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Villain Overview
Know that I have been alive more years than you can imagine, that I have seen and done things that would shake the core of everything you believe. That I'm thought to be a demon, a saint, a ghost...
~ Ra's al Ghul reveals himself to Bruce

Ra's al Ghul is the primary antagonist of the DC based TV series Gotham. He appears as the Bigger Bad of the third season and one of the two main antagonists (alongside The Penguin) of the fourth season. Despite having shaped the entirety of the series, Ra's is only revealed in the finale where he watches the fulfillment of his plans and also meets with Bruce Wayne, whom he wants to groom into his heir. He is also the Bigger Bad of the entire series, as he orchestrated most (or all) of the series' events.

He is portrayed by Alexander Siddig, who also portrayed Rao Vantika.

Biography

Past

At some point two-thousand years ago, Ra's was a footsoldier in an army of an asian leader. During a battle, Ra's was killed and his body left among the hundreds of other corpses on the battlefield. The corpse, however, was recovered by an old man who resurrected him in the Lazarus Pit. Ra's was horrified and shocked once he learned what had happened but the man claimed that the water has given Ra's a destiny. The man explained that it is now Ra's destiny to find his heir - as the man had found his - in order to be free. With this advise, the man also handed Ra's an ancient dagger.

Ra's has lived beyond the life span of any mortal human, as he is able to be resurrected by the mysterious Lazarus Pit. Whilst being bathed in the Lazarus Pit he had a vision of Bruce Wayne, his heir.

Although he is not seen in person for most of the time, his influence can be felt all over the third season. Ra's is the master of the Shaman and thus responsible for the actions of the Court of Owls. Using the Court as pawns, Ra's has prepared Gotham for destruction. Having manufactured a weapon from the toxic blood of Alice Tetch, Ra's has tasked his disciples at the Court with deploying the bomb into the heart of Gotham City so that its inhabitants will be affected by the virus. The people of Gotham will be driven mad by the virus and rip themselves and the city apart.

In addition to the manufacturing of the weapon, the Shaman is also indoctrinating a young Bruce Wayne. He seems to be of the opinion that Bruce will emerge from the chaos in Gotham as a dark hero. Bruce is successfully brainwashed and is loyal to the Shaman. After the Court has served its purpose, the Shaman kills the members of the Court and detonates the Tetch virus bomb. Although the bomb is successfully activated, fulfilling Ra's' plans, the Shaman is killed. While he lies dying, the Shaman tells Bruce to head to the Yuyan Building and seek out the Demon's head in order to fulfil his destiny.

Revealing himself to Bruce Wayne

This man is your past, Bruce. Now embrace your future! Kill him... Join me... Fulfil your destiny!
~ Ra's urges Bruce to kill Alfred

During the chaos wrought in Gotham due to the virus, Bruce decides to listen to the Shaman's dying words and heads to the Yuyan building. He opens a mysterious door and arrives in an underground temple. Unbeknownst to him, he is followed by Alfred.

In the building, Bruce is confronted by a group of Ra's' hooded followers who direct him to a room at the end of the corridor. Inside this room, Bruce finds a basin with a shining, green liquid. As he moves to touch it, a voice from the shadows advises him not to touch it. Bruce is surprised that the voice knows his name but Ra's reveals that he was the one who told the Shaman to send Bruce to him. Bruce reveals that the Shaman is dead but Ra's replies that the Shaman died after fulfilling his mission - the Court is destroyed, Gotham burns and Bruce has come. Bruce states that the Shaman told him to find the Demon's head. Ra's replies that he is the Demon's head, introducing himself as Ra's al Ghul.

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Ra's reveals himself to Bruce

Ra's asks Bruce why he has come and Bruce states that the Shaman told him that Ra's would complete his training. Ra's asks whether the Shaman also told Bruce who Ra's is and what his intentions are and Bruce admits that he didn't. Bruce states that he is ready and Ra's questions it as Bruce was not the one to press the trigger to unleash the virus onto the city. Bruce claims that he would have pressed the trigger but that Alfred distracted him. Ra's feigns understanding and claims that Bruce will have another chance to prove himself. At that moment, two of his followers drag a captured Alfred into the room. When Alfred insults him, Ra's strikes him across the face. He then orders his followers to leave the room. He draws a sword and hands it to Bruce. Claiming that Alfred is his past and urging him to embrace his future, Ra's tells Bruce to kill Alfred. Bruce takes the sword from Ra's but Alfred appeals to Bruce's memories and the love he received from Alfred and his parents. Despite Alfred's best efforts, Bruce runs him through with the sword.

