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Gotham - Year Zero - Advance Preview

It may be called “Year Zero,” but the start of “Gotham’s” fifth season also marks the start of the series’ final year. The season premiere’s a little slow as it’s setting up the new No Man’s Land status quo, but because I find this plot scenario so intriguing, it’s still an entertaining episode.

As you may remember, season four ended with a scheme by Ra’s al Ghul (dead...for now) and Jeremiah (in the wind...for now) resulting in Gotham’s bridges being destroyed and the government declaring the city off-limits, with the show’s villains quickly carving up territory and James Gordon (series star Ben McKenzie) deciding to stay behind with a small squad of supporters – Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) included – to try and keep the peace. When we reenter the city in “Year Zero,” it’s been almost three months with no end in sight. Supplies are running low all over Gotham, particularly in the GCPD’s quadrant after a raid by an opposing faction. So when a helicopter loaded with food and medicine is shot down in the middle of the city, several groups make a play for its contents. It’s a simple, streamlined plot, but it’s effective in setting up the players and the stakes. Plus, there’s a casualty that caught me by surprise.

There’s some other subplot setup as well. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is having mysterious blackouts that he blames on his split personality disorder, but given we know he’s only alive because of the intervention of Dr. Strange, there’s got to be more to the story. Selina (Camren Bicondova) is still recovering from being shot by Jeremiah last season, and takes her frustrations out on Bruce (David Mazouz). Barbara (Erin Richards) tries to talk Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) down as she thirsts for revenge on the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) for Butch’s death. Finally, there’s both a tantalizing tease as to what Jeremiah is up to and a flashforward to the end days of No Man’s Land that will be interesting to track.

You can zero in on “Year Zero” yourself when it premieres on FOX this Thursday. Until then, share your speculations about the final season of “Gotham” in the comments section.

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