Gotham Pilot: A Batman Show with No Batman
Gotham is another comic book TV show in a long line of comic book TV shows – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, Arrow, Constantine… However, Gotham is different: this is a superhero show with no superhero; there is no Batman in a Batman show.
Gotham is concerned with two people, at least in the premiere – Detective Jim Gordon, a very moral, green detective who will eventually become Batman’s man-on-the-inside Commissioner Gordon, and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), a lackey, and devious, manipulative rat, for Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), a woman working for Carmine Falcone (all DC fans will probably know who this is).
In the premiere, we meet Jim Gordon, on his first day working for Gotham Police Department. He’s taken this job because Gotham is “where the action is.” He’s a moral, hardened, believes that everything is either right or wrong. I really enjoyed Ben McKenzie’s portrayal of the character, and I look forward to seeing more from him. He’s working with a crooked partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). On Gordon’s first day in Gotham, the two are called to the crime scene of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, which we all know was witnessed by their son, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz).
Not only do we meet the future Batman and Penguin, but we also see the future Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), and Poison Ivy (Clare Foley). We also might have met the Joker, but we won’t know who he is for a while; he may or may not be the comedian in the premiere.
In the premiere, we see Selina Kyle pickpocketing for money and milk for the alley cats. She is in the same alley in which the Wayne’s are murdered and for the rest of the episode, we see her popping up in various places that Bruce Wayne is. At the scene of the murder, Gordon is the first person to get Bruce to talk, and the two bond over the mutual loss of their fathers at a young age.
Edward Nygma, who just happens to like riddles, tells the cops that the bullet used was expensive. Bullock decides to visit Fish Mooney, because the murder happened on her turf and she’ll probably know what happened. Fish is teaching one of her cronies a lesson with a bat. When she leaves to meet with Harvey, Oswald Cobblepot takes a turn.
Harvey calls Jim in the morning with a lead, who turns out to be Mario Pepper, Ivy’s father. He bolts, and after a chase, Harvey shoots him before he kills Gordon, which in turn kills Mario.
Oswald meets with two detectives from the Major Crimes Unit to snitch on Fish Mooney – Oswald saw her with the pearl necklace that belonged to Martha Wayne. He saw her after she met with Bullock and Gordon. Montoya, one of the MCU officers goes to Gordon’s fiancé, Barbara, to tell her that Gordon framed Mario Pepper (Montoya and Barbara used to know each other pretty well…).
Gordon finds out and goes back to Mario’s place to confirm he didn’t own any of the clothes Bruce described. Bullock doesn’t care that the killer might still be out there. Gordon goes to confront Fish Mooney, who tells her thugs to grab him. Bullock tries to save him, but he’s grabbed too. Fish Mooney realizes it was Oswald who snitched on her; he tries to attack her when she calls him her little penguin. We all know that was a mistake!
Before Gordon and Bullock can be killed, Carmine Falcone (John Doman) shows up and takes them down. He says Pepper was framed so the people of Gotham can feel safe. He tells Gordon that no good would come if he took the police department down by confession what he knows.
Falcone wants Gordon to show his loyalty by killing Oswald. Of course, Gordon is too moral (and we can’t have the Penguin die in the premiere, can we?), so he pretends to shoot him and throws him in the river.
Gordon visits Bruce to tell him that Pepper was framed and his parents’ killer is still on the loose. Bruce is glad because he wants to see him again. Gordon promises he will find him and clean up the police department.
Oswald Cobblepot resurfaces after swimming across the harbor. He murders a fisherman for his food, and the premiere ends.
What’s interesting about this Batman show is that instead of focusing on the inner workings of Batman – what he’s struggling with, what he believes in, etc. – it’s focusing on the world building and inner machinations of the city itself, which I think could be really interesting if it is done right. I’m really excited to see Oswald Cobblepot’s rise to becoming The Penguin. Robin Lord Taylor is absolutely fantastic as Cobblepot. Ben McKenzie’s somewhat monotone, hardened portrayal of Jim Gordon will either continue to impress or start to fall a little flat, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.
The premiere had a lot going on; it introduced a lot of characters in a short amount of time, which I understand because they kind of what to lay it all on the line, but future episodes will need to have more development versus introduction. I’m looking forward to next week though!