However, Bruce immediately realizes what he has done; Alfred's attempts managed to help him break his conditioning. Realizing this, Ra's laughs and states it is impressive that Bruce managed to break the conditioning. Bruce furiously screams that Ra's does not control him anymore and that he will never be his heir. Ra's states that on the contrary, Bruce has proven that he is strong enough to become Ra's heir, as the prophecy has foretold. He advises Bruce to "use the waters" and then leaves without a trace. By using the waters of the Lazarus Pit, Bruce manages to revive Alfred.

Watching over Bruce

At some point in the span of the next five months, Ra's resurrects the dead Barbara Kean by means of the Lazarus Pit. He continues to work with Barbara as her secret benefactor, setting her up with an arms deal operation in Gotham. While Ra's also becomes Barbara's lover, it is not yet revealed whether he truly loves her or merely uses her - the latter being more likely. Ra's also orders Barbara to obtain the dagger able to kill him, which is being sold in an auction by Oswald Cobblepot.

When Bruce starts fighting criminals in Gotham as a vigilante at night, Ra's secretly follows him and watches his progress.

Obtaining the dagger

Well done, Bruce! You're finally beginning to see things clearly. The question is, are you strong enough?
~ Ra's kills Alex Winthrop
After the auction in which Barbara was supposed to obtain the dagger, Ra's visits her at her store. When Barbara realizes that someone is behind her, she attacks and defeats him briefly before he frees himself and defeats Barbara. He asks whether she has the knife and Barbara admits that she hasn't; it is in possession of Bruce Wayne. Ra's is surprised and reveals that when he bathed her in the Lazarus Pit, he did it knowing that she would become a competent ally. He claims that thus far, she has done a great job. Barbara claims that he shouldn't worry about the knife as it didn't seem that special to her. Ra's replies that she couldn't be more wrong, as the knife is the key to everything. The two then kiss.
The Demon s Head0436

Ra's kills Niles Winthrop

In order to find out why Ra's is after the knife, Bruce gives it to historian Niles Winthrop for testing. Winthrop asks that Bruce leaves the knife with him overnight and Bruce reluctantly agrees. While Niles learns that the knife is the only thing that can kill Ra's al Ghul and tells his grandson Alex, a knock on the door. Niles sends Alex into his office with the knife. Niles then opens the door and stands in front of Ra's al Ghul himself. Ra's wants to know where the knife is but Niles does not tell him anything. An alarmbell then rings and before escaping, Ra's snaps Winthrop's neck. Ra's then returns to Barbara who informs him that his "guests" have arrived. The guests are revealed to be a duo of monstrous killers. After Niles has been found dead and Alex has gone missing, Bruce Wayne reveals to Jim Gordon that he believes Ra's al Ghul to be behind all of the chaos. He also reveals that Ra's was the real leader of the Court of Owls.

When Gordon returns to the GCPD to start the search for Ra's al Ghul, he is suddenly approached by none other than Ra's al Ghul himself. Ra's introduces himself to the stunned Gordon and claims to be the Minister of Antiquities for the consulate of Nanda Parbat. Gordon welcomes him and asks him whether he is correct in believing that Nanda Parbat is located in the Himalayas. Ra's confirms this and claims that few in the United States have even heard of his country. Gordon invites Ra's into the captain's office and plans to trick Ra's into believing that Alex Winthrop no longer has the knife.

Jim joins Ra's in the office and Ra's reveals that he hired Barbara Kean to obtain a certain item that is cultural patrimony of the people of Nanda Parbat. Gordon asks why Ra's then didn't bid on the knife himself and Ra's claims that there are several competing claims which could have been alarmed had Nanda Parbat given a bid officially. Ra's claims that he has come to press his claim in behalf of his government and asks Gordon to return the knife to him. Gordon wants to know how exactly the knife is important to Nanda Parbat and Ra's reveals that there is an ancient story in his country about a man who could not die, a man who raised a powerful kingdom and then left without a trace, claiming that he would someday return. According to the legend, the knife is required for said return but Ra's tells Gordon that it is only a story - a story which is important to the people of Nanda Parbat nonetheless. After having heard the story, Gordon replies that his main concern is Alex Winthrop, grandson of the curator. Ra's replies that the boy should be safe if he didn't see anything. Ra's then asks whether Gordon would show him the knife but before Gordon can react, Alfred Pennyworth enters the room.

