Gotham: 5.01 Legend of the Dark Knight: Year Zero
Gotham returns in what is already confirmed as its final season. As a result of the previous season finale, Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne are left behind to face the chaos Gotham has become.
Year Zero begins on day 361, showing a fierce Jim Gordon suiting up with Gotham’s other left behind heroes as they all face an onslaught of soldiers. Assuming this was a teaser of what was to come in this new post-apocalyptic like Gotham, the episode moves back to what must be assumed as current day, day 81. Given that Gotham is now separated from the rest of the world having had its bridges blown, the city is now a survival zone, and the fact the audience is presented with a day count contributes all the more towards it emphasising the struggle.
The show’s most prominent characters all stayed behind amidst the chaos that ensued. In the interest of helping the people of Gotham that couldn’t escape, the sick, the hungry, the poor, families and children are all left to fend from themselves for food, medicine and shelter. A desperate Gordon pleads over radio with the government to aid them with evacuating the city, or even providing supplies, all this to no avail; they’re alone. It would just be a survival story if not for the unfortunate amount of villains left to ransack the city.
The show’s former villains, now escaped from prison and loose to add to the havoc, have each secured their own areas of the city. I couldn’t help but think of The Hunger Games when Jim Gordon was explaining what sections are being run by whom. Each villain along with the GCPD have been left to survive in Gotham, having limited supplies, ammo being the new currency, and just the challenge of out-living the others.
Of course, we’re talking about villains here, so there is no play fair. We see the extent of the struggle when Scarecrow and his ghouls lead a raid to take supplies and medicines. Another show down with Jim Gordon thankfully limits his success but the most exciting part of this raid was something more subtle. With Scarecrow’s team having blown the lights, Bruce Wayne takes a pair of night-vision goggles and takes out some of the men in dark. We know already Batman adopted the dark; this may have been a tribute to that fact.
We see a different side to Selina in this episode, historically always a deviant and menacing individual, we see her undergoing a spinal operation despite knowing she will never walk again. A fragile and defeated Selina is unsuccessful in her attempt to end her own life. A dark and upsetting twist to this season opener.
Year Zero has its action moments, Bruce Wayne manages to arrange a chopper to bring some supplies (it pays to be a billionaire). However, in what was the episode's most predictable moment, the chopper was shot down by others desperate to improve their own living standards. The effects and cinematography of this episode were fantastic and, at times, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a movie.
Series Five’s opening episode was really about setting the scene, characters all finding their feet amidst the recent chaos and the audience learning about the lack of hierarchy in the new free-for-all Gotham. Year Zero does pull it off brilliantly, the audience needs to see Gotham is now about survival; message received indeed.
Danny Cannon has done a great job directing this opening episode and if the rest of the season emulates this standard then I think we are about to see Gotham’s finest season.