|01 "Year Zero"||07 "Ace Chemicals"|
|02 "Trespassers"||08 "Nothing's Shocking"|
|03 "Penguin, Our Hero"||09 "The Trial of Jim Gordon"|
|04 "Ruin"||10 "I Am Bane"|
|05 "Pena Dura"||11 "They Did What?"|
|06 "13 Stitches"||12 "The Beginning..."|
The series flash-forwards 10 years into the future, as Bruce is set to return to Gotham for the opening of the new Wayne Tower. A series of crimes leads Gordon to believe Penguin and The Riddler are up to their old tricks. However, when Bullock is framed for a murder, Gordon begins to piece together an even more sinister plot targeting the city, and a new figure emerges from the shadows to be the hero Gotham desperately needs.
- - Penguin at the docks, while holding Gordon at gunpoint
"You and I stood shoulder to shoulder on those barricades, ready to die for this city. Six months later, you locked me up like an animal! This begins and ends with you and me!"
- - Penguin to Jim Gordon, moments before trying to shoot him
"I was out the other night and I felt someone watching me. I know it was Bruce."
"Oh, I see, right, well, that makes perfect sense. So you come here tonight dressed to the nines to tell him that you want nothing more to do with him. Is that the kind of gist of it?"
- - Selina Kyle and Alfred Pennyworth during the Wayne Tower gala
"I was waiting for him to come home. We're bound together, he and I. It's the one thing I knew for certain, the one thing I knew was true. And then he just...abandoned us. Do you know how it feels to have the one, the only thing you love ripped away from you?"
- - Jeremiah Valeska to Commissioner Gordon during the confrontation at Ace Chemicals
- - Penguin and Riddler after getting captured by the Dark Knight
- Diamond Veins - French 79 feat. Sarah Rebecca
- Crimson and Clover - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
- "Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning..." is the 100th episode to air.
- This episode was planned out five years in advance when Season 1 was on the air. According to John Stephens, "When I came on the show in season one, [creator] Bruno [Heller] pitched me what he saw the ending as and it's very close to that, his initial idea".
- Just as the title of the premiere "Year Zero" referenced Season 5 being the final year before the beginnings of the Batman persona, "The Beginning" possibly alludes to the start of the Batman mythos.
- Airs shortly after the 80th Anniversary of Batman's debut in Detective Comics.
- The April 25 airdate put it in direct competition with Avengers: Endgame.
- This is the 98th episode to be produced (production code T40.10060) and the 100th to be aired.
- The only season finale in which Camren Bicondova doesn't play Selina Kyle despite being credited.
- The show's Batman costume is described by showrunner Danny Cannon as a "highlight reel" of all the best Batsuits from the comics. They originally asked Warner Bros. Pictures to borrow one of the Batman costumes from the films, but they declined.
- David Mazouz practiced developing his Batman voice long before the finale was filmed.
- The blue diamond that Selina steals from the museum is the same diamond that Magpie stole from Penguin's treasure room in "Legend of the Dark Knight: 13 Stitches". Selina had once formed an alliance with Cobblepot back in "13 Stitches" to recover the Russifer Diamond from Magpie and is now herself responsible for stealing it from the city museum. While the diamond remains unnamed in "The Beginning...", the music piece "Selina Steals the Russifor Diamond" from the official season 5 soundtrack confirms that it is the same diamond.
- At the Gotham Museum of Antiquities, Selina uses her Clawed Gloves to carve a circular hole in a glass case in order to steal the diamond. This is a tribute to the opening scene of the episode "The Purr-fect Crime" from the 1966 TV series Batman starring Adam West, in which Julie Newmar's Catwoman also invaded the city museum and proceeded to cut a hole into a glass case with her claws so she could steal a golden cat statue. This scene marked Catwoman's debut in the 1966 TV series and also her first live-action appearance overall. In a similar fashion, the scene in "The Beginning..." was Selina Kyle's first full appearance as Catwoman in Gotham.
- The scene from "The Purr-fect Crime" was previously also referenced in various comics and animated adaptions, in which Catwoman often used the same approach to steal valuable objects from museum glass cases.
