Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)

The third season of FOX's Gotham ended on a thrilling note: Bruce having stopped a violent crime similar to the one that killed his parents, standing triumphant on a tall building – long coat fluttering behind him oh-so cape like. It's an amazing scene, shot with all the heroic gravitas it deserves. It's Gotham paying tribute to the lore in grand fashion, before turning up the nitrous and blowing the roof off in season 4.

Let's take a look at our cast of characters:

Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie): Jim Gordon is once again the embodiment of law and order, the stalwart bastion of justice that the city of Gotham desperately needs.

Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz): Bruce likes to dress up in black clothes and a mask now. Then he beats up bad guys.

Doctor Leslie "Lee" Thompkins (Morena Baccarin): Jim Gordon's ex. Lee has been returned to sanity after exposure to the Tetch virus, found her shirt, and has left the city.

Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue): Current captain of the Gotham City Police Department. Kind of crooked, but in a lovable, drunk uncle sort of way.

Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee): Bruce's butler, guardian, and all around ass-kicker. Alfred was raised from the dead in a Lazarus Pit, and is wondering if Bruce's nocturnal activities are such a good idea.

Selina "Cat" Kyle (Camren Bicondova): Cat burglar, Bruce's off again, on again love interest, and apprentice to…

Tabitha Galivan (Jessica Lucas): Former enforcer for the Galivan family, Tabitha is training Selina Kyle to be a better fighter and burglar. She's also mourning the death of her boyfriend, Butch (Drew Powell), who was murdered by…

Barbara Kean (Erin Richards): Barbara is dead. We think. It's Gotham.

Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor): Re-crowned King of Gotham. Club Owner. Crime boss and all around snazzy dresser. Has a frozen centerpiece made out of…

Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith): Former police forensic scientist turned master criminal, currently stuck in a slab of ice courtesy of Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow).

Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha): Ivy has grown up and gone criminal, but she's getting real tired of how Penguin treats her.

R'as al Ghul (Alexander Siddig): The 2,000 year old mover-and-shaker that has been making Bruce's life a living hell. R'as thinks Bruce is his heir, and wants to prepare him for the tasks at hand. Namely, the cleansing of Gotham. (while it's entertaining to think everything Siddig is in is a Holodeck program on Deep Space Nine, we're going to try and overlook it in the name of journalistic integrity.)

Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan): He's the Clown Prince of Crime. We think? He sure fits the bill.

Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)

Several months have passed since Gotham was saved from the throes of the Tetch virus, and some things have changed. Bruce is still patrolling the city, as is Gordon, but they both come across thugs bearing "licenses" issued by the Penguin, possession of which gives the bearer permission to commit crimes – as long as Cobblepot gets his cut. The mayor of Gotham and police commissioner of police are in on the fix – and Harvey Bullock decides to go along as well: the Pax Penguina – as Oswald calls it – has cut major crimes down in a way the city hasn't seen in years, and not a single cop has been shot in a month. Of course, Gordon wants nothing to do with it.

A renegade crew of outlaws decides to kidnap Jonathan Crane (Charlie Tahan) from Arkham Asylum, and force him to create more of his father's fear toxin. The outlaws want to use the fear toxin to get away with some robberies without a license, but make the mistake of locking the junior Crane in a closet with the totemic scarecrow that his father used to focus his fear. Facing his greatest phobia, Crane snaps and becomes the Scarecrow and uses the fear toxin on his captors.

Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)

Scarecrow sets his sites on Arkham Asylum, where he plans to raise an army of fear-gas induced inmates. Gordon arrives to stop him, but Crane sets the asylum loose to kill him, hoping to enact revenge on Gordon for killing his father. Gordon holds his own against Scarecrow's army for awhile, then remembers that water nullifies the fear agent and sets off the fire sprinklers.

Barbara has returned from the dead and wants to go into business with Tabitha and Selina. She has a mysterious benefactor who has supplied her with an arsenal, which she plans to sell to the criminals of Gotham. Tabitha and Selina agree to work with Barbara, not knowing that her benefactor is none other than R'as al Ghul – who resurrected Barbara with a Lazurus Pit.

Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) realizes that Bruce has been "rock climbing," and decides to gift the young vigilante with a "rock climbing" outfit, with reinforced kevlar and gloves that assist in climbing. The suit can stop bullets from more than ten feet away, too – which is perfect for all of the late night "rock climbing" that Bruce has been up to lately. Alfred tops the outfit off with a mask that will help protect Bruce's identity, and Bruce promptly runs out the door to take the suit our for a test drive.

Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)

Selina fails to steal an ancient knife for Barbara, and finds herself on the outs with her new boss. Bruce wins the knife at an auction, and takes it to a museum curator to find out what makes the knife so important to al Ghul. R'as kills the curator, then hunts down and murders the curator's grandson who had been hiding the knife. Bruce fails to stop the murder, blaming himself for al Ghul's actions.

Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)

Gordon tries to recruit Carmine Falcone into restoring balance to the Gotham underworld, but the elder Falcone has terminal cancer. His daughter Sofia (Crystal Reed) returns to Gotham with Gordon, which causes Cobblepot's paranoia to hit peak levels. Oswald is convinced that Sofia is going to reunite the hiding capos of the Falcone crime empire, and uses her as bait to lure them out of hiding so that he can kill them.

