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Major spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Gotham Season 5, called “Pena Dura.”
Gotham fans have known for a while that the fifth and final season would introduce the legendary Batman baddie known as Bane. He was much hyped ahead of the premiere as well as in trailers for the new season, so some were a bit surprised that he didn’t show up in one of the first few episodes.
Well, “Pena Dura” finally delivered Bane, although he doesn’t yet have the iconic Bane mask. Just as characters like Batman and Penguin are getting their origin stories on Gotham, so too is Bane. Here’s how he debuted.
The bad guy who will come to be known as Bane goes by the name of Eduardo Dorrance, and he’s a former army buddy of Jim’s. He and a bunch of fellow soldiers arrived in Gotham City from the mainland, armed to the teeth and aiming to take out the criminals that have overrun the city. Eduardo quite literally drops in on Jim when he and Harvey were on the hunt for the source of the RPG that blew up Haven.
A group of bad guys got the jump on Jim and Harvey, and the good guys were facing all but certain death until a group of soldiers broke through the glass skylight and took out their opponents. Jim was happy to see his old friend, whose life he had saved back in the day. The camaraderie would have been touching to see… if only it hadn’t been announced that this guy was going to be Bane.
Despite their apparent friendship, Jim and Eduardo weren’t entirely on the same page. Jim wanted relief for the people of Gotham in the form of supplies and aid, but Eduardo had been sent on a military mission, and that mission was to take down the criminal element before dispensing relief.
Given that Jim has enough of a relationship with most of the big bads of Gotham City that there’s usually at least a conversation before the bullets start flying, it’s easy to see why he would care more about helping the suffering people than chasing Penguin and his dog at City Hall. Eduardo was sent by Theresa Walker on a military mission, though.
Still, Jim and Eduardo were aligned in the hunt for Ed Nygma, who they’d discovered was responsible for firing the RPG at Haven and killing 300 people. They did manage to track him down, but he was convinced that he hadn’t been acting of his own volition when he did the awful deed, and he managed to at least kinda convince Jim that something was off.
Good old Ed didn’t exactly help his cause when he then armed a bomb under the floor and trapped Jim and Eduardo, but a villain can only be so altruistic in a particular episode, right? Eduardo turned his attention to an assault on City Hall, with a bunch of soldiers and Harvey at his side.
Ed, who dropped by to falsely accuse Penguin of forcing him to fire the RPG and then shared a promise with Penguin that they would betray each other to their faces if they ever fought again, only just escaped. Penguin’s bravado as the person sitting on the most ammo in Gotham City evaporated after a bunch of Eduardo’s snipers took out his men. Eduardo seemed like a great friend to have.
Naturally, it all went sideways. After Jim discovered that Hugo Strange had been the one to mess with Ed, he went after the not-so-good doctor, who had opened up Ed’s head to tweak the chip he’d implanted in his brain when he saved his life back at the end of Season 4, at the behest of Penguin, as it turns out! The big question was who had paid Strange for control of Ed.
Alas for Jim and his friendship with his old army buddy, Eduardo revealed that he and Walker had control of Ed the whole time. He didn’t explain why they would want to blow up hundreds of innocent people; instead, he told Jim that he had to kill a deactivated and seemingly catatonic Ed as a show of loyalty to Walker.
Jim, being Jim, refused and tried to appeal to Eduardo as a friend, who said that he had to kill Jim if Jim didn’t kill Ed. His appeal was enough to at least delay Eduardo from killing him, and it was enough time for Jim to make a run for it and escape down a corpse chute in a truly Gotham style of escape.
Jim is in the wind and knows that Eduardo is not to be trusted. Eduardo reactivated Ed’s chip and told him to use his knowledge of Jim and the city to find Jim and kill him. Jim won’t go quietly, and while Eduardo has resources, Gotham is Jim’s city. I won’t have any trouble believing it when something presumably goes wrong, ending Eduardo and creating the Bane who breaks backs.
Interestingly, in this version of Batman’s origin story, the back to be broken won’t be the one that diehard comics fans expect. What’s not clear at this point is what happens to Eduardo that he requires the mask and goes full Bane or when the twist will happen. Five episodes have aired so far out of a total of 12 episodes, so a lot is going to have to happen in not a lot of time. We have to assume that Walker will make an appearance in the flesh as well.
Bane is only one of the baddies who will presumably make life even tougher for the good guys of Gotham moving forward. Jeremiah -- or whatever this third Cameron Monaghan character will be - and Ecco are dangerous variables to have in the wind, Selina isn’t coming back from her darkness, and Ed has a chip in his head that removes his free will. Bruce is well on his way to becoming Batman, and for all we know, Babs has a baby Batgirl on board thanks to her hookup with Jim. Oh, Gotham. Never change.