Gotham Season 4 Review

TV :
Eric Joseph

Reviewed by:
On September 21, 2017
Last modified:September 21, 2017


Despite being skeptical of the "Batboy Begins" premise, the actual execution was handled exceedingly well. Believe me, Gotham may be worthy of your attention now more than ever.

Gotham Season 4 Review

This review is based on the season premiere.

From the start, a common complaint about Gotham has been that it’s “a Batman show without Batman.” And even as a supporter of the series, I have to admit that position is warranted. But now, we’ve made a huge leap forward, putting it in similar territory to Smallville seasons 8-10 – which I referred to as “the proto-Superman years” – because, like it or not, we’ve now entered the proto-Batman era, baby.

With that, I’m not going to waste time addressing the elephant in the room: The fact that Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is already putting on a mask and dispensing vigilante justice three years after his parents were gunned down. I firmly believe the producers have decided to allow him to split some wigs because not only are the amount of stories you can tell involving young Bruce extremely limited, but also due to this show being renewed for a fourth season by the skin of its teeth. Hey, let’s be honest, Fox cancels series like the rest of us breathe oxygen, so the creative minds probably want to make some memories before the ax comes down.

Admittedly, it’s hard to accept the idea of what we’ll call “Batboy” intellectually, but it’s actually looking kind of cool in practice. Granted, he’s not going to start cosplaying as Midnighter until episode 2, but I’m warming up to the idea. Still, they’re going to need to have this kid hit the gym if we’re going to swallow this – and I’m saying this as someone who likes David Mazouz. It’s just the truth. Funnily enough, I found Selina Kyle’s (Camren Bicondova) multi-fight in the alley to be more believable as her journey toward becoming Catwoman runs parallel.

Throughout all this, we witness the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) strengthening his grip around Gotham City, regardless of having been ousted from the office of mayor. Now, he’s handed out “License of Misconduct” (sounds like a Steven Seagal movie, doesn’t it?) cards to criminals of his choosing, thereby allowing them to run amok. Basically, he’s unionized crime and has city officials by the balls because he’s somehow keeping the crime rate down. Thus, the GCPD complies, much to the chagrin of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie).

Consequently, hooligans not deemed fit by Oswald Cobblepot mount a rebellion, employing the gas developed by the late Jonathan Crane’s (Charlie Tahan) dad. As a result of their bungling of the situation, they end up giving birth to the Scarecrow, something we all knew was coming. Granted, we don’t see Crane don his iconic burlap attire until the very end of the premiere episode, but this iteration stands the potential of being the most comic book accurate Scarecrow in live action thus far.

Normally, I’d be detailing what’s going on with about 90 other characters about now, but amazingly, a fair amount of the vast principal cast has yet to be seen. Though I can’t speak for what’s to come, I’m very much enjoying the slow burn approach the producers are taking now, as opposed to bombarding us with everything right out of the gate. We’ve yet to see what’s in store for Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), Solomon Grundy (Drew Powell) and others – and I’m fine with that. Actually, Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) made a quick cameo while lurking in the shadows, letting us know that his threat will be looming over the course of the 21 episodes to follow.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice is that for the first time in the show’s history, this feels more like Bruce Wayne’s story than Jim Gordon’s. Before, a sort of balance was found, even though there was a lean toward Gordon. But now, we’re seeing a more confident Mazouz who is conveying the qualities of the Bruce we know from the comics: He’s confident, intelligent and daring. And when I say “daring,” I’m not just talking about how he spends his nights; refer to his confrontation with Penguin at the Iceberg Lounge and you’ll see what I mean.

My hope is that, as we move forward, the producers realize they’ve opened Pandora’s Box by putting young Bruce in costume. There’s no going back and they can’t pump the breaks on his growth. Even if it’s slowly but surely, we’re going to have to see little hints of Batman in him in each season to follow, perhaps with new flourishes to his outfit. Assumedly, he won’t actually become the Dark Knight until the series finale, but they must stay on course per their own mad dash toward the finish line.

All in all, Gotham gives the impression that it’s living up to its potential with the premiere of its fourth season, so it’d better stick to the current pace if it hopes to do so. At this point, I’d hate to see a cancellation, and there’s really no room for error from here on out.

Gotham Season 4 Review

Despite being skeptical of the "Batboy Begins" premise, the actual execution was handled exceedingly well. Believe me, Gotham may be worthy of your attention now more than ever.