Fox’s third season of Gotham finishes up with a two-hour finale in which we seem to be saying goodbye, at least temporarily in a few cases, to key players in the show’s universe. The season three finale of Gotham also introduced a character fans have been anxiously awaiting and found a couple of established characters coming together, hinting at a new pupil/mentor relationship that will play out in season four.
Episode 21 of season three begins with an elderly woman under the influence of the Tetch virus holding up a bank while out on the streets of Gotham chaos reigns. The police hit the streets but their station is also being overrun as they try and get control of the situation.
Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) attempts to clear his head and fight off the virus, but it’s a constant struggle. When Harvey (Donal Logue) approaches him in the station’s locker room, he unfortunately has to ask for Jim’s gun. He’s not going to take his badge just yet, but he warns Jim the rest of the officers are watching him for any sign he’s infected. Neither Jim nor Harvey know Lee’s location, which is worrisome since she’s given herself over to the virus. Harvey tells Jim to prove Lee wrong and not let the virus control him.
Catching up with Bruce (David Mazouz), he’s locked up at the police station with Alfred (Sean Pertwee) watching over him. Bruce won’t talk and Alfred believes he’s been brainwashed but that he can still reach hm. He assures Harvey and Jim that Bruce Wayne is still somewhere deep inside.
Lucius (Chris Chalk) shares a rare bit of good news, informing Jim and Harvey there might be an antidote to the virus. It appears Dr. Strange was working on weaponizing the virus and on creating an antidote. Unfortunately, Strange is no longer in custody and Harvey blames the decision to let him go after they questioned him on Alfred. “Yes, I’m blaming it on the butler,” says Harvey. Jim figures out Strange will probably head to the downtown train station and as he and Harvey are about to head out, Lucius stops Harvey to warn him this strain of the virus is an accelerated version.
Jim guessed correctly and Hugo Strange (BD Wong) is at the station, but so is Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).
Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) stands looking out a window and watches Gotham burn. Barbara (Erin Richards) joins Ed as he compliments the Court of Owls on their style. Barbara thinks now’s the best time to consolidate power, but Ed is still stuck on only wanting revenge on Oswald who happens to be with Fish Mooney now. Barbara tells him he’ll need muscle and she needs him to figure out how to get the city under her thumb. She’ll help him if he helps her, and Nygma agrees.
Strange confesses he was forced to do what the Court of Owls demanded and he tells Fish Mooney about the virus and how thousands have been infected. He tries to convince her the virus is all gone, but Fish isn’t having it. She demands he hand the rest over and make her an army so that she can rule the city.
Jim and Harvey arrive at the train station a little too late as Fish has already taken Strange away. As they’re looking around, Lee calls and says she knows how Jim feels with the virus in his veins. She can’t believe he’s fighting it so hard and suggests he listen to the whispers. She correctly assumes the whispers are telling Jim he’s a killer who likes hurting people and hangs up promising they’ll catch up soon.
Harvey returns to tell Jim someone spotted Strange. He gives Jim back his gun but warns him not to shoot any innocent citizens.
Harvey and Jim track Fish, Strange, and Fish’s men to a tunnel. They want Strange but Fish refuses to hand him over. As Jim gets upset, his heartrate increases and he’s ready to shoot. Strange realizes Jim’s infected and starts laughing at him. Fish wants to know what it feels like and Jim replies, “It’s taking all my willpower not to kill you.” Fish asks if it’s true there’s a cure and that Strange is the only one who can stop the madness. When Strange confirms that’s true, Jim is ready to shoot her but is thwarted by Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow) who destroys both Jim and Harvey’s guns. Jim is almost out of control and Fish instructs Mr. Freeze to cool off both cops. Jim’s able to jump up and aim a water pump at Mr. Freeze as he fires, creating a wall of ice between them.
Back at the police station, Alfred sits down across from Bruce in the interrogation room. Bruce doesn’t react to anything Alfred says until he brings up Bruce’s parents. Bruce is angry Alfred killed the Shaman, but Alfred explains the man and his Court of Owls manipulated Bruce and used him. Bruce strikes back, saying the Shaman and the Court of Owls took away his pain and allowed him revenge on the people who killed his mom and dad. Bruce hints the Court of Owls only paved the way for the “one who is to come” but doesn’t tell Alfred what that means.
Firefly (Camila Perez) and Mr. Freeze guard Strange and are about to attack when Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) calls them off. Strange can’t believe Oswald and Fish are working together, and Oswald explains Fish has a vision for Gotham where freaks are in charge. However, Strange has to help them achieve it by providing the antidote. Strange says he can’t reveal its location because then he’ll have nothing to bargain with, and tells them to go ahead and torture him. Oswald recalls how Strange tortured him at Arkham and he unveils the machine Strange used to make it feel like his head was being torn open and hot lava poured in. Although Strange agrees to tell Oswald anything he wants, he’s tortured anyway as payback for Arkham.
Jim and Harvey are trapped in the tunnel and they can’t even get the precinct to answer. Jim gives in temporarily to the virus and uses his newly enhanced strength to repeatedly hit the ice wall. He breaks through but once back out on the street, Jim has a difficult time getting back under control. He even rips the driver’s door off Harvey’s car.
Alfred asks Bruce who’s coming but he gets nowhere. Alfred tries to get his young charge to remember what is real, but Bruce thinks all that’s real is the vengeance he took on his mom and dad’s murderers. Alfred starts ticking off a list of what is actually real, like when Bruce’s mom would sit up with him all night when he was sick. It’s true Bruce’s parents are dead, but there is no life and no love without pain, contrary to what the Shaman made him believe. “He couldn’t have touched the love that your mom and dad gave you, that you still have it in you. You have that in here,” says Alfred, pointing at Bruce’s heart. “It’s the same love I have for you. I love you, Master Bruce. I would do anything for you. I would die for you. You must find that love again. Come back to me, Master Bruce.”
