If Gotham was anything in its first season, it was inconsistent. While many episodes had great potential, they failed to live up to it. Also, characters sometimes swung wildly from important, to irrelevant, and back again. While others had no point at all, and just seemed to be thrown in there for no good reason. Even Ben McKenzie (who plays Gordon) noted that they screwed up some things in Season 1.
Thankfully, Season 2 of Gotham, which is titled “Rise of the Villains”, shows that there is hope (and villainy) on the horizon, and that things are definitely not going to go the route of season 1…we hope.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE PREMIERE!!!!
The premiere started off in a very unexpected way, a rolodex of scenes showing off where Gordon, Bullock, Bruce, and a plethora of villains were following the events of the Season 1 finale. It was very interesting that the show only jumped one month in time, yet so much had shifted since that time. It was good in my mind, cause a major time jump (like we saw in Arrow and will see in Flash) shouldn’t have to apply here. The impact is immediate, and it’s worth it.
So, let’s start with Gordon. Who’s not in a good place as we start off. In fact, he’s a traffic cop! One who still wants to do justice. A big twist comes fast though when (during the course of an arrest) he “assaults” a fellow officer, and gets fired by Loeb. What’s a guy to do now? Well, he can pull a Bullock and live a normal civilian life (as a bartender no less, sober 32 days), or he can “bend the law” and get his job back. Gee…I wonder which route he’ll take.
The Gordon/Penguin dynamic was easily one of the highlights of last year, and to see him go back to it, and get what he wants for a price was great. Gordon needs to be shown that you can’t take favors with bad men for granted. He kind of did in the first season, and now its back to haunt him. It was awesome to see Gordon go that route, and not only almost get caught, but kill a man (who no doubt deserved it, but not the point) and feel bad about it. Then of course he couldn’t tell Leslie, but did note “he did a bad thing”. Hopefully this event will shadow Gordon throughout the season.
Then there’s Bruce. Who last we saw “found” the Batcave…kind of. Here though we found it was actually a door blocking the Batcave, and he needed a key code to open it. Bruce’s drive to open the door was good to watch, as we saw he still has a LONG way to go before becoming the detective of legend. Especially when we find out the code was his own name. Something he might have figured out if he was calm and rational.
This also led to some poignant conversations with Gordon and Alfred. The former of which was all but tricked into doing Penguins deed because of what Bruce said. His mention of how “the right way is the ugly way” is a key cornerstone of his Batman logic as an adult, so its interesting to see how he talks about that now. As for Alfred, I liked how he noted the youth of Bruce was clouding what he should and should not be doing. As well as wanting to protect him from whatever Thomas Wayne had down there.
The letter to Bruce was very interesting, and not unlike the “will” that was read in the first trailer for Arkham Knight. Thomas knew that if he and Martha were to die unceremoniously, Bruce might want revenge. He tried to dissuade that, but noted that a “true calling” was the only way to get both happiness and truth. Another cornerstone of the Batman mythos.
Finally, the villains. The use of past and future villains was well done in the premiere. Aside from Penguin, we got the return of Selina (now in Penguin’s gang), Nygma (who’s now got split personalities), Barbara and Jerome (who I’ll get to in a second) and of course the new villains Theo Galavan and his sister, Tigress.
The use of them in the scenes they were in was fantastic. And honestly couldn’t have been done if not built up in Season 1. Barbara and Jerome stood out, as well as Theo in his two monologue scenes. I’m very interested to see where this goes, as these villains, together, could spell havoc for Gordon and all of Gotham.
If there was one bad thing I could note, its that the episode seemed a little too focused on letting us know where everyone was. There honestly wasn’t a “case” to be solved or unraveled. It worked in its favor, especially with how the stories interconnected. From Gordon’s “deed” to Loeb “retiring” to the breakout at Arkham, but I hope we do get back to a little bit of the style it had in season 1. Especially with all the villain on the loose.
Season 2 is off to a good start in my mind. All the pieces are set. Changes have already been made, and now the fallout of things to come is here. Will Season 2 vastly outshine Season 1 like everyone hopes? We’ll find out.