The Gotham Premier almost flew under my radar, but sister station FX promoted it last night during The Strain. I’m not sure if I’m in love with the show yet. After tonight’s episode, I will definitely tune in next week to see what happens and how things are handled going forward. It was almost burdensome all the names they decided to drop tonight and the imagery they used. It was very heavy and distracting for a person familiar with Batman and the world of Gotham. I hope going forward, there can be fewer eventual super villains thrown in and a lot more story. I know it might sound as though I didn’t enjoy it, but I did and I would easily give it a 9 out of 10 for a pilot/premier.
What follows is a spoiler-rich recap of tonight’s episode.
The Gotham premier opens with who appears to be a very young Catwoman, prowling the streets and snatching some items (including a half gallon of milk). After feeding a stray cat she retreats and spies on the Wayne family coming back from the theater. She watches as they are mugged and then Bruce’s parents are murdered and he spared. The assailant was heavily disguised. A very traditional Batman origin story. Instead of flashing forward to see a heroic Batman thinking back, we go straight to a Gotham precinct to see Jim Gordon diffusing a hostage situation inside the precinct itself. Apparently Gordon diffused the situation too kindly. Cops in Gotham seem to be a lot harder than we’re used to. Gordon and his veteran partner get sent out to work the Wayne case. Jim befriends young Bruce pretty quickly, offering wisdom and advice. The Bruce we see is the very fragile Bruce we encounter early on in Nolan’s Batman Begins. Alfred Pennyworth comes in to pick up Bruce and wishes Detective Gordon good luck finding the murderer. Alfred understands exactly how crime-ridden and corrupt the city is.
Gordon and his partner head into a diner to discuss the case and two detectives from the Major Crimes unit come to take the case off their hands if they want. The next day, back at the precinct, their captain wants the Wayne case closed as soon as possible and Gordon’s partner wants him gone. Denying the request, the two hit the streets and start rattling some cages. Back at HQ we meet Ed Nigma as the units forensic scientist. He reveals that the bullet pulled from Thomas Wayne was a very specialized bullet fired from an unknown gun. Our police duo next pay a visit to Fish, who seems to be connected with the crime families. At her side, is an umbrella toting lackey named Oswald whom the other lackeys tease and call Penguin. Jim prevents Oswald from beating another crook to death, but seems to have missed the information exchange Harvey (his partner) had with Fish.
Back at home, Jim settles in with his girlfriend Barbara. The romantic night in is interrupted by a call from Harvey to meet him about a lead. Following their lead gets them to an apartment complex where a young girl named Ivy answers the suspect’s (her father) door. After threatening to search the apartment for the pearl necklace stolen from Martha, the suspect flees the scene resulting in a foot chase through the neighborhood and a hand-to-hand showdown with Gordon. This ends with Harvey shooting the man to save Jim from a brutal stabbing.
After searching through the apartment, the team very easily finds the pearl necklace and Harvey and Jim are celebrated as heroes. We transition to the newspaper headline being read by Oswald as he waits for the partners from Major Crimes. He jumps in the back of their car and reveals that Mario Pepper, our suspect Harvey just killed, was framed by Fish and the Cops. We move to see Bruce at his parents graveside service, with our young Catwoman watching over. After an emotional handshake between Gordon and Bruce, we cut to see Rene (from Major Crimes) going to Barbara and telling her that Jim was in on the frame up. Of course he wasn’t, and Barbara finds this out quickly when she confronts Jim. Jim in turn confronts Rene, before heading over to the Pepper household to start getting facts straight. After going through the guys closet and checking for shiny shoes and finding none, he tells Harvey that it was a setup. Harvey tries to convince Jim to forget about the whole thing. But Gordon can’t let it go. He confronts Fish about the situation and gets into it with Fish’s lackeys. Gordon gets knocked out and taken captive.
We see him hanging in the meat locker and Harvey makes it to the rescue. Harvey threatens Fish to get Jim released, but Harvey gets himself in the same predicament as Jim. After hanging up, Fish confronts Oswald about ratting her out to Major Crimes. After taunting him and calling him Penguin, he rushes her with a knife and we find out that Fish can take care of herself. Before the detectives can be chopped up, Falcone and his men come to the rescue to remind Fish’s crew that there are rules to follow with this kind of thing.
Falcone talks to Gordon and explains his role in the runnings of Gotham. Apparently, he was good friends with Gordon’s father, a District Attorney. He warns Jim that bringing down the corrupt Police and City Hall would accomplish nothing. To test Gordon’s loyalty to the program, he’s supposed to kill Oswald. Jim walks Oswald to the end of the pier and through pleading for his life, Oswald reveals that a massive war is coming. He whispers in Oswald’s ear to not come back to Gotham before he fires next to his head and pushes him in the river. We close out with Gordon making a trip to Wayne manor. Gordon confides in Bruce and Alfred and we see our young Catwoman again as he drives away. Oswald pops out of the river a very different person, bend on revenge.