Gotham: Year Zero review S5 E1

No Man’s Land is the ideal story arc for a Batman TV series. Christopher Nolan did a commendable job on a Cliff Notes version of it in The Dark Knight Rises, but to really do it justice the storyline needs dedicated hours to conveying Gotham’s bleakest moment. Based on the Year Zero, the first episode of Gotham’s final season, this is going to be a fun ride.  

It’s nearly Day 400 of No Man’s Land and Gordon, Bullock, Penguin and Riddler are preparing for a final stand. Surprisingly, they’re all on the same side as they’re fighting off an army that even has tanks!

That’s the end point. First, let’s backtrack to earlier in No Man’s Land.

By Day 87, Gordon sees exactly how bad the situation could get and is now pleading with government officials for help. That rousing speech about sticking around might have worked in the middle of the evacuation, but with supplies running thin, patience is also fading.

Gotham’s criminals have carved up districts throughout the city. Penguin has seized City Hall. Scarecrow controls his turf, Mr. Freeze and Firefly are at war. Barbara is one of the few that hasn’t lacked for supplies as Sirens is the getaway spot. Even men can enjoy the fun for limited blocks of hours provided they have useful information. So far, Jeremiah hasn’t been seen.


Riddler keeps waking up in strange locations. He’s convinced Ed is taking over and bringing him to these odd places. Is Ed trying to find Lee or some supply cache?

Selina didn’t actually make it out and her condition has gotten worse. She needs surgery. Over the course of these weeks her mood has gotten increasingly bitter and she’s starting to lash out at Bruce.

Gotham really nails the sense of hopelessness and the power brokers not caring about the condition of the people affected by their actions. They couldn’t have foreseen this of course, but this No Man’s Land storyline feels especially timely in the middle of the government shutdown.

Penguin proposes a trade with Barbara — bullets for steak. He’s got a Eugene on his side that’s been able to create a bullet making factory. The only problem is the malnourished workers are getting sloppy resulting in a number of misfiring bullets.

Naturally, Tabitha wants nothing to do with Penguin. She’s still focused on avenging Butch. Barbara is thinking big picture and those bullets will come in handy for the women who come to Sirens looking for safety.

gotham year zero reviews - scarecrow and his crows

Scarecrow makes a big play and invades GCPD turf to steal supplies. Gotham has done an amazing job on his costume. It looks just like the comic. Gotham’s taken a ton of liberties with characters, but they’ve quietly done right by a number of them specifically Riddler, Scarecrow, Firefly, Poison Ivy, Penguin and The Joker.

Bruce is getting into Batman mode, taking out Scarecrow’s men with night vision goggles and wins until someone turns on a light. It’s kinda fun seeing Bruce starting to get the hang of silent attacks and using the night and shadows as a tool. With the medicine stolen, Bruce calls in to have a helicopter deliver supplies.

Gordon warns this won’t be a long-term fix as the government will strictly enforce its no fly-zone if one makes it through. But for the increasingly depressed and suicidal Selina, Bruce is willing to make the risk. One of the nurses stresses to Bruce that Selina can’t be healed by traditional means and needs the witch to help her. Who could that be?

Penguin is being a complete tool eating steak and giving it to his dog when it’s over cooked. Tabitha and Penguin both hear the chopper as Bruce and Gordon are shocked to see someone shoot it down.

Given his resources it’s not surprising Penguin arrives first and guns down the Lo Bos, who apparently shot down the chopper. During the standoff with Gordon’s men, Penguin’s crew gets ambushed by Tabitha. She gets the jump on them quickly enough to shoot Penguin, but the bullet she grabbed was one of Penguin’s faulty ones.

Not one to ruin this kind of luck, Penguin gloats as he puts his knife through Tabitha’s chest and kills her. Somehow I don’t think this is going to result in the typical Gotham resurrection. Barbara arrives and is pissed.

Bruce has been watching all this play out from the shadows and finds Penguin’s ammo truck. He’s not going to use the guns himself, but gives Gordon and crew a box to arm them. Gordon’s crew wins this shootout and takes all the supplies back to the police district.

gotham year zero reviews - bruce on the run

Gordon doesn’t even bother chiding Bruce, instead saying he’s welcome anytime he wants to help. He’s earned a place here. The one thing I hope gets resolved soon is Bruce coming up with some sort of disguise. People would remember the highly proficient combat billionaire when Batman eventually shows up.

At the station, Jeremiah’s right hand woman, Echo observes Gordon’s map just as a lady radios. She tells Gordon that Gotham has support on the outside and they will help. Just then he notices ha ha ha written on the map. That wasn’t a subtle message at all.

No Man’s Land gets going on an exciting note with a promise of what’s to come and establishing the bleak landscape in store for the season.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Fox