With only two episodes remaining, Bruce Wayne is almost ready to become Batman in Gotham, although there's still a couple of things that need to be addressed first. Gotham's primary focus has always been on Jim Gordon, but the development of David Mazouz's young millionaire has been given just as much prominence in the narrative, particularly during the show's later seasons.
Starting out as a timid young boy trying to process the tragedy of his parents' deaths, Bruce has transformed into a mature, wise and intelligent figure in Gotham City, trusted by many powerful people to get things done. Bruce has a steely determination and a drive to help others at any given opportunity. The teenager has also become a formidable physical force, training initially under his butler and former military man Alfred Pennyworth, before taking instruction from the mysterious Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows.
Bruce has discovered a secret cavern underneath (the now-destroyed) Wayne Manor that will one day serve as the Bat-Cave and struck up a budding romance with future lover Selina Kyle. He's lived on the streets, become skilled in espionage and used a prototype suit from Lucius Fox to fight crime in the dead of night. Even as a youngster, Bruce has already gone toe-to-toe with several recognizable Batman villains, such as Azrael, The Court of Owls and Joker. Almost all of the pieces are in place for Bruce to become the Dark Knight, but Gotham isn't quite there yet.
Where Does The Bat Influence Come From In Gotham?
During Bruce Wayne's amateur crime-fighting escapades in Gotham, the young vigilante has been wearing a black suit and mask strongly resembling an early, rudimentary version of Batman's famous gear. However, the getup is noticeably lacking any reference to bats: no pointy-ears, no logo on the chest and no Bat-shaped objects to throw at the undesirables of Gotham City. Clearly, the influence of flying mammals is an integral element of the Batman character and has been explained in previous adaptations as the result of a phobia or an attempt to use theatrics to gain an advantage.
No such reference has been made in Gotham, with the show remaining largely bat-free for the entirety of its run. Only once have the creatures featured properly, in season 4's "A Beautiful Darkness." In this episode, Bruce Wayne witnessed a vision of his future self as a masked vigilante who, at the end, burst into a flock of bats. Whether the vision is a reverie from Bruce's subconscious mind or a glimpse at the future is left open to interpretation, but if this alone is why Bruce chooses the bat as a symbol, then Gotham has created somewhat of a paradox where Batman's trademark style comes from a future version of himself.
And even though the vision-Batman didn't have any visible bat-themed gear, a recently released Gotham finale poster has confirmed that Mazouz's grown-up crime fighter will indeed adopt the traditional, iconic Batman imagery in the show's final episode.
Gotham has been infamously restricted by studio higher-ups in how it can use the Joker, and it's possible that similar limits are in place for Batman himself, with the show potentially banned from using any bat imagery until the final episode. Now that the finale is here however, the lack of explanation regarding Bruce's connection to bats is a glaring piece of the puzzle yet to be put into place and one of the main points that needs addressing in the final two episodes.
Why Does Batman Resolve To Work Outside Of The Law?
Beyond the look, Batman is defined by his status as a vigilante. Due to the corruption and ineffectiveness of Gotham's police, the superhero chooses to work outside of the law, only ever trusting Commissioner Gordon and a few other select cops - and, even then, that relationship can be temperamental. This certainly isn't the case with Gotham's Bruce Wayne, who has thus far spent season 5 working hand-in-hand with the GCPD to help protect the city and its people. In fact, Bruce has spent far more time in Gotham working with the police than against them, and only during a brief spell as a masked vigilante in season 4 did the youngster seriously fall foul of the law.
The determination to do the right thing, seek justice and help the weak has always been obvious in David Mazouz's Bruce, even from Gotham's very first episode, but his transition into a warrior has come with no small amount of self-doubt. The early stages of Bruce's crime-fighting career have been tainted by the influence of Ra's al Ghul and a moral dilemma over how to exert control and discipline over one's skills. While season 5 Bruce is a more self-assured young man, his way of operating is quite far from how Batman takes care of business.
Gotham's current Bruce is largely working legitimately with the city's remaining authorities, and using his hidden combat skills to take on side missions but, crucially, is doing so without any sort of mask or disguise. Bruce is fulfilling his desire to do good and fight evil, but as himself instead of the Dark Knight. Obviously, this is a situation that will someday change, but with Bruce and Wayne Enterprises doing so much good for citizens alongside the GCPD, there needs to be some explanation as to why the future Batman decides Jim Gordon's men aren't up to task and that being a lone force in the shadows is the way forward.
Gotham continues with "They Did What?" April 18 on Fox.