- Jeremiah Valeska going into a comatose state, only to come out of it when Bruce Wayne returns after a 10 year absence, is highly reminiscent of the Joker's role in The Dark Knight Returns - where an aging Batman retires for 10 years, sending the Joker into catatonia until Bruce Wayne dawns the cape and cowl once again to save a decaying Gotham City.
- "The Beginning" was the only season 5 episode to include scenes set at Arkham Asylum. It was the first appearance of the asylum since "A Dark Knight: One of My Three Soups", which took place more than eleven years prior to the events of the series finale in the continuity of the show.
- This is the first episode to include any form of on-screen interaction between Cameron Monaghan and Cory Michael Smith.
- The inmate number on Edward Nygma's prison uniform at Arkham Asylum is shown to be D-171. This is a reference to the comic Batman #171 (1965), which marked the second appearance of the Riddler in DC Comics and the character's first appearance since Detective Comics #140 (1948) after a 17-year absence during which he served a prison sentence. In a similar fashion, the Gotham episode "The Beginning..." marked the Riddler's first appearance after a 10-year Arkham sentence, a time during which most citizens had completely forgotten about Nygma.
- Without the comic Batman #171, the character of the Riddler would have most likely been a forgotten or obscure Batman villain to this day. When William Dozier, the producer of the 1966 TV series Batman was looking for stories to adapt for his new television series starring Adam West, he also picked up Batman #171 with the Riddler story "Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler!". He then partially adapted this story into the show's pilot episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle" / "Smack in the Middle". Frank Gorshin's portrayal of the Riddler introduced the obscure character to a wide TV audience and led to various more appearances in comics, turning the Riddler from a forgotten character into the iconic A-list villain that is known today.
- The number on Jeremiah Valeska's Arkham inmate uniform appears to read E-001. In DC Comics, the Joker made his first appearance in Batman #1 (1940). In a similar fashion, "The Beginning..." was the debut appearance of Jeremiah's new identity after his transformation.
- The staircases used to depict the interior of the new Gotham Clock Tower were previously also used as a filming location in the episode "Legend of the Dark Knight: Year Zero".
- This is the only season 5 episode in which Don Falcone is mentioned.
- The "W" logo seen on the outside of the New Wayne Tower is almost an exact replica of the old Warner Communications logo that was used from 1972 to 1990. In fact, Gotham itself was produced by Warner Bros. Television.
- This is the second season finale in which the song "Crimson and Clover" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts is played at the Sirens nightclub, following the season 3 finale "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul".
- When Commissioner Gordon asks Jeremiah what he should call him now that he was reborn with a new identity, Valeska responds by listing different names all beginning with J. These names are Jack, Joseph, John and J and are all allusions to different aliases and real names of the Joker in the Batman mythos.
- Jack is a reference to Jack Napier, which was the real name of Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 film Batman.
- Joseph is an allusion to Joseph Kerr, which was the Joker's name when he began a new life in the storyline Batman: Going Sane (1994-1995).
- John is an homage to John Doe, the Joker's alias in the 2016 video game Batman: The Telltale Series.
- Finally, J is a nod to Mr. J, which is the nickname that Harley Quinn often uses for the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and the comics. Jeremiah was previously also referred to as Mr. J by official promotional material for the show.
- "The Beginning" adapts various elements from the 1987 story arc Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. At the end of the episode, Commissioner Gordon is standing on top of the GCPD building in his classic coat and calls Batman "a friend" after Bullock has asked him who the mysterious figure is. This is a reference to the ending of the Year One comic, in which Gordon also stands atop the GCPD building in his coat and says "I've got a friend coming who might be able to help".
- Even though Selina had started using her iconic whip in "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul" and utilized it on various occasions during Season 4 and Season 5, her signature weapon remains absent in the series finale. Instead, she is shown to mainly rely on her Clawed Gloves. This is similar to Batman: Year One, in which Catwoman also only used her claws when she first started out as Catwoman, not yet having taken up the whip.
- The first scene of the episode takes place in the "time present" of the season, soon after "Legend of the Dark Knight: They Did What?", while the rest of the episode is set 10 years in the future.
