Dawn Has Arrived in Gotham | Gotham Season Review
Season one Gotham spoilers will be prevalent throughout this review.
Ever since Adam West and Burt Ward departed from their Batman series, there has been a void left in the superhero department. It wasn’t until Tom Welling donned the Clark Kent persona that we had a superhero television presence that permeated a large demographic. Since then, though, we’ve been given a glut of superhero-oriented programs; most notably Arrow, The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, with a special shout out to Constantine being the outlier that many seemingly enjoyed but didn’t garner enough success to stay on the scene. Although, we still hope it gets shopped to another network. Alas, the stars aligned, and we were finally given our Batman show, sort of. The network decided to base the show around a young Jim Gordon, a decision that has rubbed many the wrong way, including myself. As rocky our first steps into Gotham were, the deeper we delved into the world, the strong the series became.
The first handful of episodes did little to keep our faith in visiting a young Bruce Wayne, along with his equally young villains. Seeing Bruce as a helpless kid “in charge” of Wayne Enterprises made him little more than a fill-in character. But as Bruce began to uncover the secrets of his late father, things really started to take shape in Gotham. We were given a look behind the curtain where the ideals of The Dark Knight would begin to take shape. While there is a handful of moments that further craft this character, there is one monumental scene that encompasses the entire season.
Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are tracking down Alfred’s old mate Reggie. Reggie did a job for those trying to take over Wayne Enterprises. When they find him in a drug-ridden alley, they convince him to tell them what they need to know by dangling his precious drugs out a window. As he leans over to grab them, Selina gestures Bruce to push him out of the window to end him once and for all. But being the noble Bruce Wayne, he refuses. His morality is drastically different than Selina’s, and she pushed Reggie out the window with no issue.
The scene is one of the best in the first season as it lets us into the mind of the younger Bruce Wayne. At times, it was difficult to show any feeling towards that character because we’ve been programmed to see “billionaire-playboy” Bruce Wayne beating down baddies. While it was hard to warp our heads around this, once we did the show was immensely enjoyable. We are finally able to see more than flashbacks to Bruce’s childhood and can finally live it with him.
The majority of the characters were given good-to great plotlines, but there were two in particular that could have been given a finer touch. If you ask anyone who has watched the show, I’m certain they will pick Fish and Barbara as two of their least liked characters. These two characters go from semi-likeable to crazed lunatics as the episodes go by. It’s a shame, to be certain, because I felt they could have been quite great characters. But, with Fish being MIA after a lackluster “death scene” and not returning (as a regular at least), we are left with the insane Barbara.
Barbara was exactly what you’d expect if you imagined the annoying girlfriend stereotype from the onset. The writers really dragged her through the dirt and back. But, I actually deeply enjoy her last few episodes and what her character may become. She was a victim of one of the series’ better villains, The Ogre, and it has drastically changed her as a person. The sweet, yet oft annoying character is now violently obsessive. Seemingly leading her to one of our favorite characters in the DC Universe, Harley Quinn. While it isn’t a certainty at this point, it is quite hard to avoid the connections.
As for the other main characters, they absolutely nailed it with the vast majority of the characters. The young villains provide a fresh take on well-known villains such as The Penguin, Riddler and The Scarecrow. While seeing a more aggressive Jim Gordon and more fatherly figure in Alfred Pennyworth was indeed a treat. The mob boss plot with Falcone and Maroni did get lost throughout the show and concluded with a so-so scene, but the journey getting to that point provided some nice points.
With all these great points, there was one flaw that permeated throughout the first half of the season. For those who have watched Smallville, or Arrow to a lesser extent, the “monster-of-the-week” formula became a bit tiring at its beginning. The formula has been a part of all procedurals and has found a ridiculous amount of success throughout various network shows. But, the first half or so of the show provided uninspiring villains that had me quite worried for the later episodes. My fears were later forgotten as the villains did become progressively better, culminating with the outstanding villain The Ogre, brought to life by Milo Ventimiglia.