With Gordon’s Haven now decimated and Bruce and Selina on the outs, it’s hard to argue with this weeks title, “Ruin.” We know where our heroes and villains are going to end up, but after last week, you would be forgiven for wondering just where they might go from here. Yet all is far from lost. When “Penguin, Our Hero” ended, Harvey Dent’s words from The Dark Knight echoed in my head: “The night is darkest before the dawn. And the dawn is coming.” The latter has arguably always been Gordon’s role in Gotham City, especially in this iteration of the story, and I can’t wait to see how Gordon will rise from the ruin of the Haven.
“Ruin” opens on an image of a flaming stuffed bear. While evocative, I feel like I’ve seen it before, and would have rather had something a bit more original. Anyway, Gordon tries to get everyone medical help, to little avail. He grabs Penguin and accuses him of causing it, but Penguin says he doesn’t know. As he had done in the premiere, Gordon lays out the casualties over the radio, this time to the mysterious voice. Afterward, Gordon faces angry citizens who want answers; he tries to allay their fears, but they only want someone to pay. Gordon leaves Harvey in charge and goes looking for answers. We then see that Bruce is right where we left him, or rather, where Selina left him. He screams for Selina – needlessly at this point since it’s morning and Selina’s long gone. Alfred shows up to help Bruce, as the latter had a transponder in his pocket. I really liked this scene because it demonstrates Alfred’s ingenuity and makes me very excited for Pennyworth later this year. Alfred reminds Bruce that he can’t save Selina and that she’s going to make her own choice.
Gordon goes to see Barbara and asks whether she has a tip. She doe,s and they talk about how she almost killed Penguin. The conversation is cut short when Harvey radios for Gordon to return to the precinct, where Penguin offers a truce. Meanwhile, Nygma has found a suitcase, though he isn’t sure whether he’s been on a trip or will be going on one. He discovers a riddle written on his hand and learns that it means inmate 1215 knows and goes looking for prison records. As they search for the bomber, Harvey tries to remind Gordon of the good he did for the people of Gotham, but Gordon is too mired in anger and guilt to listen. Penguin blows the element of surprise, and everyone has to take cover as they are shot at. I have to admit, I laughed when the shooter turned out to be Zsasz. I love his back and forth with the other characters, and I’m glad he’s finally back. As all of this going on, we find Nygma running into Lucius at the GCPD. I’ve always loved how Lucius is able to match Nygma when it comes to solving riddles, and this scene was no exception. However, if Nygma wants the file, he’s going to have to help find the bomber.
As the standoff with Zsasz continues, for the first time this season “Ruin” lets us see Gordon and Penguin working together. Granted, I felt like the latter was acting a bit sycophantic towards our guilt-ridden hero; I suppose it’s understandable, given the events of last week. However, that doesn’t mean Gordon is going to give him a free pass to do whatever he wants, as when Penguin requests to question Zsasz using his “alternative” methods, Gordon turns him down, much to the iconic DC villain’s chagrin.
Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived: Jeremiah’s back and Selina is waiting in the shadows waiting to pounce. Jeremiah starts mumbling to himself, then Ecco/Harley approaches him, and he regains his composure as she informs him of Bruce and Selina’s plot. We then get a different kind of “Ecco,” that of the past, as we see Nygma back in CSI mode, deducing just how the attack was achieved and figuring out it was an RPG. Harvey and Gordon question Zsasz. Gordon gets called away to speak to Lucius about Nygma’s discovery, which exonerates Zsasz. Penguin won’t have that, of course, so he turns his guns on Gordon and takes Zsasz away. Lucius and Nygma investigate the roof where the RPG was fired. Nygma then tells Lucius he hopes he finds whoever blew up the Haven. As promised, he gets his file, but the inmate turns out to be dead. After Nygma throws a tantrum, he sees someone across the way who may know the identity of the person who blew up the Haven. After being subjected to a “trial,” Zsasz is found guilty, despite another speech from Gordon. As Gordon said earlier, they just want someone to pay. We then get to see one of the most disturbing scenes yet this season, as Penguin puts Zsasz in a guillotine.
Before anything can happen, Gordon steps in and Penguin declares that Gordon has lost the people, and they have chosen Penguin. Knowing that Zsasz will be killed if he goes back to the GCPD, Gordon decides to let him go, but not before offering him a chance to go out in a blaze of glory. The villain can tell Gordon is angry and decides not to take him up on the offer. Before he walks away, Gordon warns Zsasz that the bad guys will never own Gotham. Before they get back in the car, Harvey, whom Gordon had asked to participate in his theatrics with Zsasz by asking Harvey to give Zsasz his gun, warns Gordon to pull himself together and not to do that again. Meanwhile, back at Jeremiah’s lair, he is busy motivating his workers when Selena reveals herself and puts a knife to his throat. Jeremiah tries to get in her head, but she barely lets him talk, repeatedly stabbing him. She sees red and continues, but Bruce gets there and pulls her back to herself. Nygma goes to the woman, whom he finds is in apartment 1215, and immediately puts the pieces together as the woman bashes him on the head: the Riddler is the one who destroyed the Haven. As a result, he kills the wheelchair-bound woman, rolling her out the window. Gordon is drinking alone in his office, lamenting his losses. Barbara comes to see him and brings Gordon another tip. Barbara teases him, and they end up kissing.
Writers James Stoteraux and Chad Fiveash balance a plethora of different stories, and director Nathan hope expertly shows the macabre sensibilities of Penguin’s kangaroo court and Jeremiah’s lair. Several storylines converge in “Ruin,” culminating in Jeremiah’s death. Despite this, Cameron Monaghan’s run on Gotham is not over just yet, as he is at the very least set to return in the series finale as a third character. I really enjoyed “Ruin,” and I’m glad the show has been on a creative upswing the last couple weeks. I have a feeling that the arrival of Gordon’s war buddy Eduardo, aka Bane, will continue this forward momentum.