- There are two conflicting accounts regarding which time of the year the future segment of the series finale takes place. Both dates come from the newspapers shown in this episode. The issue of The Gotham Star newspaper read by Aubrey James at Gotham City Hall is shown to have a cover date of Tuesday, October 9th. However, the date Monday, April 15th is later revealed on an issue of The Gotham Times read by a guard at Arkham Asylum, which contradicts the date given in the other newspaper.
- The inconsistency of the two dates was most likely an intentional decision by the props department. Regarding the time era, showrunner Bruno Heller has stated that Gotham is set in a "fantasy world, an imagined world where anything is possible”. The show is not set in any particular time period and mixes elements like clothes that could be from the 1950s with the ambience of New York in the 1970s, while the characters already use computers and cellphones at the same time, giving the show an anachronistic atmosphere. For that reason, the dates shown in newspapers or documents in previous episodes usually contradict each other and deliberately fail to give attentive observers a clear indication of the time period the show is set in.
- In the series finale, Batman wears a matte, metallic short-eared battlesuit that showrunner John Stephens and actor David Mazouz compared to The Dark Knight trilogy's armoured batsuit. David Mazouz provides close up shots and the voice for the character, however, a stunt double fills in for distant shots to fit with the character's bulky appearance.
- Before the airing of the series finale, Camren Bicondova announced that Selina Kyle's Catwoman costume would be more grounded in reality and won't have cat ears.
- Oswald Cobblepot dons a top hat and monocle and has a slightly overweight appearance to make him closer in appearance to his comic book counterpart. His iconic cigarette holder also makes a brief cameo appearance. The purple suit jacket worn by Oswald in the series finale is based on the Penguin's classic look from the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comic Books, during which the character was always portrayed wearing purple. Similarly, Burgess Meredith's Penguin previously wore a purple top hat and bow tie in the 1966 TV series Batman and the tie-in movie of the same name. In modern DC comics, the Penguin almost exclusively wears black, which Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal also wore in most of the previous episodes.
- Following the injury he received in the previous episode, Penguin's right eye now appears blue and is constantly dilated in the series finale, while his healthy eye still appears in its natural green color. Robin Lord Taylor commented during the Wales Comic Con 2020, "We designed a contact lens so that you could see that his eye was permanently, the pupil was dilated permanently from the injury he received.".
- Edward Nygma has an upgraded costume which is a green suit with question marks all over it. He also has a silver question mark emblem on his necktie. This costume appears to be a modernized version of the suit that Frank Gorshin's Riddler sometimes wore in the 1966 TV series Batman and the 1966 Batman movie whenever he was not wearing his main outfit. Like Cory Michael Smith's Riddler, Gorshin's portrayal of the character also wore a black dress shirt and bowler hat along with the suit. The Riddler's iconic Question Mark Cane was originally also going to appear in the series finale, but this was later discarded for unknown reasons.
- Jeremiah Valeska makes a reappearance under a new moniker and identity, having last appeared in the episode "Legend of the Dark Knight: Ace Chemicals". Cameron Monaghan has described the character's appearance as "vicious, nightmare-fuel horror." After falling in the chemical vat, he has undergone an evolution figuratively becoming "an amalgam of Jeremiah and Jerome" who leads to, and possibly goes on to become, Batman's arch-nemesis "the Joker" somewhere down the road.
- Ecco is posing as a nurse working at Arkham Asylum in order to be close to Jeremiah. In the DC Comics, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was originally working as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, which is where she eventually fell in love with one of her patients, the Joker.
- Jim Gordon has a mustache in the episode, a homage to his canonical comic book appearance, although he shaves it off after only a short amount of time on screen.
- However, as Ben McKenzie only had two days to grow the mustache, they decide to use a fake mustache.
- Gordon had previously been seen donning a mustache in the episode "A Dark Knight: A Beautiful Darkness", although this was during a hallucination experienced by Bruce Wayne.
- At the end of the episode, Jim Gordon is also seen wearing a trenchcoat that greatly resembles his iconic outfit from the comics. This is the fourth time he has worn the classic coat, following the episodes "A Dark Knight: Queen Takes Knight", A Dark Knight: No Man's Land" and "Legend of the Dark Knight: Year Zero".