The Demon s Head2459

Ra's kills Alex Winthrop

Having come to find out where Bruce - whom Gordon left with Alex Winthrop to get the knife - is, Alfred immediately attacks Ra's once he recognizes him. Jim shoves Alfred out of the room and tells him to calm down. When the men turn, they find that in this split second, Ra's has searched the room for the knife and then left without a trace. As Ra's now knows that the GCPD doesn't have the knife, Alex and Bruce are in grave danger.

Meanwhile, Bruce and Alex have returned to the museum where Alex hands Bruce the knife back. While they are there, Ra's guests attack once more. Eventually, Jim Gordon arrives there as well and together, he and Bruce manage to kill both attackers. However, when the two turn around they find that Ra's is inside the museum and is holding a knife to Alex' throat. Ra's demands the knife and promises to let Alex go in return. Gordon is ready to accept this demand but Bruce refuses, claiming that Ra's cannot have the knife, even if he kills Alex. Ra's compliments Bruce on this decision and claims that Bruce is finally making the right decisions. Ra's then slits Alex' throat and claims that the question is whether Bruce is strong enough to live with the consequences. After murdering Alex, Ra's surrenders to Gordon and is arrested and sent to Blackgate Prison.

Stay at Blackgate and death

Gordon is told by Harper that Judge Bam Bam's clerk called stating that Ra's al Ghul's trial has been delayed while Bullock mentions that the Nanda Parbat embassy wants Ra's al Ghul extradited, which is likely to happen within the week. Meanwhile, Bruce deduces from Winthrop's findings that Ra's wants to obtain the knife in order to destroy it - as it is the only thing that can kill him. Feeling guilt for abandoning Alex to Ra's al Ghul, Bruce eventually decides that he will use the knife in order to kill Ra's.

RasInBlackgatePrison

Ra's leaves his cell

While Ra's is being kept at Blackgate Penitentiary's maximum security wing, he is visited by Barbara. She offers to break him out the very moment but to her surprise, Ra's declines her offers. Ra's reveals that he called her to Blackgate to say goodbye. He reminds her that he revived her to be his eyes and ears in Gotham and that she has done a remarkable job. Barbara is outraged and realizes that she will now never get what Ra's promised her - a gift beyond her imagining. However, Ra's then puts his hand onto the glass window of his cell and when Barbara presses her hand onto the glass plate as well, Ra's transfers some energy into her. In awe, Barbara asks what Ra's did and Ra's reveals that she will eventually find out. When Barbara leaves, Ra's smiles menacingly.

Bruce successfully manages to scale the walls of Blackgate and infiltrate the compound. He finds the location of Ra's cell and heads there. He opens the cell of the sleeping Ra's and draws the knife, only to be attacked immediately when he decides not to kill him after all. As Bruce turns to leave, Ra's suddenly speaks and calls Bruce a weak, foolish boy. Bruce turns around to find Ra's standing behind him fully awake. Ra's beats up Bruce and throws him out of the cell, claiming that Bruce is still not ready. Suddenly, several prison guards arrive and Bruce wants them to arrest Ra's. However, the men are revealed to be Ra's disciples who replaced some of the guards. As they grab Bruce and knock him out, Ra's tells them to bring the young Wayne "below". When Alfred Pennyworth and James Gordon arrive at Blackgate in search of Bruce, one of the guards informs Ra's.

RasStabbed

Bruce kills Ra's al Ghul

Bruce awakes in the prison's sub-basement where Ra's reveals to them that Gordon and Alfred are upstairs in the company of his men. Bruce realizes that Ra's had planned all of this all along and had also applied for diplomatic immunity knowing that Bruce would hear about it and take action. Ra's doesn't deny it and reveals that he wanted the knife but not for the reasons Bruce believes. He reveals that during his first bath in the Lazarus Pit, Ra's saw a hallucination of Bruce as his heir. Although Bruce believes him to be insane, Ra's claims that Bruce can be the only one to end Ra's life and begs him to do exactly that.

