Gotham is three episodes into its return from the mid-season hiatus, and so far part two of the inaugural season has been great. A lot of people took issue with Gotham early on for trying to cram in too many proto-villains and for general comic book campiness, but I for one was hooked since the first episode. It’s basically just a buddy cop show set against the zany background of pre-Batman Gotham City, and the lead actors, Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, are phenomenal. The second half of season one has definitely tightened up the storytelling and advanced a lot of major plots really quickly. Naysayers may finally find something to like, while fans are probably liking it even more.
But where do we got from here? How will this season wrap up, and what direction will future seasons take? I don’t have the answers, but I do have educated guesses (read: wild speculation). Needless to say, this post will be stuffed with spoilers!
Am I the only one who is absolutely sick of Fish Mooney at this point? Jada Pinkett Smith is just not very good, but Fox paid for her and now they have to use her. Smith overacts in every scene, and I very quickly realized that I couldn’t stand her. However, I’m happy that they’re finally advancing her plot beyond pointless scheming that goes nowhere. Falcone is onto her treachery, and after strangling Liza to death it’s clear he’s out for blood.
Unfortunately, the writers decided to try and make her into some kind of protagonist now that she’s on the outs, and the most recent episode, “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon,” features a B-story where she and Butch, her weirdly devoted number two, try to stay alive long enough to get revenge on Penguin and escape Gotham. The problem is that I just don’t care. We’ve had half a season of hating Fish for being a stupid one-note villain, and now that show wants us to empathize with her.
They even throw in a weird scene where Fish turns to Bullock for help after Butch gets captured by Zsasz. Bullock suddenly seems affectionate toward Fish, conveniently ignoring the fact that she ordered his death in the pilot. I always thought Fish was one of Bullock’s many criminal contacts that he has a casual flirtation with, but he actually kisses Fish and seems concerned for her safety. What? What could Fish have possibly done to earn the affection of hard-boiled Harvey Bullock?
Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear that we haven’t seen the end of Fish. Would that she had just gotten tortured to death by Falcone’s henchmen, but instead she flees Gotham, proclaiming that “Gotham hasn’t seen the last of me.” Even for this show that’s a little too on the nose. Fish will resurface for the finale and hopefully be killed by Penguin when she tries to exact revenge; more likely, though, she’ll get away again so they can bring her back next season. Uggh.
Onto more interesting plots: Edward Nygma. Cory Michael Smith is perfect in the role, expertly walking the fine line between talented forensic analyst and creepy stalker/sociopath. His unrequited affection for Karen Kringle has been fun and appropriately cringe-worthy, but her attitude in the past few episodes makes me think that Nygma might actually be wearing her down. I suspect that Kringle will be the impetus for Nygma’s psychotic break that turns him into a supervillain, but I have to wonder how long they can drag things out before he goes rogue. Surely not more than another season. Smith is so good in the part that I can’t wait for him to turn to villainy. I’d be totally okay with him just being the Riddler in a pre-Batman Gotham. Nygma is already a great foil for Bullock and Gordon, and I would love it if he was a central villain next season, working against the police from the inside while still an analyst at GCPD.
Now how about Bruce Wayne himself? I really like David Mazouz as young Bruce. He’s not just a mopey kid that bungles everything, but instead is pretty capable and determined. It makes me wonder, though: how long are they going to wait before Bruce just becomes Batman? The show is already taking liberties with the comic book canon, so why not mess around with Batman’s history too?
The accepted canon goes something like this: Bruce leaves Gotham at around age 17 or 18, travels the world to studies martial arts and other disciplines, and returns at around age 25 to don the cape and cowl. Well what if he just doesn’t leave? What if he gets all his training from Alfred and others, only leaving Gotham briefly for a half season or so before returning? If little Bruce is around 13 now (I forget if they’ve given his real age), then it won’t be too long before he’s old enough to start doing some vigilante stuff. If Gotham makes it to season six, I predict that Bruce will basically be Batman by that point–and I’m totally okay with that. I just hope Mazouz fills out into someone reasonably believable as an athletic crimefighter, because no one likes a recast.
And the million dollar question: who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents? Not a lot of info yet, so it could really be anyone. But I’ll go out on a limb and say Victor Zsasz killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. Seems like something he’d do. I wouldn’t be surprised if Falcone ordered the hit, and he’s been playing everyone else for a sucker this whole time.
And with that, I’m all predicted out. Oh wait, actually I do have one more: I predict that season one of Gotham will continue to be awesome. With only nine episodes left, and with the probable introduction of the Scarecrow over the next couple episodes (Episode 14 is reportedly titled “The Fearsome Dr. Crane,” followed by “The Scarecrow”), the action leading up to the finale is going to be something to watch.