“Ruin” begins, appropriately in the ruins of the Haven. Jim is urging shell-shocked officers into action to find survivors. They sacrifice a portion of their drinking water to put out the flames. It doesn’t help much, as most of the refugees die. Jim initially suspects Penguin or Barbara, but Penguin is as shocked as anyone and Barbara is searching for the culprit herself.
It’s Barbara who gives Jim a tip on a ‘suspicious’ person seen leaving the scene. Penguin, hurting after also losing his people in the explosion, offers help in the form of guns, bullets, and extra manpower. The suspicious person from Barbara’s tip turns out to be Victor Zsasz, who’s holed up in an apartment building. With the guns from Oswald, the cops use suppressing gunfire to distract Zsasz long enough for Jim to get to him. He arrests Zsasz for the explosion, taking him back to the GCPD headquarters despite Oswald wanting to take him.
Meanwhile, Ed’s still blacking out. His latest memory-loss excursion has left him with a note written on his hand. It’s partly smudged, but he works it out to be ‘Inmate 1215 knows’. He breaks into the GCPD to get the file on inmate 1215. Lucius discovers him and strikes a deal: Ed’s help in discerning the nature of the bomb in exchange for the file. Ed agrees and the pair head to the source of the explosion. Ed determines the explosion wasn’t caused by any bomb but the building’s heating being tampered with. A blown-in window clues Lucius and Ed in that device that set of the heating came from outside. They find a rocket launcher case on the roof of a building across the street. A rocket launcher could also link this to the person who took down the delivery helicopter a few weeks back.
Unfortunately for Jim, this new information clears Zsasz of suspicion. The eyewitnesses saw Zsasz leaving the building and on the street at the time of the explosion. Zsasz even admits to breaking into Haven to steal food. But Penguin takes Zsasz by force, putting on a trail where the people decide if Zsasz is guilty or not.
Despite Jim making the case that Zsasz couldn’t have been behind the explosion, everyone is out for blood. They’d rather see someone pay than listen to reason. Penguin is all too happy to place Zsasz’s head on the chopping block after Zsasz betrayed him last season for Sophia Falcone. Jim and Harvey intervene before Zsasz loses his head.
Jim lets Zsasz go, knowing he won’t be safe at the GCPD either. But saving Zsasz hurt Jim’s image with the people. Some turn to Penguin. Barbara shows up at the GCPD with another lead, this time about the rocket launcher. She also offers comfort after Jim lost people to Penguin. This leads to more, as the two share a kiss. But Barbara and Jim rekindling their relationship doesn’t even rank with the twists for the episode.
The first huge twist comes from Ed. After he helped Lucius, the file on the inmate goes nowhere because the man is dead. But Ed does a see a woman in a nearby apartment building. He goes to ask if she saw anything. Turns out she did, she saw Ed with the rocket launcher. It sparks some of his memories of firing the rocket and writing the note which really read, ‘woman in apt 1215 knows’. Even he was appalled by someone attacking Haven, so this news is a shock to him. He kills the woman to keep this a secret.
The second twist happens with Bruce and Selina’s storyline. After Selina left Bruce chained up last week, Alfred comes to his rescue thanks to a homing beacon. Selina’s been sneaking deeper into Jeremiah’s hideout. She discovers this is the same place Jim rescued the kids from the week before. Jeremiah has people digging a tunnel under the waterway around the city.
Disguising herself, she gets close to Jeremiah, stabbing him serval times. Bruce and Alfred get to her just in time to get her out, but not soon enough for Jeremiah. His body falls to the ground, a smile on his face.
“Ruin” had a few moments that were a blast from the past. It was surprisingly nostalgic to see Ed working with Lucius. It’s easy to forget that when Gotham began, Ed worked for the GCPD as their forensic scientist. The reveal that he’s the one who caused the explosion and might also be responsible for the helicopter was an intriguing layer to add to the mystery.
The other call back to Gotham’s early days is Jim and Barbara’s kiss. At one point it would have been difficult to believe that they could have a relationship again. But “No Man’s Land” thus far has proven Jim isn’t the by the books cop he used to be. Likewise, Barbara may have become one of Gotham’s crime lords, but she has retained a genuine compassion for the innocents in Gotham. The city’s darkness once changed them enough to tear them apart, perhaps since then has changed them enough that they can come back together.
Jeremiah’s return may have been short, but every second was the best of his eccentricities. His appearance was marked with murder, a dance with Ecco highlighting the insanity of both characters. It’s difficult to say if he’s really dead. It seems that way. But Gotham has undone several deaths before.
This episode was a compact encapsulation of Gotham. It harkened back to earlier seasons subtly while also laying the groundwork for future developments. The multiple twists didn’t take impact away from one another. It also brought back some of Gotham’s most entertaining characters. Jeremiah might be a showman, but I’d argue Zsasz is the city’s original killer with flare. Characters like Penguin, Ed, and Barbara also got to show a bit of their hidden humanity that makes them so interesting to watch.
If the rest of the season can keep turning out episodes like this, Gotham is sure to end on a high note.