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Gotham: An Obscure Batman Foe May Hold the Key to Catwoman’s Rise

Gotham Season 5 - Selina Kyle

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 5 premiere of Gotham, "Year Zero," which aired Thursday on Fox.

The transformation of the city into "No Man's Land," with its residents left at the mercy of criminals, wasn't the only major development of Gotham's Season 4 finale. Jerome Valeska also broke into Wayne Manor and shot Selina Kyle in a scene reminiscent of the 1989 DC comic Batman: The Killing Joke. In that influential story, The Joker shot former Batgirl Barbara Gordon, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Now, as the Fox drama begins its fifth and final season, Selina finds herself in a similar situation.

Paralyzed in her hospital bed, she's filled with despair. But we know, from both Gotham's trailers and from the comic books that inspire the series, Selina is destined to become Catwoman. It's a transformation that should occur sooner rather than later, considering the fast-approaching conclusion of the Batman prequel.

RELATED: Gotham: How 'No Man's Land' Draws from the Iconic Comic Story

How, then, will a paralyzed Selina become Catwoman? If the season premiere is any indication, her transformation may be linked to magic, and to a mysterious character referred to simply as the Witch.

Because Gotham City is cut off from the mainland, resources are dwindling, and medical supplies are scarce. Therefore, there's only so much the hospital staff can do for Selina. However, one of the nurses may have a way to cure Selina. In a whisper, she instructs Bruce Wayne to visit the only person who can help: the Witch.

That certainly suggests the intervention of magic, a possibility seemingly supported by Gotham's epic Season 5 trailer, in which a miraculously healed Selina -- "I'm better, even better than before, in fact -- is depicted with otherworldly cat eyes. It's possible "the Witch" is merely the name applied to an alternative healer. However, Gotham is no stranger to the supernatural, and the trailer footage is eerily reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer's Selina Kyle, whose "death" and "resurrection" in Batman Returns was ambiguous, at best. And there is a Witch in the comic book source material.

Batman villain Witch

The Witch was introduced in 1998 in Batman: Arkham Asylum - Tales of Madness, released just before the "Batman: No Man's Land" crossover. She's seen as part of a group of criminals inside Arkham Asylum, but little is known about her. According to her story, she was tried and killed as a witch in Salem, branded with a pentagram on her forehead and burned at the stake, and was later reincarnated. The character was freed from Arkham at the onset of "No Man's Land," but she never actually appeared in the series.

RELATED: Gotham's Harvey Bullock Reveals Why He Stayed in No Man's Land

Could that be the Witch on Gotham? It's difficult to say. Given the connection to "No Man's Land," it seems probable. What's more, such an obscure character can be freely reinvented. If Selina is visited by a Witch with a pentagram on her forehead, then you'll know for sure.

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, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.

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