Gotham returns tonight for its fourth season with an opening arc appropriately titled “A Dark Knight,” as it traces the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s career as the city’s masked protector (but don’t expect anyone to actually call him Batman). For most dramas, such an iconic tale would be the main storyline, driving much of the 22-episode season. However, this is Gotham, which furiously spins multiple plots like so many plates, threatening to fly off and strike the audience at any given time.
In addition to Bruce’s journey, there’s Selina Kyle’s almost-parallel rise, Oswald Cobblepot’s scheme to control the city’s underworld, Edward Nygma’s virtually inevitable attempt at revenge, the return of Jonathan Crane as the Scarecrow, the arrival of DC Comics villain Professor Pyg, and whatever it is Ra’s al Ghul has planned from the shadows. And that’s only for starters.
A frenetic Season 3 dramatically altered the landscape of the city, as the Tetch virus unleashed the darkness within anyone it infected, Bruce Wayne was replaced with a clone, Nathaniel Barnes was transformed into the murderous Executioner (hand blown off, his whereabouts are unknown), the Court of Owls was decimated, Ivy Pepper was (weirdly) aged to adulthood, Butch Gilzean was revealed to be … someone else, and Fish Mooney exited stage left, this time for good.
With so much happening on Gotham, it may be difficult to keep track of where the key players are as the Fox drama heads into Season 4. Therefore, we bring you up to date below.
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- Bring On Gotham’s Bad Guys
- Friends, Allies and a Little Romance
- New Faces in Gotham, and a (Not So) Fond Farewell
Jim Gordon has run the gauntlet in the first three seasons of Gotham. Introduced as a fresh-faced homicide detective to the city’s criminal underbelly, he fakes to death of (then) low-level criminal Oswald Cobblepot, learns his fiancée Barbara Kean is a murderer, murders corrupt billionaire Theo Galavan only to be framed for another, becomes a bounty hunter, rejoins the Gotham City Police Department, learns his late father was a member of the Court of Owls and then joins the secret society in order to bring it down from within, and infects himself with the Tetch virus, which brings a person’s deepest desires to the surface, and imbues him with super-strength even as it drives him insane.
Woven into much of that madness is Jim’s roller-coaster relationship with Dr. Lee Thompkins, an Arkham Asylum physician turned Gotham medical examiner. The two were engaged, only for them to break off their relationship when Jim was framed by Edward Nygma. By the time Gordon had cleared his name, Lee had already gotten engaged to Mario Calvi, son of mob boss Carmine Falcone. Mario is infected with the Tetch toxin on their wedding day and attacks Lee, only to be killed by Jim. Later injecting herself with the Tetch virus, Lee is cured in the Season 3 finale by Jim and leaves Gotham.
Kidnapped by the Court of Owls and replaced by a doppelganger, Bruce Wayne spends a significant part of the third season being trained, and brainwashed, by the mysterious Sensei to become Gotham City’s protector. Alfred Pennyworth rescues Bruce and kills the Sensei, who nevertheless detonates the Tetch virus, throwing the city into chaos. Still in the thrall of the Sensei, Bruce escapes police custody to seek out the Demon’s Head to complete his training and fulfill his purported destiny as the protector of Gotham and the heir of Ra’s al Ghul.
Ordered by Ra’s to kill a captive Alfred, Bruce stabs his father figure, an act that breaks the Court’s control over him. At the urging of Ra’s himself, Bruce uses water from what’s almost certainly a Lazarus Pit to save Alfred, who convinces him to find his “true north,” and let that guide him. Seemingly fulfilling Ra’s al Ghul’s desire to see him to become his “knight in the darkness,” Bruce embraces a new role as Gotham’s masked vigilante. He’ll continue that journey in Season 4, with some assistance from Lucius Fox.
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