Shannon Slocum
February 22, 2015 12:20 am

Has anyone else been watching Gotham?

At first I was skeptical. After multiple franchises over the years, what else is there to say about Batman? Showrunner Bruno Heller thinks a whole heck of a lot more – backstory that is.

Set way before Bruce Wayne even thinks about donning the black cape, Gotham explores the origin stories of protagonist Detective James Gordon, a young Catwoman, Penguin, and more.

Gotham has become a Monday night ritual in my household, and for good reason – the show is killer.

Here are the moments that turned me into a loyal viewer:

1. Getting to know familiar characters

I tried to pick the best character they introduced, but there are too many.

In just the pilot we meet (re-meet?) newbie Detective James Gordon, a young Bruce Wayne, Detective Harvey Bullock, Captain Sarah Essen, Alfred Pennyworth, Edward Nygma (The Riddler), Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy), and Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin). They’re young, conflicted about their roles in Gotham, and destined to be even bigger characters.

And that’s not all.

More recently, we’ve seen Barbra Kean, Detective Renee Montoya, Dr. Leslie “Lee” Thompkins, Don Falcone, Sal Maroni, Victor Zsasz, Scarecrow, Hugo Strange, Harvey Dent, and Jerome (more on him later).

The most appealing aspect of this show is getting to know the characters and witnessing first-hand what led them to become either heroes, villains, or characters so complicated, they’re impossible to label.

2. Meeting the one and only Fish Mooney

The writers threw viewers for a loop by introducing a character never before seen in the Batman world. Jada Pinkett Smith’s character, Fish Mooney, has an infamous reputation in Gotham – she’s the owner of a popular night club, has ties with mafioso Don Falcone, and knows more about the Wayne murders than she’s willing to share. The fact that we can’t guess Fish’s next move makes her all the most interesting – and unnerving – as a character. People do not mess with her. If they do, she’s not afraid to take a baseball bat to their head, or a knife to their hand.

3. Fish Mooney reminding Oswald Cobblepot that he’s chum

Cobblepot’s first gig in Gotham is holding Fish’s umbrella, but his criminal aspirations are much higher than second-hand man. So he goes behind her back to the city’s detectives, makes deals with Don Falcone, and spies on Sal Maroni. But no one crosses Mooney without payback, and in this case, Cobblepot gets a very sharp reminder to stay in his place. But the think I keep remembering, week-to-week, is that penguins eat fish.

4. Gordon’s accidental alliance with Penguin

From the very beginning, Det. Gordon makes it very clear that he has no intention of going along with the corrupt ways of Gotham. So when mobster Don Falcone orders Gordon to kill Penguin as a sign of compliance, he only kind of follows through… and learns that nothing stays secret for long…

5. Basically anything to do with Oswald Cobblepot

Not an episode goes by without me screaming, “Curse you, Cobblepot!” He’s so slippery and scheme-y, I can’t stand it! But he’s also one of the best characters on the show. So far, he’s managed to run with Fish, Falcone, and Maroni, but what will cause him to slink down to the gutters? So far, every misstep has landed him a higher position on the criminal ladder.

5. The bat befriends the cat

As a way to protect Selina during the Wayne murder investigation, Gordon arranges for her to stay outside of Gotham with Bruce. She’s confused by his soft, polite nature and he’s confused by her hesitance to trust him – but a friendship grows in spite of this. In the scenes to follow, she teaches him street smarts, balancing techniques, and the sweetness of a first kiss. You read that right, kiss.

6. Alfred Pennyworth beats back a bunch of assassins

Michael Caine’s portrayal of Alfred is, of course, legendary, but Sean Pertwee packs a serious punch in the role. When a group of hired assassins come after Selina, Alfred single-handedly defends the manor with some of very impressive combat skills (seriously, what was this guy up to before becoming a butler?)

7. Edward Nygma’s crushes on Kristin Kringle

As GCPD’s forensics op, Nygma is definitely an enigma. He is always ready with a riddle, factoid, and impish grin – especially around file clerk, Kristen Kringle. At first, she’s annoyed and embarrassed by his attention, but in this moment, she ever-so-slightly falls for his charm.