Bruce looks confused and touched, but Alfred is startled by noise elsewhere in the police station and leaves Bruce still handcuffed to the table. Alfred checks on the sounds of fighting in the main part of the police station and he’s immediately shot at. He dodges the bullet and attacks the cop who’s under the influence. The cop tosses him across the room and is about to shoot him when Lucius knocks him out.
Alfred returns to the interrogation room to discover Bruce has escaped.
Butch (Drew Powell) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) try and figure out how to play the Fish Mooney/Oswald Cobblepot angle, with Butch suggesting they send word to Fish about where Barbara and Nygma are weak. He thinks this is their opportunity, but Tabitha’s not ready. Their talk is interrupted by the arrival of Lee (Morena Baccarin) who downs a drink and asks for Barbara. Lee insults Butch and when he tries to kick her out of the nightclub, she uses her new strength to knock him on his rear. The crowd clears as Tabitha and Lee square off, but Lee doesn’t have time to deal with Tabitha now. She’s searching for Barbara and Tabitha’s just not that important. Since Barbara’s not around, she instructs Tabitha to tell Barbara that the next time she sees her, she’s going to rip her head off.
Bruce is out on the streets watching the city burn and the military attempt to clear the streets. Lucius and Alfred are following Bruce, trying to figure out who’s controlling him.
Fish Mooney, Oswald, and Strange make it to the slaughterhouse where Strange is keeping the antidote. He hands over the entire supply, which is enough to cure everyone in Gotham. Fish holds it and reminds Oswald they will rule the city. Oswald agrees, but says he has to kill Nygma first. Fish confirms they’ll do that as well as kill everyone who attempts to stand in their way.
As Fish and her gang leave the freezer section of the slaughterhouse, they’re ambushed by ninja assassins who demand the antidote. Fish commands Mr. Freeze and Firefly to attack and while they do, the ninjas take out Fish’s other bodyguards from behind.
Harvey and Jim get word Mr. Freeze and Firefly were spotted at the slaughterhouse and head that direction, with Jim slipping closer to full-on infected mode.
The ninjas are attacking while Mr. Freeze and Firefly are still holding them off when Jim and Harvey arrive. Jim springs into action, tossing ninjas like ragdolls and even forcing one ninja to stab another ninja. Infected Jim’s sword fighting skills are incredible and after taking out the remaining ninjas, Jim – without thinking about his actions – stabs Fish through the stomach. She drops the container holding the antidote and the tubes shatter when they hit the floor.
Oswald runs to cradle Fish as she’s dying. Oswald tells her he’ll get help, but with her dying breath she tells him, “Make this city yours or you burn it to the ground.”
Jim, now under control, realizes what he’s done. Oswald calls Jim a monster and Jim loses it, holding Oswald by his throat and raising him off the ground. Harvey knocks out Jim before he can kill Oswald, and the police arrive to finally arrest the survivors. Harvey asks if Strange can make more of the antidote and he says he can, but he needs one specific thing.
Tabitha and Butch attack the prison bus with Tetch inside. They grab Tetch as Oswald explains to Barbara that Fish is dead and Strange is going to make more of the antidote but the secret ingredient they need is Tetch’s blood. Oswald believes Tetch is the key to controlling Gotham.
Out on the streets of Gotham, Bruce spots a red door with a dragon painted on it along with the word “Yuyan.” Bruce hears the Shaman’s voice telling him to seek out this building, find the demon’s head, and fulfill his destiny. Bruce enters and spots a large demon’s head immediately inside the door. Bruce touches it and a secret door opens. He steps inside and the demon’s head door closes.
Bruce descends down the stairs to a tunnel. Upstairs, Alfred enters the building and sees the demon’s head while Lucius stays outside to hunt down Harvey.
The ninja assassins make themselves known to Bruce, pointing him to a specific room. There’s a pool in the center of the floor (a Lazarus Pit) and he’s warned not to touch it. Bruce says the Sensei is dead and a man enters the room and reveals he was the one who instructed the Sensei to send him to this building. The man says the Sensei completed his task, destroying the Court of Owls and burning Gotham.
So, who is this man? Of course he’s Ra’s al Ghul (also known as the Demon’s Head), leader of the League of Assassins. Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) asks why Bruce has sought him out, and Bruce replies the Sensei told him to in order to complete his training. Ra’s al Ghul reveals he’s incredibly old and people believe he’s a demon or a saint or even a ghost. He’s looking for a true heir and asks Bruce if he’s ready. Ra’s al Ghul knows Bruce was supposed to release the virus but didn’t, and Bruce blames his failure on Alfred. Ra’s al Ghul agrees to give him another chance and suddenly two assassins enter with Alfred. Ra’s al Ghul slaps Alfred after Alfred makes fun of his attire, and then Ra’s hands Bruce a sword to use to kill him.
Ra’s al Ghul says killing Alfred will help him fulfill his destiny, but Alfred tells him his destiny is to be Bruce Wayne. He’s sure Bruce will remember that one day, and then he recalls holding Bruce on the first day his parents brought him home from the hospital. Alfred swore to look after Bruce from that day forward and will do anything for him. Alfred tells Bruce to do what he needs to do, and Bruce stabs Alfred through the chest with the sword, screaming while he runs Alfred through. Alfred gasps and Bruce looks horrified.