Gotham: The Complete Third Season Blu-Ray Review

Review of: Gotham: The Complete Third Season
Eric Joseph

Reviewed by:
On August 28, 2017
Last modified:August 28, 2017


Though not without its faults, Gotham has risen to the upper echelon of comic book television. Let's just hope it stays there.

Gotham: The Complete Third Season

You know, I really feel like I’m playing devil’s advocate whenever I say something supportive about Gotham. Really, angry fanboys have made it the Roman Reigns of the DC TV family. But despite it taking the basics of the Batman mythos and using them to build something that’s all its own, I’ve really come to enjoy this series as I believe it makes for some rather stellar television. Granted, I can’t speak for where the producers may be headed in the future, but in the meantime, I’m having a ball watching.

Obviously, the backbone of this show is Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and the personal journey he’s embarking on, but I don’t want to discuss him in-depth just yet. Instead, I’ll describe this season in a nutshell before going any further.

Basically, season 3 was the Year of the Owl. Sure, the Court of Owls may not have been onscreen for the entirety of the junior run, but they were most assuredly there in the shadows. As a secret society comprised of Gotham City’s elite, this cabal has clandestinely run the metropolis for a couple centuries. And while their portrayal may not have been 100% faithful to the work of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, I felt their likeness worked within the confines of the story being told.

While they put their plan into action that ties together with the Alice Tetch virus subplot from early in the season rather nicely, much of the principal cast is put through the wringer as only this unforgiving city can do. As such, you’ll feel like you just ran a marathon after binge-watching this set because those major players see some significant changes as time stretches on.

Take Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), for instance. The ex-GCPD detective starts the year off as a bounty hunter rounding up Indian Hill escapees before rejoining the force and later attempting to bring down the Court of Owls from within. It may not sound like a lot for 22 episodes, but it kind of was.

And therein lies one of Gotham’s greatest detriments that was somewhat rectified this time around: Way too many characters. Ever since the pilot episode aired, it quickly became apparent this series wouldn’t be the slow burn that Smallville was. Instead, Bruno Heller and company tried to shoehorn in as many essential villains as possible from the get-go.

Finally, a solution has been found with the obvious decision to break the baddies off into factions. With all these flamboyant evildoers occupying the same space, it’s believable that egos will clash often. For example, the Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) start off as best buddies, but the former’s insane schemes – that I won’t spoil for those yet to catch up – lead to the latter’s becoming the Riddler, with each of them finding new partners to work with in the final stretch of episodes. And aside from a certain man who laughs, this subplot was one of the finest things season 3 had going for it.

Having said that, I couldn’t think of a better time to talk about the returning Cameron Monaghan who plays Jerome Valeska, the proto-Joker, to absolute perfection. Killing him off at the beginning of season 2 was one of the biggest mistakes the producers ever made, so his resurrection was not only welcome, but it’s worth the price of admission alone.

For my money, the three-episode arc found midseason is something to show anybody who’s looking for the most comic book accurate Joker in live action. Well, performance-wise, that is. He may not have the trademark pale complexion as of yet, but he did have to staple his own face back on for reasons you’ll just have to see. Suffice it to say, it was a morbidly wonderful nod to the skin mask made notorious by the Batman: Death of the Family comic. Let’s just hope this guy will be included in an episode or two in season 4 because his appearances have an event-like feel to them.

If anything, the biggest screw-up came with how Bruce Wayne was handled, something that more care needs to be taken with. To be honest, I contemplated giving this set a perfect score, but revisiting his subplot from the back half of the season heavily factored into my decision. Seriously, no matter how great of an influence is put on the boy who would be Batman, he must never cross over to the dark side, and there were some moments that made me very uncomfortable as a lifelong fan of the Caped Crusader. When you get to the middle of the two-part finale, you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about.

On the plus side, the pros and cons all look downright gorgeous on Blu-ray. I’m not lying when I say the cinematography is off the charts, so major kudos go to Christopher Norr and his colleagues for making each and every scene so captivating from a visual standpoint. This may not be one of the Arkham video games, but it’s incredibly immersive.

When it comes to the bonus features, their total duration wasn’t too staggering, but I very much appreciated what was there. The meatiest of the lot came in the form of 2016’s Comic-Con panel, but I also got a kick out of “Madness Rising: The New Villains of Gotham” and “The Dark Within The Dark: The Court of Owls,” both of which obviously shed some light on the less righteous folks in town.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m experiencing a lot of internal debate when choosing my favorite, but Gotham: The Complete Third Season is narrowly bested by the preceding year. Still, it had the best finale of the three, as it tied its threads together rather handily thanks to grouping characters as I mentioned earlier. Maggie Geha’s Poison Ivy was criminally underused until the final stretch and Bruce’s mad dash to the finish line needs to be slowed down, but there’s still a lot to eat up here.

Gotham: The Complete Third Season

Though not without its faults, Gotham has risen to the upper echelon of comic book television. Let's just hope it stays there.