I love him and fear the event that turns him towards villainy (hopefully it’s not a broken heart).

8. Det. Gordon’s reassignment to Arkham Asylum

The mid-season finale ended with Gordon being reassigned to Arkham after digging too deep into the GCPD’s connection with Gotham’s mobs. His new post is grim – the warden doesn’t trust him, he works weird night hours, and there may or may not be an inmate running around scrambling other inmate’s brains.

Just your basic first-day-on-the-job troubles.

9. The Lee-Gordon-Barbara-Montoya love entanglement

After meeting at Arkham, Gordon and Dr. Leslie “Call Me Lee” Thompkins bond over case files until finally going on a date. And it’s cute. They’re both passionate, strong-willed, and love to banter.

Gordon: This is no place for a lady.

Lee: Ha!

Gordon: What do you mean, “ha”?

Lee: You’re a hypocrite. You say you want a strong woman to share this crazy life you’ve chosen, but when push comes to shove, you want me to stay home and bake cookies.

Gordon: Not cookies, necessarily.

This is bad news for Gordon’s ex-fiance Barbara, who went back to Det. Renee Montoya (shh, it’s a secret), and then came back looking for Gordon.

At first, I was all for Barbara’s comeback, but she needs to figure out her ish before their (presumable) marriage and conceiving of Batgirl.

10. Bruce shows the Wayne Enterprises board who’s boss

With no leads on the identity of his parents’ killer, Bruce shifts his focus to his billion-dollar company and the shady connections it has with Arkham Asylum and Wellzyn. The fact that Alfred – ninja butler extraordinaire – is certain they’ll be found “dead in a ditch” if Master Bruce addresses these sensitive topics to the board, is definitely concerning. But the soon-to-be Batman is not about to let his family’s name be linked with corruption.

Bruce: I hope you do look closely at these issues because I’ll be raising them at the next shareholder’s meeting with possible legal action.
Board Member: Dear me, legal action? These are all very deep waters for such a young man.
Bruce: My youth is not relevant, except that if I were a man, I’d be chairing this board and I’d be sure that Wayne Enterprises was run honestly.

Now that’s what I call a closing argument.

11. Jerome’s laugh

While investigating the murder of a “Snake Dancer” at a nearby circus, Det. Gordon gets to know a young man named Jerome. The entire case is strange – feuding clown families, a blind fortune teller, sniffing snakes – but Jerome’s cackle is bone-chilling.

And all too familiar . . .

He has to be the JOKER, right??

Showrunner Bruno Heller says not so fast:

“I can tell you this is a long game plan and a long story that we are telling here. What I can promise you is this is not a bait-and-switch. This is not someone who is just a character who is going to disappear. This is not a red herring. It’s the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker. He might be. But like I say, this is a story that begins about seven or eight years before the actual Joker arrives on the scene in his fully-fledged persona.”

So if he was just the first of glimpse of the future twisted tormentor, who even knows what else is in store? Will he dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Or ask everyone, “WHY. SO. SERIOUS?”

12. The anticipation of what’s ahead

Show creator Bruno Heller has been very giving when talking about what’s coming up on Gotham. He’s revealed that Red Hood, The Ogre (Milo Ventimiglia), Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, and Robin will eventually work their ways into plot lines. He’s even admitted that he’s not averse to killing off an iconic character if there’s a good reason for it . . .

Whether you’re a comic book buff, superhero film fan, or both, Gotham is quickly becoming a staple in Batman culture.

Tune in to Gotham Mondays at 8 p.m. on FOX – there’s only a few episodes left until the season finale!

[Featured image via, Gordon and Bruce via, Fish Mooney via, Gordon and Cobblepot via, Bruce and Selina 1 via, Bruce and Selina 2 via, Edward Nygma via, Arkham via, Alfred via, Gordon and Lee via, Gordon and Lee convo via, Bruce Wayne via, Jerome via, Bruno Heller quote via]

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