- Barbara Kean has red hair in the series finale, having been a blonde in all previous episodes. Her new hair color seems to be a reference to the appearance of her counterpart in the original comic books, in which Barbara Eileen Gordon also had red hair. Her daughter Barbara Gordon, better known as Batgirl, is also known for her long red hair in the comics.
- When Jeremiah attacks the Sirens nightclub, he shoots Barbara Kean in the leg with his gun, whereon she then falls to the floor. This is an allusion to the 1988 graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker shoots her daughter Barbara Gordon in a very similar way. This iconic moment was previously also referenced when Jeremiah shot Selina Kyle in the episode "A Dark Knight: One Bad Day".
- Like in the previous episode, Barbara Lee Gordon is shown to wear almost exclusively purple outfits. The purple suit she is seen wearing near the beginning of the episode also has yellow stripes over it. This is a nod to the color scheme of the Batgirl suit from the comics, which is usually purple with a yellow bat logo.
- This marks the first time Batman fought the Penguin and the Riddler in a live-action adaption since the 1992 film Batman Returns and the 1995 film Batman Forever, respectively. It also marks the first time Batman fought both villains on live-action television since the 1968 episode The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra from the original Batman television series.
- Alfred's full name is revealed, since he introduces himself as Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth during his speech at the Wayne Tower Gala. This was also Alfred's full name in the comics.
- Ecco is seen wearing a new costume, which reuses parts of her prior outfit introduced in "Legend of the Dark Knight: Penguin, Our Hero", as well as the black blouse she wore during the Mark of Zorro scene in "Legend of the Dark Knight: Ace Chemicals". She is now also wearing red and white opera gloves. Ecco's new costume appears to be based on the costume worn by Harley Quinn in the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City.
- Aubrey James last appeared in "Heroes Rise: The Primal Riddle". His kidnapping and nearly being blown up by Edward Nygma is a callback to that episode.
At least two filmed scenes ended up getting deleted. They were both included as bonus features for the Season 5 DVD and Blu-ray set:
- The scene in which Edward Nygma escapes from Arkham Asylum was originally meant to be longer. The extended scene would have shown the Riddler emotionally putting on his iconic bowler hat for the first time after ten years. It also revealed that Aubrey James was already kidnapped by Ecco and her crew, as the tied up mayor was sitting in the box standing in front of Nygma. Aubrey James reacts horrified after realizing he is in Nygma's power once again.
- After escaping from the prison transporter, Penguin and Riddler meet a Gotham citizen going for a walk who is wearing a bowler hat and holding an umbrella. They then attack the helpless man in order to steal his hat and umbrella. This would have explained how Nygma and Oswald had these items once again in the following scene, while they did not have them during their scene on the Blackgate transporter. Prior to the airing of "The Beginning...", promo photos depicting this scene were already released to the public.
Apart from these confirmed deleted scenes, there is also indication that the scene in which Jeremiah finally "awakes" at his Arkham cell and proceeds to choke Ecco would have been longer. Actress Francesca Root-Dodson posted a photo from the filming of "The Beginning..." on Instagram that hints at an extended scene featuring Ecco and Jeremiah Valeska. The photo shows both characters in loving pose at Jeremiah's Arkham cell, which was not featured in the aired version of the episode and might have been an extended version of the scene.
The original soundtrack for "The Beginning..." was composed by David Russo and includes:
- Bruce Begins His Journey
- Gotham Needs James Gordon / Gotham Needs Jim Gordon
- Jim Picks Up His Daughter
- Penguin Released from Blackgate / Penguin Released
- Selina Steals the Russifor Diamond / Selina Steals Diamond
- Gordon Encounters Batman
- Penguin and Gordon At The Docks
- Jeremiah Returns, Ecco Dies / Jeremiah Returns, Kills Ecco
- J Versus Batman
- Gordon Lights the Bat-Signal / Gotham Rooftop
- Selina & Batman On The Rooftop
- Penguin & Nygma Escape Police Custody
- The Protector Returns to Gotham / Batman Comes To Gotham