‘Gotham’ 5×10 Review: ‘I Am Bane’

I’ll be honest; Bane has never really interested me as a Batman villain. “I Am Bane” did not change that. The title character was far less interesting than the woman holding his leash, and her vendetta against Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean. Bane felt like a plot device to execute the will of Nyssa al Ghul, rather than like a fully developed character in his own right.

Perhaps that’s just as well. Bane didn’t steal the spotlight from our favorite villains, Penguin and Riddler. And he was something of a bonding agent for Lee and Barbara in the midst of Barbara’s labor.

“If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

It probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that Nyssa al Ghul, AKA “Walker,” was the woman on the other end of Jim’s radio connection. After all, her father steered the great cataclysm that isolated Gotham before Bruce and Barbara killed him. Nyssa wants revenge.

Remember how Ra’s killed a friend of Bruce’s? It was a cold-blooded act, but Nyssa feels even colder. This is not the Nyssa al Ghul of the Arrowverse, by any means.

She knows enough about Bruce to play on his martyr complex. She also somehow knows the secret code to get Gotham bombed. And she’s capable of single-handedly wiping out Barbara’s League of Shadows in their Sirens stronghold.

So what does she need Bane for? Well, maybe just to keep the others busy.

Nyssa is the best of the new villains Gotham has introduced this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all of this plays out.

Welcome To The World, Baby Barbara!

The grim Nyssa story is balanced by Barbara Kean’s ridiculous labor. We of course knew that this birth would not be a matter of rainbows and unicorns. But it was unexpectedly comical and also heartfelt. The comedy starts with Penguin’s reaction when Barbara feels the first contraction. But I was also laughing when she got to the clinic and stayed in her designer maternity wear and spike heels. To top that all off, Barbara pulls two guns from her bag and starts shooting as she and Lee run from Bane’s henchmen.

This was a full embrace of this show’s comic book origins, and it was absolutely marvelous. To me, it was an echo of the Batman 66 philosophy of seeming so serious for kids in the audience, yet ridiculous to the adult viewers who knew that childbirth does NOT work this way.

What made it even better, though, was how Lee and Barbara connected. Barbara had been worried about Jim taking the baby away. Lee offered her reassurance. The best line of the episode, “This is Auntie Lee. Mommy tried to kill her once, maybe twice!”

Doesn’t that just sum up the beloved insanity that is Gotham?

And Now, We Wait

Gotham now goes on a four-week hiatus, with a couple of pretty big cliffhangers to resolve:

  • The Army is now attacking the city.
  • Alfred was seriously injured by Bane, and Bruce doesn’t know it yet.
  • Nyssa has captured Barbara, Lee and the baby.

Two episodes left!

Gotham returns to FOX on April 18 at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central.

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