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Recap / Gotham S 5 E 12 The Beginning

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The series flash-forwards 10 years into the future, as Bruce is set to return to Gotham for the opening of the new Wayne Tower. A series of crimes leads Gordon to believe Penguin and The Riddler are up to their old tricks. However, when Bullock is framed for a murder, Gordon begins to piece together an even more sinister plot targeting the city, and a new figure emerges from the shadows to be the hero Gotham desperately needs.

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Tropes

  • Adult Fear: Jeremiah kidnaps Barbara Lee, hanging her over the deadly chemicals, where Gordon has to quickly grab onto the rope that's holding her.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Selina tells Bruce that she didn't want to be protected, she just wanted him.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • Aubrey James, not seen since Season 3, became Mayor of Gotham again at some point during the Time Skip.
    • Jeremiah, having been seemingly comatose for half the season, comes back for one last hurrah.
  • Call-Back:
    Barbara: Didn't you try this already?
    Riddler: It's a callback!
    • Penguin tries to kill Gordon on the same dock Gordon refused to kill him on back in the pilot.
    • Also back to the pilot, Alfred quotes the words of encouragement Gordon gave Bruce in the alley after his parents' deaths, while watching the spotlight shine.
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  • Cynicism Catalyst: Bruce leaving her behind caused Selina to return to her thieving ways and seems to have soured her relationship with Alfred.
  • Dawn of an Era: As the title suggests, the Dark Knight of Gotham will finally rise.
  • Distant Finale: Aside from a scene before the opening title shot, the episode takes place 10 years after the previous one.
  • The Dreaded: Over five seasons, the Penguin and the Riddler have both been seen to be exceedingly dangerous individuals who represent real threats. After meeting the newly-arrived vigilante once, merely seeing his silhouette in the distance (after their escape from GCPD Prisoner Transport) is enough to make them shut up ranting about getting revenge. Instead they decide to make themselves scarce for the evening and worry about revenge "tomorrow."
  • Eureka Moment: After the bomb is defused, Lucius states that the model of the Clock Tower on the table is the old version of the building. Jim realizes this plan was set up a long time ago by someone working from the past...like Jeremiah.
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  • Event Title: Referring to Bruce's first day as Batman.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The newspaper that Ed tries reading over the Arkham guard's shoulder is dated: "Monday, April 15," which means the year is 2019, setting the series time-frame to be 2005-2009.
  • Frame-Up: Jeremiah frames Harvey for shooting an unarmed suspect, and sets up Penguin so he looks like the one responsible for enabling Riddler to blow up Wayne Tower.
  • The Ghost: The adult Bruce never appears as himself, just Batman.
  • Go Out with a Smile: After being shot by Jeremiah, Ecco dies with a final Slasher Smile.
  • Grand Finale: The final episode of a five season long series.
  • Has Two Mommies: Since ten years ago, little Barbara Lee has not just a father (Jim) but two mothers: one birth mother (Barbara) and one foster mother (Lee).
  • Heel–Face Turn: During the Time Skip, Barbara sincerely turned her life around.
  • Hero of Another Story: There's clearly a larger criminal plot playing out in the background of the events of this episode. Bruce and Jeremiah are playing a game cat and mouse, and we only see the aspects of it that involve Gordon and his family.
  • Idiot Ball: As Gordon points out, Penguin trying to kill him at a pier where he could easily jump into the water and escape wasn't the brightest choice.
  • Impaled Palm: Bruce sends a Batarang through Jeremiah's hand, whose only reaction is to laugh.
  • Ironic Episode Title: This is the show's Grand Finale.
  • Karma Houdini: Barbara was apparently forgiven for her numerous past crimes and became a successful business woman, rivaling Wayne Enterprises. By contrast Penguin and Riddler were sent to Blackgate and Arkham respectively not long after Bane and Nyssa were sent packing — Penguin is very bitter about this.
  • Little Miss Badass: Barbara Lee's reaction to a lunatic and his equally deranged sidekick taking her mother hostage? Throwing something heavy at the latter and trying to attack the former.
  • Mook Horror Show: Fittingly for his first major outing, Gotham's new arrival puts the fear of God in Penguin and Riddler as he's capturing them.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Due to losing it in the last episode, Penguin gets an artificial right eye, like in the comics.
    • At the start of the episode, Gordon has a mustache, like his comic counterpart, though he quickly shaves it.
    • Penguin, Riddler, and Jeremiah all wear outfits that look almost exactly like their comic counterparts. Selina does also, though missing the comic suit's ears.
    • Barbara's hair is now bright red like her daughter's in the comics. Interestingly, she closely resembles Dina Meyer.
    • Jeremiah stops pretending to be braindead in reaction to Bruce returning to Gotham, just like how in The Dark Knight Returns the Joker emerges from actual catatonia in response to Batman returning to action.
    • After killing Ecco, Jeremiah notes he can find someone else, in a clear reference to how she's a prototype for Harley Quinn.
    • Penguin and the Riddler's first encounter with the Dark Knight involves him crashing down on the roof of Penguin's limo, just as he did on Falcone's limo his first night out as Batman in Batman Begins.
    • When trying to figure out a new name, Jeremiah considers possibilities starting with "Jack". Jack Napier was one of the real names of the Joker on film and in the comics.
      • For that matter, another he considers is John.
    • Ecco disguises herself as an Arkham nurse when she assists Jeremiah, a reference to her counterpart's former job as an Arkham employee.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever landed Oswald in Blackgate, and presumably got Riddler sent to Arkham, happened six months after the battle against Bane's forces and is never elaborated on.
  • Not Me This Time: The GCPD initially assume that Penguin is the one who broke Riddler out of Arkham and is planning to blow up Wayne Tower. When he expresses confusion at this, Gordon immediately figures out that he's innocent.
  • Secret Keeper: Their conversation after the Cowled Crimefighter captures Penguin and Riddler makes it clear that like in the comics, Alfred and Lucius know exactly what Bruce is up to. Selina has figured it out, on her own, as her conversation with the mysterious stranger is exactly what she would have said to Bruce's face. Given his reaction to being attacked, Jeremiah possibly realizes it was Bruce. And finally Gordon makes a comment about how Bruce has seemed to be very busy over the last few days, implying he also suspects the truth.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The all-time master of this trope makes his full debut in this episode, so of course it happens several times.
  • That Man Is Dead: Jeremiah refuses to acknowledge his old name, though he hasn't quite taken the name of the Joker yet.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Selina is now played by Lili Simmons. (Camren Bicondova stated it was her own decision as she didn't think she could be believable as a Selina about to hit 30).
  • Time Skip: The opening scene is set immediately after last episode, before the 10 year jump kicks in.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Riddler is reduced to being this for Jeremiah.
  • Vigilante Man: Gotham City's Caped Crusader is finally here.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Selina gives a heartbreaking one to Bruce, calling him out for abandoning her and apparently not contacting her at all during the last 10 years.
  • Where It All Began: Invoked by Penguin, who tries to kill Gordon on the same docks where Gordon spared his life back in the pilot.
  • Wire Dilemma: With the bomb planted in the model clock tower. Trained surgeon Lee is the one who winds up defusing it.
  • The Worf Effect: As noted, both Ed and Oswald have been the Big Bad for more than one story arc over the five seasons. However, whoever the mysterious new "friend" in Gotham is, the two of them get taken out and tied up for the GCPD to find in a matter of moments.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Jeremiah attempts to burn Barbara Lee in the Ace Chemicals vats as part of a twisted revenge against Bruce for leaving.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Ecco is seriously wounded by Barbara, Jeremiah decides to just finish her off.
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