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10 best Gotham episodes ever, ranked

Gotham remains one of DC’s most underrated TV shows. Basically Batman’s answer to Smallville, this series dips into decades of comic book lore to depict the origins of Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, and Gotham City’s many other heroes and villains.

The show certainly isn’t perfect, but it is still a faithful but bold reimagining of the Dark Knight’s mythology, and these ten episodes display just how great Gotham really is.

10. Penguin’s Umbrella

Cobblepot in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

With Cobblepot returning to Gotham after Jim spared his life, the latter must face the consequences of his actions as he struggles to contain the city’s brewing gang war.

Cobblepot establishes himself as one of Gotham’s most cunning villains in this episode, thanks to the revelation that he planned for Gordon to spare him and infiltrate the Maroni crime family for Falcone. His return also helped the series forge its identity as the serialized crime thriller that kept audiences watching for five seasons.

9. Heroes Rise: How the Riddler Got His Name

The Riddler in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

After leaving his friend-turned-enemy Cobblepot for dead, Nygma embarks on a destructive journey of self-discovery as he seeks a worthy new adversary to unlock his true potential.

With the Penguin’s ghost haunting Nygma at every turn, this episode dives deep into the swirling eddies villain’s enigmatic mind. And thanks to a chilling performance by actor Cory Michael Smith, Nygma embraces his identity as the Riddler in a standout moment for this iconic supervillain.

8. Rise of the Villains: Worse Than a Crime

Selina, Jim, Cobblepot, and co. walking down a street in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

After the corrupt Theo Galavan kidnaps Bruce to end his family line, Jim must forge a surprising alliance that includes Cobblepot and Nygma to rescue him.

It’s an outlandish but compelling end to the Rise of the Villains arc, as it shows Gotham’s best and worst teaming up to save the day. But it also shows the ever-conflicted Gordon going down a dark path by killing Theo in his pursuit of justice: a shocking act for Gotham’s best police officer.

7. Rise of the Villains: The Last Laugh

Jerome, Barbara, and Leslie in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

Jerome and Barbara crash a hospital gala and hold everyone hostage in an outrageous bit of anarchy and a highlight for both of their characters. Though Jerome’s shocking death certainly wasn’t the end for him, the destructive influence his rampage had on the people of Gotham still immortalized him as one of the city’s greatest villains. (Just don’t call him the Joker.)

6. Rise of the Villains: Knock, Knock

Jerome dressed as a police officer in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

After a handful of Arkham’s inmates, including Jerome and Barbara, escape captivity, Jim is forced to deal with the villains’ spectacularly chaotic rampage through the city. Most notably, Jerome and his goons participate in a gruesome massacre at the Gotham City Police Department that serves as but a mere taste of the havoc they have in store for everyone.

5. Legend of the Dark Knight: The Beginning…

The Joker in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

In this series finale, audiences see Gotham become the city fans know and love. Ten years after Bruce left Gotham, Penguin, Nygma, and Jeremiah escape from captivity to wreak havoc on the city once more, with Jeremiah now a new and far deadlier villain than before.

But since Bruce also returns to protect the city as Batman, this episode brings a satisfying conclusion (and introduction) to the Dark Knight’s legacy after years of buildup.

4. Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

Bruce and Jerome in a hall of mirrors in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

The exciting winter finale of season 3 shows Gotham descending into chaos following a citywide blackout, and the reborn Jerome uses this opportunity to make a stellar comeback. Taking cues from many classic comics, Jerome kidnaps Bruce and brings him to a circus filled with torture and terror.

It all leads to a bitter and brutal battle in a hall of mirrors, and this bloody good fight between Bruce and Jerome shows the former taking a big step towards becoming his righteous superhero persona.

3. Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul

Bruce standing on a rooftop in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

The emotional conclusion to season 3 shows Jim nearly leaving Gotham with Lee Thompkins as he tries to find the cure to the Tetch virus infecting the city. With Tabitha killing Barbara, Mr. Freeze freezing the Riddler, and Bruce refusing to become Ra’s al Ghul’s heir, this episode marks a turning point for many characters in the series as they discover their place in Gotham.

Most notably, Bruce finally fulfills his destiny by beginning his journey as a masked vigilante, fighting crime in a costume that foreshadows his transformation into the city’s Dark Knight.

2. A Dark Knight: One Bad Day

Jeremiah with his henchmen in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

Based on the Joker’s infamous scheme in Batman: The Killing Joke, Jeremiah pulls out all the stops to push Bruce to his breaking point and destroy Gotham.

Kidnapping Alfred, planting bombs around the city, and spraying Bruce with Scarecrow’s fear toxin, Jeremiah puts his mortal enemy’s mind through the wringer, making for one of the future Caped Crusader’s most difficult challenges in the show.

1. A Dark Knight: No Man’s Land

Gordon and Bruce in "Gotham."
Fox / Fox

In the season 4 finale, Jeremiah succeeds in killing Gotham’s’ mayor and destroying every bridge in and out of the city. This turns Gotham into the lawless “no man’s land” many people remember from the misunderstood The Dark Knight Rises.

However, this iteration shows many villains teaming up with Bruce to take down Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. Nevertheless, this game-changing episode sets the stage for the city to become a true crime-ridden cesspool that Bruce Wayne dives into as Batman.

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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