[SPOILERS ahead - and above - for Gotham season 2, episode 3.]
Three episodes into the second season of FOX's Batman prequel series Gotham, the showrunners pulled an interesting bait-and-switch on fans - leaving the origins of the infamous Joker somewhere on the horizon. In all, Gotham has set the stage for a sophomore season full of surprises, as the "Rise of the Villains" storyline will introduce even more of the Dark Knight's rogues' gallery.
A sizzle reel which premiered at this year's New York Comic-Con 2015 serves as a recap of the first three episodes of the season, highlighting Theo Galavan’s (James Frain) actions after he and his sister Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) - A.K.A. Tigress - form the deranged Maniax gang from a hand-picked selection of Arkham Asylum inmates - which included Jim Gordon's (Ben McKenzie) ex-fiancee, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). Take a look at it above.
As the death of Not-Joker Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) presumably opens the door for a similar vein of theatrical psychopaths to run amok in Gotham City, the NYCC sizzle reel introduces Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) to the GCPD. In one fell swoop, Barnes rids the department of several corrupt cops - something Gordon had been struggling to accomplish since arriving to the city.
Meanwhile, the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) remains the 'King of Gotham,' and soon fans will see a familiar face join the cast as Oswald Cobblepot's progenitor. EW reports that Taylor himself announced during the show's NYCC panel that Paul 'Pee Wee Herman' Reubens will be playing the Penguin's father.
During the panel, Taylor said:
"So we’re all familiar with Oswald’s mother, the fabulous, fabulous Carol Kane. We don’t know a lot about his father… We just found out that I do have a father. And he will be showing up very soon, and he will be played by none other than Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman! He’s playing my dad! What! The! Hell!”
Fans of all things Batman will remember that Reubens played the role 23 years before, in Tim Burton's 1992 Batman Returns. The film's memorable opening sequence introduced the monstrous baby Oswald/Penguin (Danny DeVito). There is no information about when or how Reubens will show up, but with the storylines for season 2 evidently woven together, we might expect Penguin's dad to play a larger role overall.
During the NYCC panel, much of the cast was joined by writer John Stephens, who spoke about the showrunners' plan to move from the mob-themed crime drama feel of the first season and into the world of Gotham City's burgeoning supervillains. Stephens also spoke about the inter-connected narrative of this season, saying: “We’ll be telling one long story over the 22 episodes, so you can’t miss one episode.”
With Barnes on the warpath, we'll see how the emergence of the Penguin's father affects his grip on the city as rival factions - like the teased Court of the Owls - begin to rise.
Gotham returns with “Strike Force” Monday at 8pm on FOX.