After a fantastic second season (my reviews are still here on the site if you want to look them up!), but a disappointing finale, Gotham needed to rebound quickly for Season 03. Especially with the promise of new villains, and LOTS of surprises and changes coming.
Thankfully, “Better to Reign in Hell…” did a great job of reminding us who mattered and why, while also building up some of the big threats and changes. It was actually good that one of the more heartfelt moments came right at the beginning, as Gordon went to go find Leslie Thompkins, only to find out she had moved on from him. Why was this good? Because it allowed for the darkness to follow to come without being broken up by cheesy love stories, which Gotham can be accused of from past seasons.
Seeing Jim as a bounty hunter, and a good one, made for an interesting change both for him and the show. As it put a new spin on things that made sure it wasn’t even keel with what happened last premiere. Cause now, it’s not about Jim vs. the GCPD, it’s Jim vs. the monsters AND the GCPD, among others.
Another plus to this premiere was the time jump to six months later. Why? Because it set up the fear of the “Legion of the Horribles”. Who have been terrorizing Gotham for some time now, and everyone is afraid. This fear brought some interesting people to light, including Penguin, who is so distressed about Fish Mooney’s rebirth, that he’s going public to ensure that she gets caught, or killed. Whichever comes first.
That doesn’t mean Fish is going down easy. She’s already got the Horribles under her control, and she wants an army of them. Thankfully, she’s got a problem. Her condition, controlling people via touch, is killing her, and she needs to find Hugo Strange to save her, or else.
That’s of course not even talking about all the other characters we were caught up on. Tabitha Galavan and Barbara Kean are now running a bar together, and are still just as crazy and bloodthirsty as before. Nygma is still in prison, but is also still a friend to Penguin. He’ll be back in a big way for sure.
Then there’s a new character in town in the form of Valerie Vale. Who’s supposedly the grandmother of longtime Gotham character Vicki Vale. She played a minor role in this episode, but showed enough personality to prove she could be a force to be reckoned with.
Oh, and what about Bruce? Well, while he was “away”, he got dirt on the Court of Owls, and called them out upon his return. The result? Well, he got kidnapped…again…but it was by a Talon! Which was cool. While I technically don’t like that they did the whole “we’re going to Switzerland!” thing again, I’m glad they aren’t making us wait for the Wayne/Court of Owls confrontation. That would just be dumb.
Naturally, there were some faults with this episode. Some characters didn’t get to shine like they could’ve, and the time jump will likely put some people off. But overall, I think “Better to Reign in Hell…” was a very adequate start to the new season. There’s plenty that could go right, and go wrong, but I have a feeling this could be the start of another good season.
Welcome back to Gotham. Here, there be monsters.