For many Batman comic book fans, Gotham has been frustrating to watch unfold. Early critical reception to the show was positive but the conversation around Gotham quickly changed as it became more lazy and formulaic in its storytelling, and execution of the the Dark Knight’s mythos. Reframing the world of Batman around Jim Gordon’s journey to become the grizzled police commissioner we all know and love is an idea with a lot of potential, but so far the results haven’t exactly done it justice. Sometimes the show is the right kind of wacky but often it goes too far and comes off as camp. Still, the show retains a sizable fan base and there’s every chance that the upcoming third season could see Gotham course correct.
In any case, here are 15 Things We Need To See In Gotham Season 3.
15. A new Joker
While the shocking death of potential Joker Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) took many fans by surprise, the showrunners of Gotham have confirmed that they intend to feature several more ‘potential Jokers’ over the course of the series. With any luck, season three will continue this thread by introducing another contender. The Joker-focused arc of Gotham’s second season was a highpoint for the series and it’s easy to imagine Season 3 could return to that level of quality by bringing us a new Clown Prince of Crime. Perhaps this new Joker will be something more akin to Jared Leto’s incarnation of the character in Suicide Squad; maybe they’ll go another direction. The showrunners have even said they’d be open to the idea of a female Joker taking the stage in Jerome’s absence, so that’s a possibility as well. What’s important is that Gotham finds its next Joker – and fast.
14. Bring back Jerome
Or, failing that, they should at least bring back Monaghan’s Jerome. They’ve already spent half a season following Hugo Strange’s efforts to revive the dead, bringing back characters whose deaths had a major impact on the show like Fish Mooney and Theo Galavan. Is bringing back Jerome any more outlandish? Monaghan’s performance quickly became the reason to watch Gotham during his brief tenure as the Joker and it’s hard to imagine whoever follows in his footsteps will bring that same spark. In addition, there’s every reason to suspect that a resurrected Jerome would be so traumatized he’d allow the writers to push the character’s mommy-issues and explore new territory with him. If season three is going to bring with it the return of the Joker, there’s no reason they shouldn’t use Jerome again. After all – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
13. The return of The Dollmaker
Francis Dullmacher (aka The Dollmaker) was a Batman villain introduced in the later part of Gotham‘s first season but we lost track of his character once Fish Mooney escaped from his clutches. We last saw him being savagely beaten by a group of inmates that Mooney had radicalized into turning on him but there’s no reason to think The Dollmaker couldn’t survive that. We never saw a body and given how recklessly the show has been about bringing characters back from the dead, it shouldn’t matter either way. With Season 2’s finale leaving a now-superpowered Fish Mooney on the loose, Season 3 would be a perfect time to bring back The Dollmaker for a rematch between the two characters. We may even get a proper story arc for the villain beyond just being Mooney’s jailkeeper. In any case, Gotham went to the trouble of introducing The Dollmaker in season one – it’s about time he found his way into the main plot.
12. More Harvey Dent
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight showed everyone just how much can be done with the character of Harvey Dent (AKA Two-Face) but Gotham has really struggled to make much of the character (played by Nicholas D’Agosto) so far. He occasionally shows up, works with Gordon, acts suspiciously, betrays Gordon and goes off to do his own thing off-screen. With any luck, season three will be the chance for Gotham to actually give his character some more screen time and perhaps begin to chart his descent into Two-Face. Given how much Gotham has played up the idea of Gordon struggling with corruption it’s surprising they haven’t paired him up with Dent more often. Taking the baggage attached to his character and the focus on corruption and the flawed pursuit of justice into account, Two-Face is a great Gotham villain just waiting to happen. He’s one of the few Batman adversaries the show can do an effective origin story for beyond just a two-episode arc. Hopefully season three will give him a more prominent role and flesh out his characterization a little more.
11. Introduction of Bane
An early episode of Gotham’s first season (entitled “Viper”) introduced the super-chemical “venom” to the series’ vocabulary but we’ve yet to come across the character it’s most associated with – Bane. The appearance of superhuman qualities and abilities made for a refreshingly fun shakeup to Gotham‘s procedural formula the first time around and it could be great to revisit it. In addition, the character of Bane could prove a worthy antagonist for Gordon, regardless of which way they take it. At this stage, it’s uncertain how the show will approach the character’s origin story. It’s very possible he could be one of the supervillains released at the end of season two (something some fans are claiming already) or part of a more elaborate backstory to do with the Court of Owls or the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne. In any case, Bane is a popular villain that Gotham teased all the way back in the first season and season three would be a great time for them to make good on him.
