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MANILA, Philippines – The much-anticipated new series of Warner Bros. Television made its premiere in the Philippines last Thursday, September 25, at 9 pm on Warner TV (Channel 77 on Sky, channel 80 on Destiny, and channel 66 on Cignal). (READ: Gotham before Batman: Heroes, villains, and those in between)
Gotham is set in the Batman universe location of Gotham City and revolves around the life of rookie detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) prior to the events of Batman Begins, as he embarks on a mission to solve the killer responsible for the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, the parents of the kid who will grow up to be Batman.
Produced and written by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist), the drama will have 16 episodes in its first season and will provide substantial backgrounds into the lives of some of the Batman universe’s notable characters, namely Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle, (Camren Bicondova), Oswald Cobblepot (later the Penguin, played by Robin Lord Taylor), and Edward Nygma (The Riddler, Cory Michael Smith).
Such background was put to light during the season premiere as viewers got a glimpse of the early struggles faced by Cobblepot. The second episode is titled “Selina Kyle,” which means Gotham will begin elaborating on the pre-vigilante days of Catwoman right away.
In the season premiere, Kyle already played a major role, as she was one of the two witnesses to see the Waynes’ murders. This could mean an encounter in episode two with Gordon, who’s hell-bent on solving the case pronto.
In preparation for this week’s second episode, here’s what happened in the first.
Click the button below if you wish to see spoilers from the season premiere.
Gotham City, and the Batman universe as a whole, is brutal, and Gotham opens its pilot by illustrating just how much.
Through the eyes of a young pickpocket called Selina Kyle, the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne are witnessed by the audience as a large man wearing shiny shoes shoots the billionaires dead.
The murderer than points the gun at the young Bruce Wayne, but pulls away at the last minute to leave the 12-year-old boy reeling from the murders.
Not long after, the pilot introduces us to Jim Gordon, a new detective in Gotham City who makes a promise to a grieving young Mr. Wayne that he will find the man responsible for his parents’ demise.
The scene aims to introduce Gordon as the typical hero: decent, generous, honest, and brave, as he tells Bruce: “I promise you, however dark and scary the world might be now, there will be light. There will be light, Bruce.”
However, Gordon soon finds out that in Gotham, darkness is everywhere, inside everyone.
The rookie detective’s partner, Harvey Bullock, is revealed to be an indolent cop who prefers to drink during the afternoon and get by with his job by using connections with mobs and notable criminals, particularly Fish Mooney.
Even Gordon’s fiancée, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) at first looks like the ideal support system for the show’s main protagonist, but is revealed later on to have a secret of her own that Gordon doesn’t seem to know.
Mid-way through the pilot, Gordon and Bullock track down a man named Mario Pepper who is believed to be the Waynes’ murderer. After the detectives find the pearl necklace that was stolen from Martha Wayne the night she died, Gordon goes after Pepper, who manages to outmuscle the rookie detective, but falls to his death by the gun of Bullock.
The two return as heroes of the task force, but Gordon eventually finds out that they killed a man who was framed – he had been holding a copy of the necklace.
Going after Mooney, whom the main protagonist believes to be behind the set-up, Gordon lands himself in trouble, and later on, his partner is dealt the same fate.
They’re saved just in the nick of time from certain death by crime lord Carmine Falcone, who reveals to the rookie detective that his father was one of Falcone’s friends, which is why he came to the rescue.
Though Falcone will undoubtedly become the main antagonist of the show, Mooney will certainly be the imminent adversary at least for the first season with her plan of overthrowing Falcone and ruling Gotham City.
The pilot of Gotham also introduced Oswald Cobblepot (the man that will go on to be Penguin) and showed moments of his psychotic tendencies, with a sadistic craving for violence.
Towards the end of the episode, Bullock tells Gordon to shoot Cobblepot dead (Falcone’s orders), otherwise he would have to do the murderous deed and follow it up by killing Gordon as well.
The good-willed detective is then put to the test for the first of what should be many more times in the series, but finds a loophole by throwing Cobblepot into the river and shooting the bullet in the air, which fools Bullock.
Gordon then goes to the Wayne mansion to admit to the young Bruce Wayne that the man they originally thought murdered his parents was actually innocent and the actual killer is still at large, but not before he sees the 12-year-old boy at the top of his roof, already showing signs of The Dark Knight he will grow to be.
“I’m learning to conquer fear,” said Bruce, who says he’s happy the murderer is still alive and instructs Gordon to find him (maybe for his own definition of a suitable punishment).
Overall, the first episode was a hit as it portrayed the unforgiving world of the Batman universe. Jim Gordon’s casting as Ben McKenzie was a great move, along with the selection of other characters that seem suited for their roles.
Gotham definitely has promise and will appeal to many because of the Batman universe it comes with. A potential problem could arise if the show’s producers make it the kind of series wherein Gordon will have to solve different crimes on a repetitive week-by-week basis, where it could lose its allure with impatient viewers.
However, the development of characters like The Riddler, Poision Ivy, and Penguin, to name a few, will also be an interesting subplot that could serve as the series’ safety net, along with the excitement over the impending war that Falcone and Cobblepot say is coming.
“I love this city and I see it going to hell,” said the philosophical crime lord during the pilot, while Penguin describes it as: “There will be chaos. Rivers of blood in the streets.”
There’s also the arc of Gordon’s mission to find the Waynes’ murderers, which is a mystery that could last until the end of season one.
Gordon told Bruce Wayne that there will be light. But before getting there, the soon-to-be Batman – and Gordon himself – will first half to deal with the darkness of Gotham City.
Looking forward to the rest of the season:
The rest of the series will see a pre-Police Commissioner Gordon tackle with the everyday crime and corruption taking place in Gotham City along with his partner senior detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).
The show will answer some of the questions left unturned prior to the beginning of The Dark Knight’s adventures in Batman Begins, such as how exactly Gordon managed to move up the ranks in Gotham City’s police department despite its corrupt system, and how anti-heroes like Penguin and The Riddler developed into Batman’s enemies.
But most of all, Gotham provides fans a new chapter in the very popular Batman universe – including the introduction of antagonist Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) – making it a must-watch for all geeks, DC Comics lovers, and everyone else.– Rappler.com
Naveen Ganglani is a correspondent and writer for Rappler.com who spends a lot of his time watching movies, flicking through TV shows, and reading novels when he isn’t penning articles and covering events. On most days, he likes to watch re-runs of Friends as he hopes to master Joey Tribbiani’s “How you doin’?” pick-up line. Follow him on Twitter: @naveenganglani