Warning this post will include spoilers and tidbits about the Caped Crusader and the events and people that lead to his evolution into becoming the Dark Knight or more commonly known as Batman.
After months of hype, speculation, and outright anticipation for the release of the Gotham pilot episode, in many respects for me as a huge Dark Knight fan it lived up to expectations. Having known the production players and casting talent involved, I thought they could deliver on the promise to etch out the city of Gotham, and for me the aesthetic, the acting, and every production element in between did just that.
The opening shot of them panning through the city just oozed with the dark mysterious nature of Gotham, and from there the creators of the shows were off to the races to placing key figures within the Batman anthology in the tracks of our leading man, Detective James Gordon. Over the course of the show they brought in such key future villains as Carmine Falcone, Fish Mooney, Catwoman, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, and even the Riddler and in doing so showed how each of their geneses were occurring long before the coming out party for Bruce Wayne as Batman.
Click ahead for our recap and review of the pilot episode of FOX’s Gotham!
The show opens as expected with Martha and Thomas Wayne are slain while looking for a taxi after seeing a movie with their son Bruce. Although most people knew what was coming I thought the raw and unfettered performance of David Mazouz in experiencing his parents death set the stage for the credibility that he was bringing to the role of Bruce Wayne. Later that night, there was a loss of innocence in experiencing that for Bruce, and in his first interactions with Detective Gordon you can tell that Mazouz possessed the certain gravitas to pull off this character. The relationship between Bruce and Jim though is what grounded the entire episode. The promise made by Jim on the night of the murder to Bruce that there will be light and hope for him yet again is the very lynch pin agreement that motivates Jim to pursue the investigation to the fullest.
Over the course of the pilot many realities about the city of Gotham and the key players within it are placed before us. Detective Gordon’s partner Detective Bullock proves to be both part of the law and order of the system, and the underbelly of society that influences the citizens of Gotham far more than they would ever know. His main ally in that underbelly is Fish Mooney, a night club owner who has her own ring of thugs. In one she she may appear to be a driven businesswoman, but in a harsher light is a ruthless criminal in the same breath. Her loyalties are taken into question when it is revealed that she has in her inner circle an informant who is working with the Major Crimes Unit with Allen and Montoya. That individual is the one and only Oswald Cobblepot, or you might have heard of his alter ego, the Penguin. Through his betrayal it unleashes the powers that be within Gotham to fend for their own reputations. The other major players we meet, Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, Edward Nygma aka the Riddler, and Ivy Pepper aka Poison Ivy all make their introductions.
What I loved so much about this show is in an era where law enforcement is often times portrayed with a weak back bone and lacking any fiber of morality, I thought they positioned Gordon in a way to where he maintained his sense of justice for the victims, but also knew when to throw a punch or two to combat those he believed sought to take advantage of him. At the end of the episode when the press has released their story that the police killed the believed murder to the Wayne’s, Jim pursues every lead down a dark hole and finds his life hanging in the balance as he crosses hairs with the likes of Fish Mooney and by proxy the crime lord Carmine Falcone. Eventually Falcone saves Gordon and his partner, but in the process Carmine lays down the facts that the facade of law and order is essential to the ends sought by the crime lords of the city.
The episode ends with Detective Gordon being forced to fend for his own life by either killing Oswald by pushing him off of a deck into the Gotham River or having his partner kill both him and Oswald together. The next episode alluded to Oswald’s revenge filled return to Gotham to take out Fish Mooney once and for all. As well as Gordon’s continued plight as he fights the bureaucracy within the highly corrupt Gotham City Police Department. Bringing it back into the larger DC Universe the preview shows the special bond between Detective Gordon and Bruce Wayne. Tune in next week to watch this hot new compelling drama play out.