By now, it’s become apparent to all that Gotham hasn’t been a show to go for the slow burn. Though it’ll ultimately end its run at nearly half the length Smallville had been able to, it likewise saw many costumed villains emerge before its respective superhero-to-be had the chance to fully suit up.
As such, the Batman prequel series has often capped off each season with finales that struggle to tie up their threads just because there’ve been so many characters involved in a number of concurrently running subplots. And while I’m not entirely sure if the fourth go-round is my supreme favorite, I must compliment the producers for putting forth their tidiest effort yet.
In other words, there’s still a lot going on in Gotham City, but this time around, everything comes together perfectly in the end. I don’t know how John Stephens, Danny Cannon and the rest of the crew pulled it off so well, but the connectivity is really something to behold. Really, pay attention to everything that happens if you’re experiencing the story for the first time.
To date, this hasn’t been a show to adhere to the “big bad” concept as its DC TV brethren on The CW will so often do, but it’s enjoyed the “freak of the week” method in the past. This time, however, multi-episode arcs are the rule of thumb, which end up being so much more rewarding to the viewer because they really give the characters a chance to breathe.
If any evildoer’s spread out most this season, that honor goes to Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), but more recognizable supervillains happen to be the central focus of those multi-episode arcs of which I just spoke. In case you’re curious, expect to spend ample time with Scarecrow (Charlie Tahan), Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris) and Poison Ivy (Peyton List). By the way, you’ll go hog wild for the Pyg because, thanks to Cerveris, he ends up being one of the best antagonists this show’s seen since Jerome Valeska.
Speaking of which, the incomparable Cameron Monaghan returns to not only reprise his role as Jerome, but also takes on the challenge of playing twin brother Jeremiah. I don’t mean to spoil much, but those two cause all sorts of trouble in the back half of the season, as both offer two remarkably different takes on the Joker. To think that one actor managed to pull it off is truly amazing.
On the flip side, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) inches ever closer to his legacy of becoming the Dark Knight. Believe it or not, the teenage billionaire’s already donning a mask and taking to the streets as a vigilante. Oddly enough, his costume more closely resembles that of Midnighter’s, but it doesn’t last for long.
While Bruce goes through his usual rounds of ups and downs, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) capably keeps the GCPD afloat by trying to stay on the right side of the law as much as he can in such a complicated town. Just know that the police procedural vibe the first season had has all but been thrown out the window as the producers opted to go more comic book-y than ever before. In fact, you can look forward to seeing classics such as The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke and No Man’s Land providing inspiration to the scripts.
Still, not all’s perfect because there are various scenes sprinkled throughout that come off as being campy, but the good does outweigh the bad. Had it not, I wouldn’t have stuck around for this long. Also, I wasn’t a fan of some narrative choices such as the final twist given on the Professor Pyg character, but again, the positives win out.
When it comes to the area of supplemental content, the featurettes are enjoyable, yet didn’t blow my mind. Expect to find some extras focusing on Solomon Grundy (Drew Powell) and the Sirens on the fourth and final disc in the set, but perhaps you’ll agree with me in saying there could’ve been something included having to do with the Valeskas.
Without a doubt, the meatiest piece of bonus material is the hour-long package compiling highlights from San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panels for Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Gotham. Yes, this is the same thing that was included in Arrow: The Complete Sixth Season‘s Blu-ray set and will no doubt do likewise in the others just mentioned.
In my view, if you’ve taken the journey this far, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Gotham: The Complete Fourth Season. Like I’ve been saying, there’s so much to enjoy in the way of some of the best villains the comic book medium has to offer, and this show does a fine job of adapting – and, in some cases, reinterpreting – those icons. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Without a doubt, Gotham: The Complete Fourth Season proves to be one hell of a smorgasbord of supervillains - and the fact that everything ties together well really helps.