Gotham returned to our screens for season 4 as Bruce Wayne began to embrace his career as a vigilante, with him facing off against the villain, Scarecrow. The premiere episode brought old villains back and resurrected older feuds between them. Things aren’t going to get any easier in Gotham for Bruce, Jim Gordon or the GCPD. Even if Penguin is lowering crime rates with his licenses, there are bigger threats on the horizon that the city will have to deal with at some point. Ra’s Al Ghul, Catwoman, Penguin, The Riddler and now the brand new Scarecrow will all be causing madness and mayhem. It’s a good job that a vigilante is on the way to defend the city. Although Bruce Wayne is back, he’s not quite Batman yet. He’s not even halfway there, he’s still leaping around in a ski mask.
As mentioned, the premiere introduced the real Scarecrow to the series in a terrifying way. We’d previously seen his father experiment with the fear toxin associated with the character, eventually injecting his son with the serum. It placed the young man into a state of constant terror. Jonathan Crane is reintroduced in the Gotham season 4 premiere as he is taken out of Arkham Asylum by a group of goons and forced to make a batch of fear toxin so that they can continue with their villainous business. But since they taunt him with his greatest fear, a Scarecrow figure, something inside him snaps and he embraces the Scarecrow persona.
The events of Scarecrow and Bruce Wayne were so important across the episode, and the show certainly pushed them in intriguing directions that will definitely be explored further down the line. They haven’t met just yet, since the events were only connected through other people. But, since they’re polar opposite characters, could this make Scarecrow the perfect villain for Bruce right now? Bruce’s first trial run at tackling a supervillain could be one not as tactically advanced as previous enemies he’s faced, meaning he’d have a greater chance at locking him away. But since Scarecrow has quite an impulsive nature, this also might be a struggle for the future Batman.
Even though the mysterious shaman took away certain memories that were haunting the young hero, Bruce has still suffered through a great deal of trauma for someone so young. He was obviously affected by the deaths of his parents as a child. The toll of seeing his parents murdered in front of him, alongside all the events of the past three seasons give plenty of ammunition for someone like Scarecrow to incapacitate him. The fear toxin would play havoc with his brain, and would likely render him useless. But surely learning to overcome his fears and having the motivation to do so would be a huge leap in character development for Bruce as the show progresses.
There are more than just memories that Scarecrow could taunt Bruce with though, there are also the ones he cares about. The angsty teen romance that has been brewing between Bruce and Selina could easily be something that worries and scares Bruce enough to be used against him in a fight. And we just have to look at his reaction to the possibility of losing Alfred at the end of last season to see that his loved ones are clearly the thing he worries the most about. Then there are the visual terrors that come with Scarecrow’s new look. His haunting appearance is clearly a mix of his classic costume, the sack we saw Cillian Murphy wear during Batman Begins and his costume from Injustice 2. Charlie Tahan wears the sack costume over his face, neck and shoulders with large pipes running backwards to a supply of the fear toxin.
Jonathan Crane isn’t the most mentally stable person himself however, meaning that Bruce would have the upper hand in a fight. Since the villain has a sack on his head, in addition to carrying huge quantities of the fear toxin, he won’t be a limber as Batman. So it could wind up being a fight between the brains and the brawn as Bruce has to overcome his greatest fears before proving triumphant. It could be this impossible task that makes him realize his struggles as a hero wouldn’t be in vain.
Regardless though, the two have yet to meet, and they seem to be heading in different directions for the minute, so we’ll have to wait for any resolute answers. Until then, we’ll have to remember the last live-action fight between the Scarecrow and Batman during Batman Begins. Murphy’s Scarecrow was a genuinely compelling villain for the audience to be scared of. He was threatening because he didn’t just have an emotional grip on the hero, but also the city that Batman protects.
Scarecrow was dumping fear toxin in the water system during Batman Begins, so it’ll be interesting to see what other means the small screen Scarecrow can use to manipulate our hero. Either way, Bruce may have met his match in Scarecrow this year.
Gotham returns next Thursday with ‘A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper’ at 8pm on FOX.
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