As Gotham season 4 continues, Bruce Wayne's (David Mazouz) story has taken quite a few turns already! This season began with Bruce's fight against Ra's Al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) in full swing, as Bruce continued to train on the streets for their eventual big throwdown. When it came, though, it didn't go the way anyone would expect. Ra's actually wanted Bruce to kill him and release him from centuries of life; and when he refused, Ra's manipulated the Baby-Bat into it.
After the death of Ra's, things have become very dark for Bruce as he struggles to cope with having killed and with no longer having a purpose. Since season 1, Bruce has had some kind of investigation or training to drive him, and when he doesn't, the young billionaire seems to be going off the rails. This week, in 'A Day In The Narrows', he makes friends with a few rich teens and goes out partying... with a vengeance. He get's absolutely hammered on champagne, makes out with a new girl, and leaves the audience wondering how that's possible; just how old is Bruce Wayne, in Gotham?
How Old Was Bruce In Season 1?
In order to figure out how old Bruce Wayne is in season 4, we need to start at the beginning: season 1. Gotham begins with the murder of Bruce's parents, the defining moment of young Bruce's life. In the comics, this event happens when Bruce is anywhere from 7 to 12 (depending on who is writing the comic and which continuity it is in), but in Gotham, Bruce is 12 when the first season begins. If Gotham runs on a normal timeline for comic book tv shows, that would mean that by the fourth season, Bruce would be somewhere around the age of 15. However, in the tie-in novel, 'Gotham: Dawn of Darkness', his age is given at 14 in season 1, which would put him at around 17 in season 4.
Confusing the issue further is the age given for Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova). Bruce is described as 'barely younger' than Selina, who is 13 in season 1 and 15 in season 2. That could mean that Gotham is following a clear two-years-per-season timeline, though, as that would put Bruce at 12 in season 1, 14 in season 2, 16 in season 3, and in this season, 18 and just about ready to graduate high school.
Bruce Wayne Becomes A Gotham Playboy
Although his age is unclear, Bruce's recent behavior on Gotham definitely seems to point at his age being on the older side of the teen years. His wild, champagne-tower-pouring, club-going behavior in 'A Day In The Narrows' is certainly the biggest example of Bruce acting like an adult, but it's not the only one. Recently, Bruce has started to really embrace his playboy billionaire side, and has attended more than one event which he should really be too young for. He goes to an auction that Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is holding, and is treated no differently to anyone else there; but auctions don't necessarily have age limits. Clubs, on the other hand, definitely do, yet Bruce also shows up to the opening of Penguin's Iceberg Lounge.
Despite this, Bruce definitely hasn't aged to full adulthood, either. This week's episode established that he is still school-age, as his new friend says that they used to go to school together before commenting that he is currently home-schooled. In fact, Bruce is confused as to why she isn't at school during the day, until she points out that it is Saturday.
Does Gotham Have A Different Kind Of Timeline?
So Bruce is still at school, which means that he is under 18, and he is older than 12, where Gotham began, but his recent behavior suggests that he is also older than 15/16, which is where he would be if Gotham was a normal show. Of course, one of the great things about Gotham is that it is absolutely not normal. This city doesn't exist within a specific time period, nor does it follow a steady timeline. The detectives of the GCPD have flip phones when out on the street, the police department has a distinctly low-tech feel... and yet Wayne enterprises are glossy and high tech. The intention behind this is just to create a city that looks good, and that works with the story (and Gotham does both extremely well).
It seems that Gotham continues to play fast and loose with the idea of time when it comes to the timeline, putting much higher priority on the story than the details of how time passes, and Bruce's age is simply another example of this. While his exact age hasn't been clarified, it seems most likely that Bruce is either 17 or 18 by this point, which puts him still in school, but only just. In terms of his drinking and partying, Gotham's timeless feel may also play into the believability of this behavior. Much of Gotham has a '70s cop feel, and in the '70s, many states lowered drinking age to 18 or 19, and Gotham City isn't exactly that concerned with the law, anyway. It's likely that Bruce is on the cusp of legality, and his billions take care of any other issues.
The best part of Gotham's devil-may-care approach to the passage of time is that if Bruce continues to age around two years per season, that means that by season 5, he'll be 20-ish: peak playboy age. It's going to be a whole lot of fun to see the serious Baby-Bat let loose for the next season or so, before finally putting the cowl back on as an adult Batman in a moment that fans have been waiting for since the start.
Gotham continues next Thursday with ‘Stop Hitting Yourself’ on FOX.