Warning: This article contains massive spoilers from the season premiere of Gotham "Better To Reign In Hell..." Stop reading now if you've yet to catch up.
The third season of Gotham was bound to be explosive after that incredible Season 2 finale back in May and the season premiere certainly didn't disappoint. The Batman prequel series wasted no time in getting started and the episode explored new storylines as several of the lead characters experienced a lot of change in their lives.
Jim is back in the city after discovering that Lee has moved on, Barnes is back in charge following his near death experience last season, Bruce demanded answers from the board of directors at Wayne Enterprises and Fish began forming an an army of Indian Hill test subjects. Despite the episode's exciting storylines, for me, the most interesting part was seeing the Batman mythology further explored. "Better To Reign In Hell..." introduced several new faces and incorporated many elements from the comic books than it ever has before. As a Batman fan, I was thrilled to see key comic characters coming into play.
Valerie Vale Becomes Gotham's Top Reporter
Gotham found itself a new leading lady this season and she comes in the form of Jamie Chung's Valerie Vale — a reporter who will stop at nothing to find out everything she can about the escaped Indian Hill prisoners. Within minutes of the episode's beginning, Vale launched into a verbal attack on Mayor James and Captain Barnes, demanding to know if the inmates are being hunted effectively and efficiently. Barnes and James were almost rendered speechless by the reporters vicious tongue, but it's obvious that Vale is passionate about what she believes in and knows how to get answers.
The fact that Vale shares a last name with DC Comics' character Vicki Vale is no coincidence — Valerie is Vicki's aunt. In the comics, Vicki is one of Bruce Wayne's love interests and fans will likely remember the character for her on-screen appearances, most notably Tim Burton's legendary 1989 Batman, where she was played by Kim Basinger. Valerie Vale's inclusion in Gotham is a more than likely an indication that Vicki will show up at some point and, perhaps, give Selina some competition for Bruce's affection.
Valerie also showed herself to be quite the asset as she partnered with Gordon to find Fish Mooney, who has been on the loose since she escaped the clutches of Dr. Hugo Strange back in Season 2. Despite their disagreements about how their brief partnership turned out, it's obvious that this isn't the last time that we'll see Gordon and Vale come into contact with each other. I could be wrong, but I thought I sensed a little tension between the two — perhaps they will become romantically involved.
Lee Tompkins, Gordon's former love, seems to be temporarily out of the picture so there is no reason that they couldn't have a little fun — poor Gordon certainly deserves some happiness after the hell he went through in Season 2. There were definitely hints of a potential relationship and there is no denying the chemistry between Gordon and Vale. I could ship that.
Was That Man-Bat?
The biggest moment in the episode came when Gordon confronted one of the escapees who resembled DC Comics character Man-Bat. Earlier in the episode Gordon found Fish looting a storage facility, only to be attacked by this genetically modified guy. What was interesting about him was that he jumped around with a cape — a little like Batman.
Gotham hasn't shied away from nods to the Caped Crusader's mythos before, so at first I thought nothing of it. However, as the fight progressed, it became obvious that the man in question was making several screeching bat-like noises. That was enough to make the Batman fan in me suspicious and later, during another altercation, the perp fell out of a window and sprung a pair of wings. Could this insinuate that Man-Bat is now on Gotham?
It's possible — in the comics, Kirk Langstrom is usually a much older man when Bruce becomes Batman, so this would allow time for Gotham's Bruce to age before he has to take on the human/creature hybrid. Although I can't imagine one of Strange's genetically modified cronies becoming the legendary Man-Bat, it is possible that the same experiments that the deranged professor conducted on him could be used on someone else later down the line.
It's definitely a seed that the creators planted deliberately. For now, we've nothing more to go on than the fact that this guy had wings, but it's likely that Season 3 will lay the groundwork for many of the most notable Batman characters.
Are you a Gotham fan? Check out these:
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- Gotham Producers Tease A Very Different Joker In Season 3
The Birth Of Poison Ivy
The latest episode saw Ivy Pepper get herself into some pretty deep water — quite literally. After threatening to out Fish and her "monsters," she ran for her life only to be caught by Marv — one of the Indian Hill escapees. The guy, who Fish described as "the fountain of youth in reverse," grabbed Ivy as she fell into what appeared to be a sewer. Distraught at the loss of her friend, Selina looked for her but to no avail.
We already knew that Ivy would be undergoing a transformation in the third season — she is set to become much older and more seductive, like her comic book counterpart — and we seem to have witnessed it in "Better To Reign In Hell..." I'm assuming this is the last time that we will see actress Clare Foley as newcomer Maggie Geha will take on the role when Ivy returns to the show. We can only speculate as to what role Ivy will play as an older woman, but I think it's safe to assume that if she was infected by Marv, then her abilities will likely involve plants or seduction. Or both.
It's evident that the show is setting Ivy up for a bigger role this season — as great as Clare Foley was in the role, she was rarely featured on Gotham. This re-casting and aging of the character indicates that the Ivy will have much more material to work with in the coming episodes.
Oswald Becomes More Like His Comic Book Counterpart
Anyone who's familiar with the Batman legacy will know that Oswald Cobblepot is destined to become one of the most notorious villains that Gotham City has ever seen. Over the past two seasons, Oswald transformed from Fish Mooney's umbrella boy into the King of Gotham. The transformation will continue in Season 3 as Oswald becomes more and more like his comic book counterpart.
In the comics, Cobblepot comes from a rich family — a characteristic that was somewhat missing in Gotham until last season when he murdered the people who inherited his father's fortune. Oswald seemingly took control of his deceased dad's funds and wardrobe, looking much smarter and cunning than we've seen him before.
The Season 3 premiere of Gotham found Oswald dressing dapper yet looking more vile than he has in previous seasons. His limp also appears to be worse, making him much more intimidating and bird-like. The Cobblepot name now carries weight in the city as the patrons of Gotham allow him to build clubs wherever he wants. Similarly, he is offering monetary rewards for the capture of Fish.
Gotham's Penguin is becoming the Penguin of the comic books and as Cobblepot was my favorite Batman bad guy when I was younger, I'm delighted to see this transition take place. Actor Robin Lord Taylor is doing an incredible job playing the character. I can only imagine where Penguin will end up by the season finale.
Check out the promo for next week's episode:
With the mysterious clone of Bruce still on the loose, not to mention several more Indian Hill escapees, things are set to get much stranger for the citizens of Gotham City. Season 3 is a new chapter for Gotham and as the season progresses, It's likely that the show runners will be exploring more of the Batman mythos and characters throughout the season and the rebirth of Posion Ivy will most likely be the first step in that process.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8/9c on FOX. Which Batman character would you like to see featured on Gotham next? Tell me in the comment section below.