NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Gotham” are present in this review
Gotham presented a very interesting idea with, “The Trial of Jim Gordon”, which sees the show’s protagonist mortally wounded, and having a coma dream about being put on trial for his former actions. This is all a side effect of a scheme by one of the show’s established villains, and is complemented by the other characters realizing just how essential Gordon is to the reunification and protection of Gotham City, as well as their own emotional well-being. The episode doesn’t completely live up to its potential, especially when it’s forced to pad itself out with a Bruce subplot that doesn’t feel all that interesting, but it is nonetheless a solid offering for Gotham that nicely allows Gordon to come to terms with his past sins, just in time for the fast-approaching final battle for Gotham City.
Things begin with Gordon confirming to Lee that survival reserves at the GCPD are running critically low, and the only way to ensure reunification and the continued survival of the citizens is to both clean up Jeremiah’s toxins, and get the various gangs to stop fighting in the streets. Gordon successfully calls a gang summit at Penguin’s headquarters to try and convince the gangs to lay down their weapons, at least until Gotham City rejoins the mainland, but not long after seemingly getting through to them, Gordon is suddenly shot by an unknown assailant, leaving him mortally wounded. This is a fantastic setup for a Gotham mystery, especially with the show fast approaching its final episode, and Gordon’s final push to defend the city before the appearance of Batman has certainly become more important than ever!
Once Lee starts desperately trying to operate on Gordon, Gordon begins to enter a mental courtroom, whereupon he’s prosecuted by another version of himself, complete with calling Lee as a witness to condemn his former actions. As much as Gotham has beaten a lot of Gordon’s moral ambiguity well into the ground by this point, it is interesting to see Gordon have to face the charred corpses of Haven, as a fresh example of how his idealism ended up costing the lives of so many of Gotham City’s people. The sequence may have worked best however if Gordon wasn’t so quickly ushered out of the trial, the very trial that the title of the episode itself centers around, in favour of quickly moving Gordon into a trippy rendition of the GCPD precinct instead. Gordon getting to observe his own wake, complete with a happy-go-lucky Bullock, also isn’t a terrible idea, but it’s also already guaranteed that Gordon’s going to survive his injuries, considerably deflating this otherwise tense dream sequence.
I will say however that the mystery of who shot Gordon is very well executed for the most part, and even has some real twists thrown in. With Bullock naturally suspecting any of the numerous gang leaders that Gordon called to order, there’s immediately the interesting hook of questioning them, or determining whether it may have been Barbara, who wants Gordon out of the picture so that she doesn’t have to worry about him intruding on her unborn child’s life. Penguin even sticks around to rather aggressively assist with the investigation, which eventually leads to the confirmation that Victor Zsasz fired the shot that wounded Gordon. That’s a good choice for a culprit, and Zsasz targeting Gordon makes some degree of sense, especially since it would also serve the added bonus of humiliating Penguin on his own turf.
There was another curveball thrown in here though, and that’s the fact that Zsasz was actually hypnotized into shooting Gordon, by none other than Poison Ivy! Yes, it turns out that Ivy isn’t quite done appearing on Gotham yet after all, since she’s suddenly made it her mission to finish off the struggling citizens of Gotham City, in order to turn it into a plant-filled paradise. If nothing else, this certainly is a plan that would ring true of Ivy’s DC Comics inspiration, and while the show’s budget obviously prevents the kind of over-the-top, plant-filled destruction that you would likely expect from a big Ivy plot in the printed panels, this still marks a better Ivy plot than the one from earlier in the season. Lee managing to single-handedly fend off Ivy while Gordon has already flatlined feels a little less believable though, especially with Ivy merely left to flee like a chump, when she should just be able to hypnotize Lee into letting Gordon die. That said, I suppose that this obvious winning move for Ivy would have written the show into a corner. In that case then, why have Ivy even confront Lee at all?
With Ivy taking up so much of the focus in this episode, it was natural that she’d also find a way to play a part in the subplot here. The subplot primarily centers around Bruce and Selina, who attempt to go on a date in an abandoned house, but after Ivy hypnotizes Bruce, she coerces him into going to the water purification system to stop the clean-up of Jeremiah’s toxins. While it is a little amusing to watch Bruce hypnotize Lucius, and have them both gawk at the disturbed machinery while swooning over Ivy, this subplot more or less simply existed to waste time, and that’s annoying. Selina naturally comes along to snap Bruce and Lucius out of it, and this plot is completely averted, allowing Jeremiah’s toxins to be cleaned up on schedule. I guess the episode just had to fill up space, and that’s fair enough, but is it seriously this easy to clean up Jeremiah’s mess, especially while Ivy noses in with management?!
“The Trial of Jim Gordon” certainly gave us an exciting Poison Ivy conflict, likely her last before Gotham ends for good, even if the titular trial wasn’t all it could have been. The episode ending with Gordon and Lee finally tying the knot however does at least give us a hopeful and optimistic end to their tumultuous romantic struggles throughout the show, even as Barbara continues to try and devise a way to get her child away from Gordon. We’re no closer to Penguin, Nygma or Barbara actually escaping Gotham City though, and Selina somehow seems to have completely changed her mind about leaving, to the point of even scolding Bruce when he starts to wonder if he should abandon the city! That said, at least there’s still enough going on with Gordon and the enduring villains to keep Gotham reasonably interesting for its final run of episodes, even with Gordon and Lee finally finding their happy ending.
"The Trial of Jim Gordon" forces Gordon to face his failures while his life hangs in the balance, amid a mostly good mystery.
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THE GOOD STUFF
Gordon having to confront his failures and regrets