Edward Nygma's number one fan thaws him out and steals him from the Iceberg Lounge, but something's wrong with Ed's brain. He can't solve simple riddles anymore, but sets out on a riddle rampage to get even with Oswald nonetheless. His backfires, though: his riddles are so nonsensical that Oswald is able to see right through them. Realizing that Ed no longer has the wits to be the Riddler, Oswald sets the former criminal genius free.

Lee Thompkins never actually left Gotham. She fled to the Narrows, the city's impoverished and crime ridden no-man's land. Thompkins has set up a clinic to treat the poor, and finds a battered and confused Edward Nygma, who she agrees to help regain his brilliance. The pair come across the reanimated body of Bitch Gilzean, who has no memory of who he is. He's also dumb as a pile of cardboard boxes, his skin is bleached white, and he calls himself Solomon Grundy. Nygma decides to use Grundy as his goon in the illegal wrestling matches in the Narrows. Lee goes along after Nygma offers to use some of the fight's earnings to replenish the medicine in her clinic.

Still blaming himself for the death of the curator's grandson, Bruce manages to kill al Ghul with the old ceremonial knife. He then descends into a self destructive spiral of drinking and partying, which dismays Alfred to no end. Bruce decides he's had enough of his guardian's protection and fires him.

A new serial killer is in town who's targeting crooked cops, so he's got a lot of work to look forward to in Gotham. The killer calls himself Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris), and wears a severed pig head as a mask. Pyg is always one step ahead of the GCDP and even manages to capture Gordon and Bullock, who's friendship is starting to unravel. Pyg escapes, killing a bunch of homeless people and cooking them into pies, later feeding those pies to the rich and famous of Gotham at a charity dinner for an orphanage. Pyg is captured and sentenced to Arkham Asylum, and Gordon is promoted to Captain of the GCPD.

Gotham Season 4 Recap: A Dark Knight Begins to Dawn (BC Rewind)
Courtesy FOX

Lee Thompkins ends up the de-facto leader of the Narrows, and forms an alliance with Nygma, Barbara, Selina, Tabitha, and Solomon Grundy. Nygma has been gaining popularity in the Narrows for his hilariously critical tirades against Cobblepot, and that old familiar voice in his head starts talking to him again. The Riddler is coming back, deciding to take down Lee, hoping to wrest control of the Narrows from her.

Ivy Pepper (Peyton List) emerges from a cocoon. She looks completely different, and has new powers, gained from drinking a nearly lethal concoction of herbs and potions. She can control plants to a degree, and her kiss causes plants to grow within her victim's bodies, leading to a terrible and euphoric death. Ivy and Selina team up, hoping to finally gain some respect from the criminal underworld.

Ivy kisses Bruce, causing him to hallucinate his future self: a mysterious individual in a cape who claims to have been born the moment Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed. Bruce also hallucinates a mustachioed Gordon, but it's a slim, Basil Rathbone-esue affair – not the full-bodied bottle brush mustache that Gordon needs to grow in order to gain his greatest power.

If McKenzie can't grow out the full Gordon 'stache, maybe Warner Brothers can lend the Gotham crew the digital files for Caville's mustache from Justice League.

Sofia Falcone slowly and subtly begins to take over the underworld, using the Sirens as her enforcers. This forces Nygma and Cobblepot into working together again – which is further complicated when Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and Jerome escape from Arkham Asylum with 80 other inmates. Nygma starts robbing banks so that he can re-distribute wealth to the poor people of the narrows, but Oswald is pretty sure Nygma is being played for a fool by Lee.

Jerome begins his rampage across Gotham by killing his abusive uncle, then sets out to kill his twin brother, Jeremiah. The twins begin a game of cat and mouse, which ends with Jerome dead and Jeremiah exposed to one of Jerome's laughing gas bombs – which drives him insane. Jeremiah becomes fixated on Bruce, and… oh, dammit! They got us! Jeremiah is the Joker! Well played, Gotham. Well played.

gotham season 4

Tabitha uses some of Bruce's blood to revive R'as al Ghul, who decides that it's time for his "heir" to come forth. R'as and Jeremiah join forces, and set a series of bombs around Gotham. Gordon, Cobblepot, and Nygma team up to stop the bombings, while Bruce and Selina face off against Jeremiah – hoping to distract him while Gordon and his crew can destroy the bombs. The plan works – somewhat – but Selina is shot in the spine for her efforts.

Barbara manages to kill R'as al Ghul, but Jeremiah detonates his bombs – killing the mayor of Gotham and blowing up every bridge into or out of the city. The Riddler and Lee kill each other – but are found by Hugo Strange, who decides to "make them better."

As the crime lords of Gotham carve up the city into territories and begin their new reign of terror, the city is plunged into lawlessness, a literal "No Man's Land" with only Gordon's GCPD and a newly-focused Bruce keeping the villains at bay.


The fifth and final season of Gotham debuts January 3rd on FOX – so if you need to catch up, we have you covered with our recaps of season one, two and three!

About Leigh Kade

Leigh George Kade is a writer, illustrator, and sculptor who lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two small Skrulls. Leigh has also been a panelist on the wildly popular Geek Show Podcast since 2008. He has been an Entertainment Writer for Bleeding Cool since 2018.

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