He reveals that he has walked this earth for centuries waiting for Bruce, for only Bruce can kill him and only the knife can do the trick. Bruce doesn't believe Ra's and believes this to be a trick, but Ra's shows him his own reflection in a puddle of water, showing an ancient, mummified being. Ra's claims that every moment of his life is agony and begs Bruce to end his suffering. However, Bruce spitefully claims that whatever Ra's curse is, he deserves it for what he did. He refuses to kill Ra's but Ra's then explains what will happen if Bruce won't kill him. Ra's threatens that he will simply disappear long enough to allow Bruce to start a new life, forget about Ra's and start a family, only to return and kill all of that and take away every happy memory Bruce has. Suddenly, Bruce turns around and stabs Ra's in the chest multiple times. In pain and surprise, Ra's stumbles backwards and opens his shirt, which reveals that he is decomposing from within, starting from the stab wounds. As Ra's sinks to the ground while his age takes up with him, he rejoices the thought of finally dying.

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Ra's' age catches up with him

When Alfred and Jim arrive at the basement, having battled Ra's henchmen in the prison, they find Bruce near the mummified, skeletal remains of Ra's al Ghul. As Blackgate Penitentiary goes under lockdown, Alfred talks to the police while Jim Gordon tells Bruce that they are covering up what happened by stating that Ra's al Ghul's men infiltrated Blackgate Penitentiary and escaped with him, so Bruce will not be charged with murder. Despite this, Bruce is traumatized for having broken his vow of never killing and feels like he betrayed the memory of his parents. Believing that he is not the hero Gotham needs, Bruce refuses to be a vigilante any longer, although Alfred encourages him to try to make the journey back into the light.

Appearances

Season 3

  • Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine (referenced)
  • Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling
  • Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul

Season 4

  • A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina
  • A Dark Knight: They Who Hide Behind Masks
  • A Dark Knight: The Demon's Head
  • A Dark Knight: The Blade's Path

Trivia

  • This is the third live-action version of the DC supervillain Ra's al Ghul. The first one appeared in the 2005 movie Batman Begins and the second one as the main antagonist in the third season of Arrow.
  • His plan to destroy Gotham City with a weaponized gas is similar to the plan of Ra's al Ghul from Batman Begins and Arrow. However, the Gotham version of Ra's uses a virus that gives the people inhuman strength and turns them into furious beasts while the Nolanverse Ra's used Scarecrow's fear gas in order to sow chaos in the city and the Arrowverse Ra's used a virus that instantly killed anyone who was affected by it. Curiously, Ra's predecessor as main antagonist of Arrow, Slade Wilson, also spread a drug that turned people into furious beasts with inhuman strength throughout the city.
  • Ra's al Ghul is considered to be the true main antagonist of the entire Gotham series as he orchestrated most (or all) of the series' events, such as being the true leader of the Court of Owls who ordered the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and funding Dr. Hugo Strange's experiments that led to the creation of the Monsters (including Fish Mooney, Theo Galavan, Bridgit Pike, Victor Fries, 514A, and Jerome Valeska).
  • Alexander Siddig was first Middle Eastern actor to play Ra's al Ghul, a Middle Eastern character.

Navigation

           Gotham Villains

Main
514A | Barbara Kean | Bridgit Pike | Butch Gilzean | Carmine Falcone | Edward Nygma | Fish Mooney | Hugo Strange | Ivy Pepper | Jerome Valeska | Jervis Tetch | Jonathan Crane | Kathryn Monroe | Mario Calvi | Nathaniel Barnes | Ms. Peabody | Oswald Cobblepot | Professor Pyg | Leslie Thompkins | Ra's al Ghul | Salvatore Maroni | Sensei | Tabitha Galavan | Theo Galavan | The Ogre | Victor Fries | Victor Zsasz

Secondary
Aaron Helzinger | Anubis and the Hunter | Arnold Dobkins | Arnold Flass | Aubrey James | Basil Karlo | Billy Boy | Carlson Grey | Clyde Destro | Davis Lamond | Dick Lovecraft | Dollmaker | Dorothy Duncan | Dr. Marks | Dwight Pollard | Eduardo Flamingo | Electrocutioner | Father Creel | Frankie Carbone | Gabe | Gerald Crane | Gillian Loeb | Grace van Dahl | Gus Floyd | The Lady | Larissa Diaz | Marv | Mario Pepper | "Matches" Malone | Merton | Nancy | Patti and Doug | Reed | Reginald Payne | Richard Gladwell | Richard Sionis | Ridgeback Monster | Robert Greenwood | Sid | Sid Bunderslaw | Stan Potolsky | Talon | Tom Dougherty | Trope | Tweaker | Tweed-Brothers | Zaardon

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Court of Owls | Gotham City Police Department | Jerome Copycats | Order of St. Dumas | Penguins | Red Hood Gang | Maniax | Monsters | Wayne Enterprises