SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for last Thursday's episode of Fox's Gotham, "A Beautiful Darkness."
On Fox's Gotham, a teenage Bruce Wayne has found himself in the midst of a downward spiral. After deciding to kill Ra's Al Ghul, the young billionaire has been going on a self-destructive path, filled with parties, alcohol and women. He abandoned his mission to save Gotham City, and even fired Alfred from his long-held position as the Waynes' butler, forcing him to find a new place to live. But all of that came to a crushing head in the latest episode of the television series.
Thanks to an extensive dream sequence, Bruce not only faced the misgivings of his past, he also came face-to-face with his future. Yes, last night, on Gotham, Batman made his debut on the series -- the persona, if not the literal physical presence.
In "A Beautiful Darkness," the newly evolved Poison Ivy is on a mission to save plant life from the chemical experiments concocted by Wayne Enterprises. Naturally, this leads her to the doorstep of Bruce Wayne. Thanks to her new powers of persuasion, she gets all the information she needs out of him. Then, she gives him a light scratch, which infects him with a poison that will kill him. As it does however, the poison also attacks the brain, where it works as some sort of chemical hallucinogen.
As Bruce lies dying in front of his fireplace, he goes through an extensive dream-like hallucination. First, he sees Ra's Al Ghul. Then, he meets James Gordon, with a familiar mustache. But the real surprise comes after, when Bruce is taken to Crime Alley, where his parents were killed. There, a mysterious caped figure reveals itself. Tormented, Bruce asks why he was brought to this place, where his family died. "No..." the dark silhouette answers, "this is where I was born."
Although the character is kept to the darkness, there is no mistaking that this is the Batman. We don't exactly see his pointy ears or his emblem, but we do recognize that he is masked, and that he wears the signature bat-shaped cape. And it doesn't even stop there. Next, the dream takes Bruce inside a cave, where we hear the familiar chirping of bats. Once again, the silhouette of Batman is there. "Who are you?" Bruce wonders. "I am the one you cannot escape," the deep and gravelly voice answers. "You're scared. You should be," Batman growls, before flapping his cape and transforming into a giant swarm of bats.
And that is when Bruce wakes up, miraculously cured thanks to the efforts of Gordon. Later, Bruce recognizes that what he saw, albeit a hallucination, was real. "I think I saw who I really am," he tells Jim, seemingly putting an end to his self-loathing. Thanks to this realistic dream, Bruce has seen his true self, a manifestation of what he had envisioned himself to be, deep down, before his embarked on his dark spiral. Now, Bruce might begin the long road back to redemption. Now, he can begin his war on crime anew. And just perhaps, he might have some ideas for a new costume.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Cameron Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.