As "Gotham’s" Bruce Wayne, David Mazouz plays a character who keeps inching towards becoming Batman. In the last episode before the show's current mid-season hiatus, Bruce defeated the psychopathic Jerome, aka the show's proto-Joker, but not before he almost beat the grinning lunatic to death.
It was Bruce’s first major win against one of Gotham’s notorious villains, and a tough lesson learned about what lines should never be crossed. However, it’s the Court of Owls -- a nefarious organization that may be responsible for the death of Bruce’s parents -- that will test Bruce’s resolve and limits in the back end of the season.
Ahead of Mazouz’s appearance at this weekend’s Toronto ComiCon, the actor spoke with CBR about Bruce’s continuing evolution into Batman, the Court of Owl’s agenda, and the state of Bruce’s relationship with Selina when Gotham" returns.
CBR: When we last saw Bruce, Jerome nearly pushed him over the edge. Bruce was going to kill Jerome, but stopped himself. What did he learn from that encounter?
David Mazouz: He learned he wasn’t going to kill. Through that experience - and that very close encounter with crossing the sacred line that we all know that Batman holds dear – Bruce decided that was a line he didn’t want to cross.
One of Batman’s most-defining qualities, if not his most-defining quality, is that he does not kill. He will not do that for any purpose. Even though Joker escapes Arkham [Asylum] and creates mayhem and kills innocent people, Batman never kills him. He constantly just brings him back to Arkham. I think that’s because he believes nobody is beyond redemption. Once you take a life yourself, you are no better than the people you are trying to stop. It’s definitely a constant theme on Gotham. Jim Gordan went through the same kind of arc in Season Two. He did cross the line and he learned some of the differences between our heroes in the show.
Something else he learned is how evil people can be, how evil humanity has the potential to be, through Jerome and his maniac crew. That whole experience showed him the underbelly of Gotham. It was the first time Bruce was exposed to something so ugly, evil and disgusting on so many levels. There was a moment, that wasn’t really explored too much in the episode, where Jerome said, “Face it, Bruce. Gotham has no heroes.” I believe in that moment that Bruce begins to decide to do something about that. I don’t think he necessarily thought, “Okay, I’m going to go be the hero Gotham needs.” It gives Bruce a kick. Most people would have taken that and said, “Oh, crap. You’re right. I guess I’m screwed.” Bruce doesn’t. Bruce takes that and goes, “Well, I’m going to change that.”
Selina believes Bruce betrayed her after he paid off her mother. Where do they go from there?
Selina is mad, and she’s going to stay that way for a while. In the coming episodes, the Bruce/Selina relationship takes a back seat. Selina doesn’t want anything to do with Bruce because she’s very angry at him. It was a bad situation to be in for all of them. I don’t think Bruce regrets what he did. He withheld information Selina would have liked, but I think he was honestly trying to protect her. You are going to see he does try to make things work because he wants her to understand he only had the best intentions. But, Selina is going to need time to come back from this and Bruce will allow her that time. Things will continue when they are ready to continue.
At the end of the last episode, Alfred tells Bruce, “Let’s get to work.” What does Alfred have left to teach the young billionaire?
Loads. In the next episode, you see Bruce continue his training. Bruce is not nearly where he needs to be in order to be on that level of Batman caliber. He’s definitely a trained martial artist at this point, but he’s not Batman. There’s still loads to be taught mentally, physically, emotionally, and the most important thing he needs to be taught are the rules. There’s his guidelines and figuring out what he’s going to do. At this point, Brue is still figuring out who killed his parents and doing anything to get that answer and bring the people responsible to justice. I don’t think he’s made that decision to help save Gotham from the evil that transpires. He will make the decision, and it will happen fairly soon, but it hasn’t happened yet.
It appears the Court of Owls are grooming subject 514A for something big. What can you tease about where Bruce fits into their plans?
You will see that in the very next episode. The Court of Owls will become extremely present in the last eight episodes. At the center of their plans is Bruce Wayne -- Bruce and 514A are instrumental to that plan. Something huge will happen with Bruce and the Court of Owls that will change him forever and ultimately help transform him into the man we know he has to become.
Bruce has other personae besides Batman, as the billionaire playboy and the world’s greatest detective. In what ways are we going to see more of those sides?
You are going to see those sides more in Season 4. As of now, Bruce isn’t really putting on a mask and saving Gotham. As long as Bruce isn’t hiding another persona, he doesn’t need the playboy persona to cover it up. In the coming season, you will get to see that side of him.
Bruce hasn’t spent much time with Jim Gordon this season. How important is that relationship to him?
It’s instrumental. It’s funny -- I’ve been thinking of that, also. There hasn’t been a lot of Bruce/Gordon scenes. I’ve only had about four scenes with him the entire season. It’s weird. In Season 1 and 2, we had at least one scene every couple of episodes.
Bruce believes in Jim Gordon. At the start of the show, when Jim promises Bruce that he is going to find his parents’ murderer, Bruce really believes him. Bruce believes Jim can be the man who can save Gotham, who can be the man who can restore it to its original beauty. The relationship is so important because eventually Bruce will realize that Jim fails because he’s a man. He’s not a symbol. Gotham needs a symbol. Gotham needs the Bat. That’s why that relationship is so important. Bruce wants Jim to succeed, but, eventually, he doesn’t. Bruce needs to then take it upon himself.
What else can viewers expect in the remaining episodes?
Court of Owls. Court of Owls. Court of Owls. The last eight episodes are going to be very heavily Court of Owls. They have a plan. As I said, Bruce is going to be at the center of their plans. They do something to him that goes back to the very beginning of the show. It’s something I would say is emotional, but it’s beyond that. It shakes the core of Bruce’s being. He’ll never be the same. It will transform him, and that’s going to be his arc in the last eight episodes.
Toronto ComiCon is this weekend. What do you enjoy about interacting with the fans?
Everything. I love talking to the fans and hearing what they think about the show, or what they like, or don’t like. I love hearing their thoughts. We make the show for them. Gotham wouldn’t be anything without the fans. It’s all about our communication between us and them. These conventions serve as a perfect tool for that communication. I’m very thankful and can’t wait to come to Toronto.
“Gotham’s” third season returns Monday, April 24, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.