliver supplies, even though doing so is technically against the law now.

Elsewhere, Penguin sends Mr. Penn to bargain with Babs and Tabs: his ammo for their food. Tabitha, still raw from Penguin murdering Butch, tries to turn down the deal but Barbara ultimately agrees to it, though she changes the term to be more in their favor.

In private, Tabitha admits that she wants to kill Penguin and avenge Butch’s murder, even though it would likely be a suicide mission. Barbara is visibly shaken and, in a rare moment of vulnerability, tells Tabitha she needs her.

A deadly standoff

Bruce’s chopper unsurprisingly gets shot down over Gotham. The supplies remain intact, though, which is surprising. It turns out the chopper was shot down by a gang called the “Low Boys” so that they could lay claim to the supplies before anyone else.

However, their plan goes haywire when Penguin arrives, and Penguin’s plan goes haywire when the GCPD arrive. The Low Boys escape but a standoff ensues between the cops and Penguin’s men. Tabs, of course, is next to crash the party and holds Penguin at gunpoint

Penguin tries to lay the blame on her, insisting that she signed Butch’s death warrant the day she killed Gertrude Kapelput, but Tabitha tries to go through with the assassination anyway. Unfortunately, her weapon doesn’t fire properly, and Penguin gains the upper hand. He stabs Tabitha in the heart just as Barbara arrives on the scene.

Tabitha whispers, “Barbara, don’t,” just before she collapses and dies, wanting Barbara to leave and save herself. But Barbara is just as determined to avenge Tabitha’s death as Tabitha was to avenge Butch’s and incites a chaotic gunfight.

Penguin shoots Barbara in the arm, and the GCPD begins to run low on ammo. Luckily, Bruce, operating on his own, breaks into Penguin’s supply truck and steals ammo for the cops. Jim feigns an attempt at bargaining with Penguin, shoots him in the leg and takes all the supplies from the helicopter to the GCPD.

GOTHAM: L-R: Erin Richards and Robin Lord Taylor in the “Year Zero” season premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Thursday, Jan. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Giovanni Rufino / FOX

Back at the precinct, Jim admits to Harvey that he feels guilty for shooting Penguin “without warning,” but Harvey serves up some Game of Thrones realness: “You win or you die.” Jim also talks to Bruce and assures him that he’s “earned a place” at the station, so he doesn’t have to go behind their backs anymore.

When Jim returns to his office, he finds a red “HAHA” smile painted over his map of Gotham, courtesy of one of Jeremiah’s followers, and an incoming message over the radio. The GCPD has “allies across the river.”

At the club, Barbara kisses Tabitha goodbye and vows to kill Penguin.

Hope is the goal

Feeling she has no reason to live, Selina rolls out of bed and tries to kill herself with a scalpel but gets caught by the doctor before she can go through with it. In Camren Bicondova’s most poignant performance to date, Selina screams in frustration and utter despair as she’s dragged back to bed before being sedated.

Bruce is devastated and ready to do anything that will give Selina a reason to hang on. A mysterious nurse, who he’d previously ignored, insists once more that Selina “needs the witch.” Bruce asks where he can find her.

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Meanwhile, back at the precinct, a young boy from across town shows up asking Jim for help on behalf of his family and community before collapsing from exhaustion. Jim tells his officers to “suit up” because the citizens of Gotham need them to serve as a beacon of hope.