After five progressively more bizarre seasons, the gritty and outlandish crime drama recounting Jim Gordon’s early years in the Gotham City Police Department came to a close. For a series inspired by the Batman comic book mythos, it had the unenviable task of ending in a way that would herald the Caped Crusader’s inevitable arrival. While normally a Gotham series without a strong Batman presence would have been tantamount to sacrilege, viewers became invested in the colorful characters that surrounded his origins more than superhero himself.
With Batman not being the main character, certain liberties were taken with the origins of future supervillains like the Riddler, Penguin, the Joker, and others as their storylines took center stage. As the series was brought up right to the time of Bruce Wayne donning the real Batsuit, these villains helped shape a Gotham that demanded his appearance. Gotham has always been a risk-taking series, and some risks paid off in its send-off. Sadly, others fell flatter than a poorly thrown Batarang.
10 Closure: Bruce Wayne Finally Becomes Batman
The focus of Gotham has never been on Batman, but the transformation of a great American city into the sort of urban frontierland that would need a masked hero to save it from the clutches of the world’s most outrageous supervillains. Still, it was appropriate that fans of Gotham City’s journey be rewarded by seeing its savior by the series end.
Bruce Wayne left Gotham City on the cusp of adulthood in search of the abilities and skills that would help him be the protector that Gotham City needed. He returned 10 years later, world weary and ready to be its Dark Knight. Still, it was bittersweet only getting to see him in the Batsuit for a few scenes (and very dimly lit).
9 No Closure: Bruce And Selina's Relationship
The thought of Batman and Catwoman having had a strong connection as young adults Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle makes their future relationship all the more intriguing. It was a point of innovation for Gotham, and was working surprisingly well until Bruce left Selina with no explanation to begin the first stages of his Batman transformation.
By the time Selina sees him again ten years later, he’s no longer the courageous but callow youth of her childhood, but the prodigal son of Gotham returned to defend its honor. The scene of their reunion is shockingly flat, made more so by the fact that they don’t make eye contact or say anything of much meaning.
8 Closure: The Joker
Throughout the entirety of the Gotham series, the “is he or isn’t he” nature of the Joker’s true identity was a source of constant intrigue (or frustration) for fans. As it became clear by Season 4 and 5 that it was Jerome Valeska, the series could focus with more intensity on the time period leading up to him fully embracing his destiny as Batman’s arch nemesis.
Having Jerome be such a fundamental part of Bruce Wayne’s formative years, prior to him becoming the villain that would torment the Dark Knight in hundreds of comics, made the moment showing him cackling above a vat of toxic chemicals in the finale all the more exciting.
7 No Closure: Nyssa Al Ghul
The daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul and half sister of Talia al Ghul, Nyssa al Ghul had last been seen directing Bane like a puppet master, instructing him to pound Bruce Wayne into the ground of Gotham City for taking her father from her. But before Bruce could get his revenge, she escaped Gotham in Riddler and Penguin’s submarine, taking a stab wound despite her hasty exit.
Fans half expected Nyssa might reappear in Gotham City when the finale picked up ten years later, especially after the fateful line she delivered in Episode 10, “The League of Shadows is Everywhere.” Who knows - she may have died from her wound, or she may have spent the last ten years recruiting more assassins and henchmen for a master plan.
6 Closure: Jim Gordon
Aside from being Batman’s friend and mentor, Jim Gordon was a tough cop trying to shine light on the dark patches of Gotham City, vainly hoping to eradicate its criminal element in true hard boiled detective fashion. Sadly, the problems got bigger, the crimes got weirder and a “regular cop” couldn’t be the hero Gotham needed anymore.
Gotham’s finale saw Jim Gordon finally get his commissioner title, after having fought in a Gotham City-turned-warzone brought on by isolation from the rest of the US and packs of roving supervillain gangs taking control. His appointment is well deserved, and comes with appropriate battle scars.
5 No Closure: No Worthy Batman-Joker Confrontation
Jerome’s transformation into the Joker has been something of a slow burn on Gotham, with the focus on showcasing the aspects of his personality that ingratiated him to Bruce Wayne as a young adult. It makes his final descent into madness all the more heartbreaking, for viewers and for Bruce.
In the series finale, fans may have been waiting for an epic showdown between the Joker and Batman but it wasn't possible, given that no plot time has been created for it. With no build up over the ten year absence of Bruce Wayne as he transforms into the Caped Crusader, the best fans could hope for was a remote takedown, which rang hollow. It’s all or nothing with a Batman and Joker battle.
4 Closure: The Riddler And Penguin
Two of the standout supervillains to emerge from Gotham also happen to be two of Batman’s biggest enemies; Edward Nigma aka The Riddler, and Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin. Throughout the five seasons, they matured into the deranged fiends they were meant to be, and then didn’t stop.
By the time the “No Man’s Land” plotline concludes with Episode 11 and Gotham City is overrun with gangs of criminals (not unlike in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises), they are at their brightly-dressed, maniacal best, screaming and laughing with unrestrained delight at the chaos around them, and it is delightful to see.
3 No Closure: Ecco
It came as quite a shock to fans of Ecco, Jerome’s partner in crime, when a rogue bullet from his gun struck her down during the kidnapping of Jim Gordon’s daughter. Ecco had slowly been evolving, in action and appearance, into what fans assumed would be Harley Quinn, the Joker’s on-again-off-again girlfriend and partner from Batman: The Animated Series and Suicide Squad.
However, this wasn’t meant to be, and the vivacious woman who had only recently been twirling around on roller skates wearing a red and black harlequin-inspired ensemble would be killed heartlessly by the man she had become obsessed with. This left room for Jerome, as the Joker, to find his one true Harley.
2 Closure: Barbara Kean
Viewers have never known what to make of Barbara Kean, Jim Gordon’s former fiancée turned self-titled “Queen” of Gotham City’s Underworld. Initially introduced as his stay-at-home socialite girlfriend who drifted through art galleries and was half owner of a nightclub, she became increasingly unhinged, eventually training under supervillain Ra’s Al Ghul.
It seemed that the creative team might have intended for her to emerge as a famous supervillain herself at one time, but that never happened. Somehow, closure came for Barbara in the finale, when it was revealed she co-parented Jim’s child.
1 No Closure: Two-Face
Unlike Penguin, Riddler and Joker, Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face) never got a chance to take center stage among Batman’s Rogue Gallery of villains on Gotham. Though the production was loaded with many of the Dark Knight’s famous foes, Two-Face was one of his most memorable, because Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne had been friends.
Showrunner John Stephens has come forward saying it was hard to find the right way to work Two-Face into the plot of the series, because he only gains prominence when Bruce Wayne is already the Dark Knight. Still, with the way the series played around with other villain’s origin stories, it seems like something could have been done to include him.