How Gotham Wrapped Up All The Characters' Stories Ahead Of Its Wild Finale

bruce wayne screaming gotham
(Image credit: fox press)

Major spoilers below for the penultimate episode of Gotham's final season.

For all intents and purposes, Gotham could have used the episode "They Did What?" to end its five-season run and I would have walked away an extremely happy fan. With its long-awaited showdown at last granting Gotham City the reconstruction period it needed (and deserved), the episode was both a fitting reminder of Gotham's weird and wonderful journey, and also a punctuation mark signaling a new era in the many characters' lives.

Thankfully, Gotham gets to deliver one more hour of balls-out theatrics when its proper Batman-infused finale airs, showing fans what this series might have looked like had it been allowed to return for more. Before that distant flash-forward arrives, though, let's look at the many ways Gotham wrapped up its standard timeline.

general wade on walkie gotham season 5

General Wade - Dead

All season long, General Wade has been lodged in Jim Gordon's craw, and he remained there as Nyssa al Ghul's brainwashed minion in "They Did What?" First, he held Jim and Barbara's captive child right in front of them while standing on a staircase, causing me to wonder if being brainwashed negates one's klutzier tendencies. In any case, Nyssa made Wade put a bullet through his own head, meaning no one could call off the army's attack on Gotham City.

Harvey Bullock - Alive and Probably Drunk

When Gotham started up five seasons ago, I fully expected Donal Logue's Bullock to turn into a half-villainous wretch that would get killed off midway through. He did have past phases where his morals and loyalty lost their standings, but Bullock remained by Jim's side throughout the entire barrier defense standoff and then some, holding down the fort when Jim went to go check on his kid. True to form, he was right there to watch Jim get named the new GCPD Commissioner...before tearfully bowing out to get a drink.

Lee Thompkins - Alive and Happy

It's always weird when Gotham makes a passing reference to something that happened in previous seasons without acting as if it's gobstoppingly ludicrous. That happened in "They Did What?" when Lee's stint in the Narrows got referenced. Admittedly, Morena Baccarin didn't have much to do in the pre-finale, though she was proud to see Jim get promoted. Plus, she'll now have a Gordon-spawned child running around out there with her first name as its middle name – Barbara Lee Gordon – so that's something to be proud of.

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Alfred Pennyworth - Alive and Rebuilding

Though it appeared Bane had completely broken the Wayne family butler Knightfall-style, Alfred survived his attack seemingly without any long-lasting injuries. (As if facial scars will do anything but make Sean Pertwee look more dignified and badass.) His bond with Bruce was at an all-time-strong point, but Alfred was inevitably left alone to his own devices, with Bruce taking an extended pilgrimage. Alfred now has to keep busy by rebuilding Wayne Tower née Enterprises, along with other Wayne-related duties. Don't be surprised if Wayne Manor ends up with two multiple wings devoted to Alfred and his harem.

bane gotham

(Image credit: fox press)

Bane - Alive and Incarcerated

The reign of Bane did not fall mainly on the plain, but instead up and down the streets of Gotham City. His street fight with Bruce and Selina didn't exactly end in anyone's irreversible defeat, but was still pretty fun to watch, even if I overly worried about Selina's skull. Most importantly for Batman purposes, Bruce used a piece of Lucius-Tech to draw a huge number of bats out to attack Bane's face. What's more, it's part of Lucius' next-gen surveillance gear going by the name "Nightwing Project."

Later in the ep, Bane had a literal army at his back, but do I think all those soldiers were fringe lunatics for ever following Bane's instructions for as long as they did? Well, maybe. Regardless, after the army made the oh-so-bold decision to refrain from killing a bunch of civilians, Bane and his main henchman were forced to surrender. It's not clear what Gotham City's jail situation was like, though, so hopefully someone found a cell ju-u-ust strong enough to hold him until ten minutes into the finale.

Nyssa al Ghul - Injured and AWOL

If Ra's al Ghul was around to witness his daughter's revenge mission, he would have dipped his head back down into the Lazarus Pit to avoid looking at her with shame. She did a fine job of wreaking destruction upon Gotham City, which was indeed part of her point, but she did a shit job of actually making Barbara and Bruce pay for her father's death. Or even making them feel slightly repentant about it.

Nyssa clearly didn't learn any lessons from how Ra's died, either, considering she got stabbed with the same blade by the same assailant. Good on Barbara to note that, but then shame on Barbara for impulsively blabbing to Nyssa about Penguin's submarine while trying to gain leverage. With a wound in her side, Nyssa later found that submarine and assumedly sought refuge somewhere outside of Gotham's reconstruction. However, what fans REALLY want to know is, what happened to Oswald's dog Ed?

the riddler in bowler hat gotham

Edward Nygma - Alive and in Full Riddler Mode

More so than Oswald even, Ed seemed determined to put Gotham City in his rear view mirror, an attachment that wouldn't be much use in a submarine. However, Ed wasn't ready to make his big exit without his best friend and worst nemesis by his side. As such, he was one of Gotham City's 31-strong squadron that held off Bane's army. Unfortunately for everyone else, it wasn't Ed who emerged from No Man's Land but his more dastardly alter ego The Riddler.

