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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Gotham Season 04 Premiere

September 22nd, 2017 by Todd Black Comments

Let’s be honest for a second, ok? Gotham as a city, and as a show, has been through a LOT in its first 3 seasons. It’s been at the center of several gang wars, several acts of terror, sane and insane alike have tried to bring it to its knees, and at the end of last season, the very people of Gotham were infected to try and literally rip it apart. What could Gotham Season 04 bring to the table that hasn’t been done before?

Answer: Legalize crime. Kind of.

Silly? Yeah. Fun? Oh yeah. In fact, you could argue that this is one of the most brilliant moves the show has ever done. Not just because it fits the ego of Penguin, but it affects EVERYONE in Gotham. The Mayor and Commissioner (both new and corrupt) are happy to go with this because they don’t want the chaos it will bring if they decline. The people get a certain amount of safety, as there’s only certain kinds of crimes allowed. And this affects Gordon and Bruce in their own journies for justice, as this is something they can’t stand, but they can’t necessarily do anything about…for now.

It’s a wonderful little mess, isn’t it? But I mean that in the best way, as “Pax Penguina” might just be the best of the Gotham premieres, as it not only set an interesting tone for the season, but it also put many of the main characters in interesting arcs right off the bat.

Gordon is of course wanting to take down Penguin, and knows this license thing will end in chaos, but he won’t go against Harvey, who is all for it, and he knows that on some very, VERY, deep level…it is helping Gotham. And it’s not hard to see why Bullock and the other GCPD cops are ok with this arrangement. People aren’t getting hurt, or killed, and especially cops aren’t getting killed, so you can feel sympathy for why they’re hesitant to do anything which could upset the paradigm.

Then there’s Bruce, who picked up right where we left him in the Season 03 finale, with him beginning his own path to justice as a vigilante. But one who’s still learning the ropes, and is under the watchful eyes of both Alfred…and Ra’s Al Ghul. What I loved about Bruce’s small arc here is that he’s fully embracing this new path, and even doing classic Batman tropes in the process (he vanished when Gordon turned around, classic.), but also, he’s learning that, as Alfred said, “There are times for masks, and there are times for Bruce Wayne.” Even in the comics, Batman acknowledges that there are things that only Bruce Wayne can do.

The rest of the roster got some great spotlight too. Selina and Tigress are trying to be their own women, but are forced to join the Penguin regime. Penguin himself is living high off the life, yet clearly still has some regrets about Riddler. Ivy doesn’t like the way she’s being treated, and screws over Penguin in his shining moment. And then…there’s Zsasz.

He is my MVP for this episode, Zsasz has had moments in the previous 3 seasons for sure, but here, he got to shine like never before, and it was great.

Finally, there’s the return of Jonathan Crane. Now, usually, this wouldn’t go well, as a “forced in” villain would upset the balance of the episode. Yet, it fit perfectly here. And it was done in a perfect way that felt natural to the story, and made sense as to why certain things happened. And oh boy, when Jonathan started hearing voices, you KNEW where things were headed. Scarecrow is here. For real.

There were a few downpoints, that ending with Bruce felt a bit abrupt, especially since we saw via the preview that he’s out and fine. And a few moments fell flat, but overall, “Pax Penguina” was a wonderful start to a hopefully great season for Gotham. It’s got the potential, let’s see if it lives up to it.

4.5 out of 5 nerds

Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!