10. Give Bruce Wayne something to do
Gotham‘s young Bruce Wayne has often proved to be both the series biggest potential asset and its most wasted component. As boring as watching him fumble as he attempts to uncover the sinister conspiracy around his parents’ murder has been, his relationships with Alfred and Selina have built an interesting foundation for his eventual transition into the caped crusader. Season three offers the series some potential avenues to listen to criticism and either finally show Bruce begin to become Batman or leave Gotham to undergo the training that enables that development. Showrunner Bruno Heller has previously discussed the notion of ending the series with Bruce’s donning of the cowl but there’s no reason they need to hold themselves to that limitation. Given the liberties that Gotham has taken with the material so far – it may as well be treated as a reinterpretation of the Batman mythos. Consequently, there’s no reason not to accelerate the arrival of Batman – especially given how quickly a child actor like Mazouz might age. Given how much the show has been spinning its wheels with Bruce from the get-go, it feels like season three has to give us some kind of tangible progress on this front.
9. A better incarnations of Poison Ivy
It recently came to light that Gotham would be recasting Ivy Pepper with an older actress, and while there are certainly reasons to be skeptical of this development, there’s also a lot of potential here. A younger version of the villain (played by Clare Foley) was introduced in the first season as a friend of Selina Kyle’s but her age left her in a position where the show couldn’t do a whole lot with the character beyond telegraph the twisted destiny ahead of her. With any luck, their recasting of her in season three will allow them to course-correct and bring a version of Poison Ivy to Gotham that’s much more in line with what fans expect from the character. Gotham has a good track record of finding better stories to tell with their villains after the show moves past their origin stories and Maggie Geha’s version of Poison Ivy (now transformed by an encounter with an escaped monster from Indian Hill) could prove another example.
8. More villainous team-ups
Season two’s “Rise of the Villains” and “Wrath of the Villains” arcs established that Gotham is absolutely capable of telling stories with more than one villain at a time. However, these arcs didn’t offer too much in terms of team-up beyond one villain surrendering authority to another. Jerome and Penguin became cronies of Theodore Galavan and the residents of Indian Hill became henchmen of Hugo Strange. Hopefully Season 3 gives us more proper team-up stories. They’ve certainly established that The Riddler and Penguin are willing to work together but given how many villains Gotham has introduced, it’s a surprise we haven’t seen more already. Season 3 could be a chance for Gotham‘s writers to get inventive and pair different villains together in ways that serve both their development and the escalation of the series as a whole.
7. A rematch between Selina Kyle and Silver St Cloud
Gotham introduced Silver St Cloud (played by Natalie Alyn Lind) in season 2 as a pawn of Theo Galavan and The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas – as well as a rival love interest for the young Bruce Wayne. She played a reasonably prominent role in the second season but, despite some words being passed between her and Selina Kyle, no showdown between the two characters materialized. With any luck Season 3 will provide some closure to the tension between the two. We last saw Silver flee Gotham with Tabitha Galavan halfway through Season 2. While Tabitha returned, Silver hasn’t yet. Given that the series’ aged-up Poison Ivy has “set her sights on Bruce Wayne,” it’s not impossible to imagine Silver returning in time to try and redeem herself by saving Bruce. Selina’s mistrust of the character could be flipped on its head and the show could end up repositioning Silver as one of “the good guys.”
6. Mad Hatter and Solomon Grundy
The second season of Gotham ended with Hugo Stranges’ army of supervillains escaping into the streets of Gotham and based on comments by the people involved with the show, there’s every chance that Mad Hatter and Soloman Grundy will be making an appearance as a result. executive producer John Stephens confirmed to ComicBookResources that “We’ll be seeing Mad Hatter in Season 3. We’ll be seeing the Tweedle Brothers, too, if we’re going to bring the Hatter in. In line with the Court of Owls, we’ll be seeing Talon. And, we should be seeing Solomon Grundy.” Both Grundy and the Mad Hatter are Batman villains who don’t get a lot of play in life-action adaptations. Hopefully they shake up the show’s formula in ways that feel more felt than the usual suspects who appeared in the first two seasons. I mean they can’t be worse than Balloon Man, right?