As Ed put it to Oswald, he felt nothing so altruistic by defending the city alongside others, and he will no longer be relegated to the life of a common criminal. Now, Ed aims to make the city "bow to The Riddler." Many props go to Cory Michael Smith for his gruffed-out performance in that final scene. Best line: "I only came back to help him save this city so that I could TAKE IT FOR MYSELF!" Watch out now!

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Oswald Cobblepot - Alive with a Particular Injury

Considering the previous trailers heavily played up Oswald's to team up with Jim Gordon to save Gotham City, the episode needed something special to really take the character to a place that would set up his transformation for the big finale. That moment came during the bullet-heavy showdown, when Oswald's eye was gravely injured by a grenade explosion. (Plus, the episode's biggest laugh came when Oswald got Ed's stuttered opinion about his ghoulish wound.)

Clearly, Gotham is using this as a stepping stone to introduce Oswald's monocle, which The Penguin has been sporting since first appearing in Detective Comics in the 1940s. In fact, you can even see him wearing the monocle in the new series finale trailer that was released. And though he started off pledging allegiance to Jim Gordon, he ends the episode once again set to destroy Gordon and everything the new commissioner holds dear. No one really thought he and Ed were going to take each other out, right?

Barbara Kean - Alive and Motherly

Despite Jim and Lee having some pretty valid concerns about Barbara as a mother, Barbara proved herself to be a fierce and loving mom to the baby girl who was born shortly before being kidnapped by Nyssa al Ghul. Is Barbara still happy to do some stabbing if the situation presents itself? Clearly, but she also seems a whole lot saner now that she has a baby to take care of... and quite possibly raise to be a vigilante, intentionally or not.

Barbara already has her daughter on the path to Batgirl, as far as I'm concerned. Baby Babs may be many years away from hitting the rooftops with Batman, but she was already wearing her Batgirl colors in that little purple and black dress with the yellow bow. Against all odds, Barbara 1.0 could actually be a great mom. Naming her daughter after both Lee and herself is a positive sign.

Selina Kyle - Alive and Abandoned

Poor Selina had a rough ride in Season 5, and even regaining her ability to (cat)walk came with a price. Still, she recovered enough to be a good friend and perhaps even more to Bruce, and they shared a touching scene when Selina promised to be there whenever he needed her. Well, Sir Broods-A-Lot noted that his parents used to tell him the same thing, and that was the beginning of the end for them.

When Bruce took off at the end of the episode, Selina didn't even get a real goodbye beyond a hastily penned letter. Gotham didn't reveal the contents of the letter, but Selina soon raced to the airport to try and catch him. Alas, she was too late, and Selina may not be too happy with Bruce when they presumably reunite in the flash-forward finale. Still, Selina Kyle won't be down for the count just because Bruce abandoned her. Catwoman is on the way!

jim getting promoted gotham

(Image credit: fox press)

James Gordon - Alive and More In Charge

As much as Gotham started its existence as a predecessor to Batman's mythos, the series could easily be considered The Jim Gordon Show. Ben McKenzie's Jim has been the gravel-voiced anchor that Gotham needed in order to prevail through all of the absolute madness that rained down on the city after the character first arrived and gave a pep talk to a mourning adolescent. Fittingly, Gotham allowed its more unofficial finale to hoist Jim up as its venerated victor.

Jim finally led Gotham City out of its months-long depression by driving forward without stopping to look back. He faced down Eduardo without placating his villainous alter ego. He sorta rescued Barbara from Nyssa and got to hold his baby girl for the first time, and re-earned enough of Barbara's for her to allow their daughter to take his surname. Perhaps most importantly to comic book fans, Jim finally reached the pinnacle of professional duties at the GCPD, and became Commissioner James Gordon. Now. Bring. On. That. Mustache. (The real one, though.)

bruce wayne screaming gotham

(Image credit: fox press)

Bruce Wayne - Alive and Soon to Be AWOL

Gotham could have made this second-to-last episode a full-on love letter to Batman and its fandom, but the drama stuck to its titular guns and limited Bruce's narrative to just one piece of Gotham City's overall resolution. In fact, after he faced Bane and blew up his own family's building, the future Dark Knight exited the city altogether.

In the episode's final minutes, a very stoic and emotion-shunning Bruce has a touching-enough talk with Alfred before walking away to face a presumably strenuous and taxing training period. It'll probably be on a particularly high mountain, per the finale trailer, so don't be surprised if that mountain's name rhymes with Panda Narbutt. Bruce isn't QUITE ready to be Batman yet, but there's no doubt that he will embrace his inner and outer Caped Crusader when he returns to Gotham City. And we will be there with open arms and cameras.

As painful as this is to say, Gotham only has one more episode left to go before heading off to that easy-to-destroy police department in the sky. Join us in watching the potential final Joker-esque performance from Cameron Monaghan when Gotham's series finale airs on Fox on Thursday, April 25, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.