Gotham has finally unleashed Shane West's incarnation of Bane and is taking heavy inspiration from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Introduced as Eduardo Dorrance, Gotham's Bane initially had very little in common with the classic Batman villain and altered Dorrance's backstory in a way that made him a former military colleague of Jim Gordon's.
Unmasked and seemingly on Gordon's side, the ex-soldiers worked side-by-side in pursuit of the Riddler, before it was ultimately revealed that Dorrance had been playing Jim all along and had his own, significantly more sinister, agenda in mind. This was a radical departure from Tom Hardy's infamously hard-to-understand iteration of the character. Following a model more in line with the comic books, Hardy's Bane came straight from a foreign prison, trained to the extreme both physically and mentally. His intention: to break both the Batman and Gotham City.
While Gotham's Bane still has a wildly different background, more recent developments have made the character more recognizable to comic fans, but perhaps even more recognizable to those who watched The Dark Knight Rises.
In this week's episode, Eduardo Dorrance squared off with his old pal, Jim Gordon, in a bare knuckle fist fight that was dripping in testosterone. During this sequence, Dorrance revealed that, after Gordon left the army, his unit was taken to the brutal Pena Duro prison and only Dorrance himself was able to survive the torturous treatment and grim conditions. This brings the character more in line with previous iterations, including that of Tom Hardy.
After plenty of sparring, both physical and verbal, Gordon manages to impale Dorrance onto a conveniently-placed spike, seemingly killing him, and it's here that the parallels to The Dark Knight Rises really begin to emerge.
Gotham had already established that Dorrance was working under the instruction of a mystery woman called Theresa Walker - a shady political type that initially posed as a friend to Jim Gordon. However, when the fight between the two men shifted from the "exhausted punching" phase and into "shameless exposition," Dorrance revealed to Gordon that Theresa's true goal was to destroy Gotham City and its abundance of criminals. After Gordon emerged victorious from his battle, Theresa arrived on Gotham in the flesh for the first time.
Seeing Dorrance clinging to life, Theresa reveals that her plan has been exposed (due to the efforts of Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox earlier in the episode) and gave Dorrance the iconic Bane mask, telling him that he would not die just yet. The scene was eerily reminiscent of Marion Cotillard's Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. Tom Hardy's Bane was presented as utterly subservient to Talia after protecting her in prison when she was still young, and it's Talia that is ultimately revealed as the architect of Bane's invasion of Gotham City and the puppeteer behind the man who broke the Bat.
This seems almost identical to Theresa Walker's role in Gotham. Eduardo Dorrance appears completely devoted to Theresa, and she, in turn, calls him her "warrior." The reveal of Theresa as the mastermind responsible for Bane's attack in Gotham mirrors that of Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises, as does the symbiotic relationship both women have with their respective versions of Bane. Interestingly, both of these stories also use "No Man's Land" as a basis for their narrative, with each version of Bane terrorizing an isolated Gotham City at the behest of a female handler.
This begs the question of whether Gotham's Theresa Walker is actually Talia al Ghul. In The Dark Knight Rises, Talia's mission is to finish her father's work and destroy the city. On TV, Theresa's determination to see through her plan is far more feverish and devious than that of a regular agent of the U.S. government and there surely has to be a deeper motivation behind her attempts to wipe Gotham City off the map. Since Gotham's version of Ra's al Ghul has already tried to decimate the city and was "killed" for his efforts, it's not unreasonable to think that Theresa could have a similar motivation to that of Marion Cotillard's Talia.
Even if Theresa and Talia are not one and the same, however, the similarities between Gotham season 5 and The Dark Knight Rises are still numerous, with a very similar approach to the character of Bane, a shady mysterious femme fatale working in the background and the same "No Man's Land" backdrop to the action.
Gotham season 5 continues with "Ace Chemicals" February 21st on Fox.