5. A bigger focus on the supernatural-side of the universe
One of the strongest episodes in Gotham’s first season was the character-focused “Sign of the Goat”. Keeping that in mind, it’s almost surprising how much the series has stuck to the weird science aspects of the source material. Batman’s foes are of a supernatural origin as often as they are a scientific one and it’s interesting that Gotham has shied away from the former. Hopefully Season 3 plays up this spooky side of the DC universe and shakes up the status-quo of the series in a big way. They’ve already hinted at the existence of this side of things through Theo Galavan and The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas but Season 3 represents a great chance for them to double down on it. If the series’ broader arc is for the city to gradually slip into anarchy, the introduction of the inexplicable seems like a logical next step.
4. The League of Assassins
Given how gleefully the writers of Gotham has sketched out the broader canvas of the Batman mythos, it’s almost surprising that the League of Assassins (also known as the League of Shadows) haven’t made an appearance yet. Fans speculated early on that Theo Galavan would eventually be revealed as R’as al Ghul in disguise. However, after the series went a different direction, it’s unclear when or if the infamous secret society will make an appearance. In the comics (and Nolan’s Batman Begins), the League of Assassins play a major role in training Bruce Wayne to become Batman. That said, the heavy focus by CW’s Arrow on the League of Assassins might push the writers of Gotham to go a different direction so as to not feel like a retread of their treatment in Arrow. Still, given how much the series has struggled with the young Bruce Wayne, the introduction of the League of Shadows could prove a pivotal remedy in Season 3.
3. An acknowledgement of the bigger DC universe
Another way that a third season of Gotham could shake up the expectations of fans would be to cross over with the larger ecosystem of television shows based on DC properties. There’s a certain vagueness around the time period in which Gotham takes place that could allow for such an expanded DC universe. In addition, Legends of Tomorrow‘s Rip Hunter has already confirmed that a version of Batman exists within their continuity, so there’s no reason it couldn’t be the young Bruce we meet in Gotham. While there’s a definite tonal difference between Gotham and the rest of the CW roster, there’s no reason this can’t be treated in the same way as the tonal differences between Arrow and the rest of the CW-verse. Allowing for crossovers between the heroes (and villains) of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Gotham could prove a game changer for both Gotham‘s third season and DC’s entire slate of superhero TV shows. Even if they don’t (or can’t) take the series in this direction, it’d be great to see Gotham pull from the greater DC fiction and maybe bring some other characters in from there.
2. A better use of The Penguin
Gotham‘s younger Oswald Cobblepot (played by Robin Lord Taylor) has been one of the shows strongest assets across its run. However, it’s a shame they keep undercutting the potential of Lord Taylor’s performance by sidelining him in favor of the bigger villains: be it Falcone, Galavan or Hugo Strange. Cobblepot is frequently isolated from the rest of the cast and left spinning his wheels. The tension and friendship between Oswald and Gordon is one of the few elements the show manages to get consistently right but Penguin never stays involved in the main plot enough for it to matter. Hopefully Season 3 amends this and actually sets the Penguin up as a player who refuses to yield the limelight to other villains. It wouldn’t hurt to develop him further and take his character beyond the deaths of his mother and father.
1. The Court of Owls
The final few episodes of season 2 of Gotham set up the Court of Owls as the big baddies of Season 3 after revealing their involvement with Hugo Strange and the experiments happening at Indian Hill. Since their introduction in Scott Synder’s New 52 run of Batman, the Court has been embraced by fans as a part of the Batman mythos and their presence could go a long way to redeeming Gotham in the eyes of those fans. A secret society that enforces its will via highly trained zombie-assassins called ‘The Talons’, they’re certain to shake up the landscape (and scope) of the series in a big way. What’s more, The Court of Owls have yet to make it into any other live-action Batman so their inclusion here is a major get for Gotham and one that bodes well for Season 3. A successful adaptation of their story arc shows that the showrunners of Gotham understand now just the campy roots of Batman but also where the fiction is at now.