[This article contains SPOILERS for Gotham season 1.]
As we patiently countdown the end of summer and the start of fall premieres, the burning questions left over from various season finales have begun to heat up, especially when it comes to FOX’s Gotham. How are things for Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), now that his ex has gone mental and the mob's stranglehold on the city has been irrevocably altered? What happens once Bruce (David Mazouz) walks down that passageway hidden by his father (an obvious beginning to the Batcave, someday)? And perhaps most burning: Who else will be unmasked as a member of Batman's infamous rogues gallery in season 2?
Juicy tidbits have been dropping since Comic-Con International and we pulled some of the meatier morsels from the cast and executive producer John Stephens. Let’s break down what the cast and crew had to say about the show, in advance of the season 2 premiere in September.
SEASON 2 Will NOT have A VILLAIN-OF-THE-WEEK FORMAT
Season 1 scratched the surface with origin stories of well-known characters and stuck to a case-of-the-week format until we got to know Jim Gordon and this dark world a little better. Now that Gotham has found its rhythm, season two is a definite shift away from the procedural and will be a deep dive into character story. Get ready for some serious story arcs. Executive producer John Stephens likened it to early seasons of Buffy.
“You would have an episode where she was doing something else, but the mayor saga story was always pushing forward throughout. The mayor was the Big Bad. That’s the shape we’re looking for. Within that, we will have blocks, kind of like a two or three episode arc.”
One character we’ll see through these arcs will be Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). A woman scorned by end of season 1 - and a demented one at that - Barbara has seen her share of the dark and light Gotham City has to offer. Erin explained what moving away from the procedural format will do for the series moving forward.
“The first four episodes of the season are mind-blowing. Every single one of them is a page turner. We’re going more for these amazing sort of story arcs. They’re a bit more captivating because you really get the through line of these characters.”
Barbara will be hell-bent on getting back at Leslie and Jim. But just what other characters will she be encountering?
Season 2 is The “Rise of THE VILLAINS”
It was revealed during the Gotham panel at Comic-Con 2015 that season 2 is going to be the “Rise of the Villains” and there’s been a lot of back and forth on just what that means. John Stephens put it plainly:
“Season 2 will see the underworld shift and make that evolutionary shift towards the beginnings of a world of super villains and where they come from, and then set the stage for what happens later on.”
In the past few weeks, we’ve learned about meeting Clayface and Mad Hatter, plus Tabitha, aka Tigress (Jessica Lucas), and her brother Theo (James Frain). John Stephens describes Tigress as “Vicious, I would say, and homicidal.”
Last season Gotham introduced Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), whose appearance suggested a young Joker may now be sitting in Arkham, waiting appear in the first episodes of the new season. But while the mystery of Jerome's future claim on the title of Clown Prince of Crime lingers, so too does the question of what else is in store for the characters who made it through season 1?
As mentioned above, Barbara Kean went off the deep end in a big way at the end of season 1. As such season 2 finds her smack in the middle of Arkham, with its nefarious and colorful residents as her new comrades. Erin Richards teased a little about what we’ll see from Barbara, including her run-in with Jerome, Tigress, and Theo early on.
“She meets very interesting characters in there who help shape who Barbara becomes during the second series. Barbara meets Galavan, who is played by James Frain, and Tabitha coming as a brother and sister team, and Barbara is led astray a little bit by them as well. There’s loads of interesting, amazing stuff coming up for her.”
Could this be the beginning of Barbara as a villain in her own right? After all, by the finale, Barbara was far from the poised woman we met in early parts of season 1. According to Erin, “Basically, Barbara has been let free in Season 2. She’s just this wild animal. Literally, she could do anything. She’s so free and the only kind of thing that she’s looking to do is get back at Jim and Lee.” When asked what villain she was most looking forward to meeting, Erin coyly answered, “Myself.”
The speculation around who Barbara might become is rampant. But will this wild Barbara eventually lead to the introduction of Harley Quinn? When asked directly if she was Harley, Erin simply said, “Anybody can be anybody.”
SELINA IS HANGING WITH A NEW CROWD
Although it was destined to fail, one of the most intriguing character elements of season 1 was the delicate friendship between Selina (Camren Bicondova) and Bruce. The duo managed to do more for each other in their short time together than all the well-meaning adults could. Of course, committing and covering up a murder can throw a rift into any budding friendship and Selina and Bruce are no exception. Don’t expect them to be in the same place they were last season.
“Selina only does bad things for good reasons. We’re definitely going to be exploring how it affects Bruce and her relationship,” Bicondova explained at Comic-Con. “They have their issues, because [laughs] Bruce doesn’t agree with Selina’s thought process. That causes conflict with any relationship.”
With the introduction of Silver St. Cloud, as Bruce’s new love interest, and Bruce working diligently on his father’s mystery with Lucius Fox, we can assume the young Wayne won’t have much time to be there for Selina.
Not that Selina needs Bruce. According to Bicondova, the young Ms. Kyle will be making her own way in the world and figuring out which side of the good/bad line she wants to walk. The end of season 1 had her running around with Fish Mooney, only to lose her new leader as soon as she had her. Now, Selina has tasted what life not hiding in the shadows is like, and she knows how it feels to have some back-up. “She’s going to be hanging out with different types of people. She’s hanging out with some people you don’t expect, especially after the finale,” Bicondova said.
Who will be leading these new crowds? We know from reports that Theo and Tabitha have an agenda that may include creating an army of Gotham’s most devious minds. John Stephens hinted that Selina and Tigress cross paths early on and that confrontation will have a heavy influence on who Selina becomes. According to Stephens:
“[Tigress acts as] a proto-Catwoman in the way she moves and her weapons of choice. And a young Selina Kyle will see her and you’ll see her put together the pieces [and] Selina will go, 'Oh, I like that whip. I think I might want to be like that.' And you’ll see how she starts to use that to go forward.”
Better get started on the whip training, Camren.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD BIG BAD
It is now speculation time. Stephens explained that the season will be driven by a Big Bad who will continually work behind the scenes, even as Jim and the other heroes that emerge battle against the rising villains. But Stephens dropped a big hint about this season’s Big Bad that is worth some exploration. During Comic-Con, Stephens confirmed that one character will be the Big Bad but, “he’s not really a bad guy. He’s misunderstood.”
That rules out a few players right off the bat. Of the super villains who have been officially introduced in season 1 - i.e., Nygma in his pre-Riddler days, Penguin, a young not-quite Joker, Harvey Dent before he’s gone all Two-Faced - which of those could be considered “misunderstood”? Describing this season as “Rise of the Villains” indicates there’s a crop of villains coming in we haven’t seen yet. Gotham will be riddled with bad guys but who amongst those is not quite bad to the core? Or will Gotham be going off book and throw us for a loop with this Big Bad? Sound off below!
Gotham season two begins airing September 21st, 2015 @8PM on FOX.