Spoilers below for those who haven't yet watched Gotham's big series finale.
It finally happened, Gotham-ites. The gleefully over-the-top Fox drama came to an end this week with a fantastic series finale that looked ahead into the future of Gotham City, ending on a shot fans have been hungry for since the show was announced: the actual Dark Knight himself. It was amazing, as was the official introduction of Cameron Monaghan's "J." (Here's what the showrunner told us about that.) But what about some of the faces we didn't see, including those of villain Two-Face?
The finale was the last shot Gotham had at bringing its version of Harvey Dent back into the fold for a duplex-itous transformation, but that moment never came. I got the chance to ask Gotham showrunner John Stephens about why Two-Face didn't get his moment to shine amongst his comic book brethren, and here was his answer via email:
It was tricky because we were bound by the fact that Harvey Dent only became Two-Face when Batman is already on the scene. We did think some times about doing a sort of proto-Two-Face, but never really found the right take.
That's an interesting answer that sounds both debatable and defendable in the same instant. On the one hand, Gotham has played it fast and loose with many of its heroes and villains adapted from comic books and animated series, especially in regard to how their origins connected with Batman. So the show wouldn't have necessarily been crossing the line if it had devoted an episode to Harvey Dent getting his face disfigured by acid (or whatever Gotham-specific way he would have gotten disfigured).
On the other hand, Gotham did get better about handling its fan-familiar characters as the seasons went by, showing restraint instead of just introducing villain after villain willy nilly. And with the way showrunner John Stephens and his creative team handled Jerome and Jeremiah's storylines, the narrative space might not have existed to devote a new arc to the D.A.-turned-crime boss in the way fans would have wanted.
The choice not to bring Nicholas D'Agosto's Harvey Dent back at all after the Season 2 finale didn't exactly make for the happiest medium, but it probably would have been worse if Dent was around on a regular basis without there being any plans to introduce the Two-Face origins. D'Agosto was great, certainly, but fans might have exploded while anticipating a villainous turn that would never arrive.
The silver lining here is that, if someone ever steps up to continue Gotham's continuity in some way, the opportunity will be there for Two-Face to get a proper welcome wagon. Though someone other than Sal Maroni would need to do the disfiguring.
Now, let's talk about a few other faces that were completely absent from Gotham's flash-forward finale.
David Mazouz's Bruce and Camren Bicondova's Selina
Following the penultimate episode's airing, Gotham fans were shocked to learn that star Camren Bicondova would not be in the series finale as Selina Kyle. The actress revealed that she had made a decision to step down to allow someone else to take over the Catwoman mantle, which ended up being Lily Simmons. (Simmons was pretty great, too, and felt like a perfect evolution for Bicondova's Selina.)
However, fans were left completely in the dark about star David Mazouz also being absent during the series finale, save for the opening moments tying back to the penultimate installment. So for the most part, there was no Bruce Wayne in this final ep, with only his shadow-cloaked Batman persona showing up throughout random episode bits.
I asked John Stephens about the decisions to keep Gotham's younger stars out of the finale, as well as the choice to not give Bruce and Selina any emotional closure after he left Gotham City without physically saying goodbye.
It was really a discussion we had with the actors and ourselves about what would best sell the idea of the passage of ten years and we all felt like this was the best way to do that.
It certainly would have been odd to see David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne while a completely different actress was playing Selina. Granted, Gotham has toyed around with flipping cast members before, as an extension of its focus on what makes an identity. But even though Ivy Pepper herself went through more than a decade's worth or evolving from one appearance to the next, neither Selina nor Bruce have that ability. So Mazouz and Bicondova might have looked a little strange as twentysomethings who hadn't aged at all.
While it would have been great to see the two stars kicking it with Robin Lord Taylor's official Penguin and Cory Michael Smith's Riddler, the nature of the flash-forward concept was indeed a limiting factor. But then we're pretty lucky that David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova can still be seen in 98% of what came before Gotham's finale.
Now, let's talk about two more faces that didn't show up.
Nyssa al Ghul and Edward the Dog
Two of the most unexpected presences in Gotham Season 5 were definitely Jaime Murray's Nyssa al Ghul and Oswald's pet dog Edward, which he'd named after his green-clad bestie. So perhaps it was fitting in a Gotham sort of way that they exited the series together in the penultimate episode, taking Penguin and Riddler's submarine away from the city.
It's not at all clear what actually happened to either of the characters, even though Robin Lord Taylor did give me his amusing thoughts on what became of Edward. I half suspected that Nyssa would make a quick appearance at some point to round things out, just to prove that she was still out there lurking in the shadows, but it didn't happen. I asked John Stephens if either Nyssa or the pup were considered for a return in the flash-forward, and he said:
Nyssa no. But we did discuss, for maybe five minutes, Ed the dog.
I certainly hope that scenario would have been something like: "Oswald looks sad and dejected, and Ed comes scampering around a corner and leaps onto his owner's lap, somehow not having aged a day." If Hugo Strange can figure out ways to resurrect dead people, he can probably find a way to make dogs eternal. Such is Gotham City mad science.
Nyssa's exit probably would have felt more ominous and threatening had Gotham not been able to provide fans with that wonderful epilogue episode, but viewers can easily make assumptions about why she hadn't returned to Gotham City in the ten-year interim. She was mostly there for Bruce, who skipped town soon after she did. So it's perfectly plausible that she went and found him again off in the mountains, and played a deeper role in drawing Batman out. Or maybe she died from the stab wound immediately after getting into the submarine. Who knows?
Gotham is now a done deal, so now it becomes a waiting game for the Blu-rays and DVDs to come out. In the meantime, check out our rundown of the show's 20 biggest deaths, and all the things I'll miss the most about the show. After that, check out all the sweet programming coming to the summer TV schedule.