Season 1 of Gotham is in the books as a moderately successful comic book adaptation prequel to the wee orphan that will become Batman, the early adventures of the lawman that will join him in his crusade, and the assorted riff raff that the corrupt city alternately creates and destroys and corrupts into warped reflections of the city’s soul.
A lot of ground was covered for many of the characters (Spoilers for Season 1 ahead; Read at your own risk!): Jim Gordon learned that his fists of fury aren’t going to be enough to right the wrongs of Gotham with his relationship with Barbara Keane a casualty of his campaign; Harvey Bullock realized that Gotham doesn’t crush everyone in its path but remains wily in his loyalties; Edward Nygma while sympathetic is well on his way towards his dark destiny; Oswald Cobblepot became the king of the Gotham underworld as the last man standing; and Bruce Wayne took the first steps in his dedicated life of crime fighting by investigating his parents’ deaths –with the help of tween Selena- and how Wayne Enterprises fits into the big picture.
But even with all the character arcs, easter eggs (Hello, Graysons!) and proto-Batman villains of the week (Red Hood, Scarecrow, The Dollmaker) there is still plenty of Batman lore to be covered and reinterpreted in the television adaptation. Announcements have already confirmed that Leslie Thompkins, Lucius Fox,and Harvey Dent will be regular season two cast members which indicate that Jim Gordon will at least still have his romantic partner in crime, the mysteries of Wayne Enterprises will continue to be a big story for Bruce with Lucius as a guide, and Jim and Harvey will continue to circle each other in the world of law and order.That’s That’s some great casting news to get the mouth watering for the next season.
Some additional characters and stories on my wish list for season two include:
- Bruce Wayne meets Leslie Thompkins: In the comics, Leslie was actually a friend of Bruce’s father, Thomas, and actually served as a kind of mother figure for him in his youth. With Jim already serving as a father figure to Bruce, it seems only fitting for Leslie to eventually meet Bruce and perhaps reveal to him that she did know his father and give him a new perspective on Thomas. Also with Leslie embracing the life of detecting, she could also be an ally in Bruce’s investigation into Wayne Enterprises and his parents’ deaths.
- Martha Wayne: As awesome as Leslie is, however, I think that a great story for Bruce to find himself consumed with is learning more about his mother, Martha. In most of comic lore, Martha is a pretty blank slate and known to be a loving mother and socialite with an unfortunate fondness for pearls. One big exception is in Geoff John’s Batman Earth One where we learn that Martha is an Arkham and has a history of mental illness in her family. Is this why Thomas, according to Alfred, made him promise to never take Bruce to a psychiatrist? Because of Martha’s experiences? Because he didn’t want Bruce to learn about the genetic propensity for insanity and have it looming over his head? It does add a whole new layer to Bruce’s obsession: Is he simply a man on a mission or a man teetering close to the edge of a genetic predisposition towards madness? In any case, Martha is ripe and due a good story in her relation to Bruce and Gotham affords the kind of time to give the late Mrs. Wayne much needed attention.
- Alfred Pennyworth needs a girlfriend. Or at least flirt with the idea. He was giving off some cute sparks with Fish Mooney (RIP?) when searching for the missing young Master Bruce. Like Martha, we know very little about Alfred’s backstory except that he was a soldier (and a darned good and dangerous one at that) and is loyal to a huge degree to the Waynes. But Alfred is still a man and having him caught between duty to his young charge and love for someone else and wondering if he can have both in his life would give him some great story that examines why he’s determined to raise Bruce rather than send him off to the nearest boarding school.
- Bring back The Ogre. Yep, he was killed off in S1, but he was so well played by Milo Ventimiglia and so convincing as a menacing villain and most importantly-solved The Barbara Keane problem of season 1. Until she was terrorized by The Ogre, Babs was simply a hot mess that nobody wanted any part of. Tweens Selena and Ivy alternately mocked and pitied her. Her ex-girlfriend, Montoya, dumped her after ‘winning’ her because she had gone back to using and Jim finally gave up on their relationship when Babs ignored his pleas to come home. But then Ms. Keane met the Ogre and the chemistry was undeniable and the push and pull of sanity and insanity between the two compelling. As a duo, there is potential of them being a recurring terror for Gotham and most especially Jim Gordon, giving him a credible and personal nemesis for the long haul (or at least a season). In any case if we must keep The Ogre dead, let him live on in spirit through Barbara, who at season’s end had been institutionalized after attacking Leslie and admitting to murdering her parents. Babs could very easily take over the Ogre’s MO of looking for the perfect man and in finding her potentials falling short, murder them as her mentor did. Jim’s onetime love as a cracked and ever escalating violent threat to him and the city is an interesting direction to take Barbara in since it departs mightily from her comic book history.
- Red Claw. This idea I’m pulling from the Batman: The Animated Series and it could incorporate not only the Gotham Underworld but Gordon and Alfred and Bruce an even Selena. Red Claw is the leader of an international terrorist group (also called Red Claw) that basically would hold cities hostage for money. Voiced by Kate Mulgrew in the series, Red Claw was a pretty ruthless woman that was not afraid to get her hands dirty to get the job done and even tussle in hand to hand combat with Batman. Even if we can’t have Kate Mulgrew herself in a short arc, having the organization try to reach its tentacles into Gotham with Oswald having to fight an outside menace could be interesting.
- With Bruno Heller at the helm of Gotham it would be only fitting to have actors from his former shows – Rome and The Mentalist – pay a memorable visit to Gotham. With The Following benched, James Purefoy could arrive as a rival mob boss. Polly Walker or Ray Stevenson (when he’s not busy on Black Sails) would also be great fits for the show. Finally, is it just me or would Simon Baker make a kick ass proto Joker?
- I’m stealing this next casting suggestion from TVLINE.com and suggest Omar Epps as Mr. Freeze. Just think about it. He could make it work!
- Since we’ve introduced one love of Bruce Wayne’s life, I think it’s only fair that we get to see another. No, not Talia Al Ghul, but the nicest gal of the bunch, Zatanna, daughter of the magician Zatara who Bruce will later study under during his worldwide tour of studying buttkicking. Bruce needs some lightness in his life and Zatanna could nicely provide it for an episode or three.
- The Court of Owls. One of the most recent Batman comic book story arcs has been about The Court of Owls and their reign in the shadows over Gotham. Showing the seeds of this now weaving in and out of all the episode and character arcs could go far towards great story in subsequent seasons.
- More Easter Eggs for other cities. Henry Allen from Central City as a friend of Dr. Leslie Thompkins coming to consult. Bruce goes to the local museum for a school trip and sees Dr. Fate’s helmet or an Amazonian shield purported to be from Themyscira. There are loads of ways to sneak in nuggets of DC Comics goodness that keep it grounded in the gritty realism of Gotham but also speak to the wider world at large that awaits Bruce.