Right now superheroes are hot, and there’s no shortage of spandexed do-gooders on the small screen. You’ve got Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning, all on just one network, the CW. Netflix shows include Marvel’s Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, The Defenders and The Punisher. The X-Men are represented by Legion on FX and The Gifted on Fox. Marvel’s The Runaways are on streaming service Hulu, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on ABC. But the best out of all of them doesn’t feature even one superhero. Gotham made its mid-season return to FOX on March 1.
Gotham takes place in a more altered reality than you might be familiar with from the Batman cinematic and comic book storylines. The series is the story of how Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Selina Kyle, Oswald Cobblepot, Ed Nigma and so many other colorful characters become the versions of Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman, Penguin and Riddler that we’ve come to know and love.
The show itself is well-produced, written and acted (currently 84% on Rotten Tomatoes), featuring Ben McKenzie as a young (and incredibly handsome) Jim Gordon in the show’s centerpiece role. And as great as Gordon is, the true stars of the show are the villains, who war amongst themselves as much as the fight the Gotham City Police Department.
Gotham is dark, dramatic and wonderfully violent, with a hint of horror movie sensibilities.
In the mid-season finale we discovered that Sofia Falcone hired Professor Pyg (yep) to murder her father so she could ascend to control of the Gotham underworld, and she managed to frame the Penguin for the hit. This results in Gordon arresting the Penguin and removing him as Sophia’s biggest rival for controlling all of the criminal activity in Gotham. She also places Gordon as captain, making him her puppet in the GCPD.
Here’s what we have to look forward to with what’s left of Season 4:
The newly incarcerated Penguin will be reacquainted with the ‘now he’s dead, now he’s alive, now he’s dead again, now he’s alive again’ Jerome (the Joker?), and things quickly come to blows.
Poison Ivy has evolved (and been recast, with Maggie Geha replaced by Peyton List) from comic foil side-character to a new deadlier villainess.
The now party-boy Bruce Wayne is spinning out of control without Alfred’s guidance and will be challenged by Jerome and the new Poison Ivy.
Jim Gordon and Bruce will clash over deciding the best way to save the city from corruption.
After Bruce fired him during a temper tantrum, Alfred will go from instructor to a more hands-on force for good.
Scarecrow has also been recast, with David W. Thompson now in the role of Jonathan Crane, replacing original actor Charlie Tahan. That means we can expect him to return to bring fear to the heart of the GCPD.
With Sofia Falcone winning the war against the Penguin, we should find out the fates of mid-level bad guys like The Sirens (Selina Kyle, Barbra Kean and Tabitha Galavan), Leslie Thompkins, The Riddler, Solomon Grundy, Firefly and Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze).