The fifth and final season of Fox's Batman prequel, Gotham, promises lots of big moments for fans of Batman's iconic imagery. The twelve-episode season (given a boost from the initial order of ten episodes), subtitled "Legend of the Dark Knight," begins with the city plunged into a familiar scenario for comic book fans; drawing inspiration from the famous comic book arc, No Man's Land, this season sees Gotham cut off from the rest of the world, with the various gang factions having taken over the city.
During our visit to the set of this final batch of episodes, we spoke to the cast of the series about the finality of "Legend of the Dark Knight." This is their final opportunity to make a mark on the Batman mythos; the train is nearing the end of the line. As Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) remarked with a combination of mischief and melancholy, "The clock is ticking. I can hear it."
Series lead Ben McKenzie has written and directed episodes of Gotham. He's the face of the show, a young Jim Gordon who exists in a broken city, corrupted by villains, which has yet to receive deliverance in the form of Batman, a dark spirit of vengeance who strikes fear into the very heart of evil. However, the time is drawing near when Batman will finally make his presence known, and Gotham has long been sowing the seeds of this inevitable destiny. Of the show's imminent conclusion, McKenzie says:
A lot of the questions that we get asked at Comic Con are, like, “When are you going to do this, when are you going to do that?” Well, right damn now, we’re going to do them, because we don’t have any more time. John Stevens and the writers have created a pretty great template for No Man’s Land, in which all hell breaks loose, but also a plan throughout the ten episodes (later expanded to twelve) to sprinkle in various things the fans want to see in a way that pays off. In a way that doesn’t just feel like lip service.
So many shows are unceremoniously cancelled, with unresolved cliffhangers and bitterly disappointed fandoms. It's nice that Gotham has been given an entire season to wrap up its story, twelve episodes with which to ramp up and conclude the story they started back in 2014. Throughout the series, audiences have seen glimmers of the future, or rather, of the recognized imagery from Batman comics. There have been hints of the relationship between Gordon and Batman, and the show has clearly been building towards this, the final culmination of everything the show has been up to this point.
Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin, sums up the excitement:
Old grudges between characters are coming to a head, alliances are being made between people that would have never happened before, but are forced out of necessity. We’re in a place, now that Gotham is cut off, where everyone is scrambling. Everyone’s on the razor’s edge. It’s leaning into the heightened drama. It feels like you’re reading a comic book and it’s leaping off the page. No holds barred. It’s exhilarating.
If all goes according to plan, by the time the credits roll on the show's 100th and final episode, audiences will have experienced a truly unique story: a completely new take on the legendary mythology of one of pop culture's most iconic characters, but with plenty of crowd-pleasing moments that any Batman fan would naturally expect to see.
Gotham season 5 premieres January 3 on Fox.