Moving networks over to Fox for this one. Of all the DC related properties I think none have done more surprising things than Gotham. Not all of them good surprises. And this third season of the series has been no different.
Where this season has excelled is in bringing characters like Edward Nygma and Barbara Kean up, strengthening the bond between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, and bringing in the Court of Owls. Where it has gone off the rails has been how they've been handling Jim Gordon and Oswald Cobblepot, their two main characters. Gordon has been going in a strange direction since the end of season one, but Penguin was chugging along as one of the strength of the series until this season. Now he's more about emotions than ambition. He's the mayor of Gotham but doesn't seem to care. I have no problem with the Owards / Edward storyline, but they seem to forget that Penguin is an ambitious killer. He's done little to nothing since becoming the mayor. But, Edward is basically the Riddler now, so well done there.
Interestingly enough, Bruce was one of the weaker stories in the first two seasons. It wasn't that it was bad, but it just didn't have the interest with what was going on with the bad guys. Now, he and Selina teaming up, Alfred having their back and suddenly her mom appearing. All of this going on with the Court of Owls as the backdrop. This is becoming the A storyline especially now that Carmine Falcone is connected to the Owls.
And I think, even though she is WAY off character from the comics, Barbara Kean is really interesting when she's on screen. She plays crazy and unpredictable so well. And with the club, she's kind of become the center of Gotham. Everyone goes to Sirens for information. It's almost like she's the underworld Oracle, just without all the computers.
The other big story for the first half of the season was Jervis Tetch / Mad Hatter and where it set up a few things like Captain Barnes going crazy and Jim getting to kill Falcone's kid, the actually character was somewhat forgettable. He was a bit too gimmicky and crazy and unlike the other characters of the show, he didn't earn it. The characters that work on the series are the ones that come to Gotham normal and then go mad. No fair showing up crazy.
When the series returns, all the hints are about the return of Jerome Valeska, the potential Joker for the series. I like what they've done with the character so far and here I think they're earning it like they've done with Penguin and Riddler. A Joker-centric second half of the season could be a big ratings boost… but you'll also have the continuation of the Court of Owls story where we find out about Selina's mom and you've got Edward wanting to go after Oswald for killing his latest girlfriend. And Jim is probably going to have some massive fallout from the shooting at the mid-season finale.
Unlike with the CW shows, Gotham hit the winter break exactly at mid-season and they only do 22 episodes. So that's a lot of story to cover in just 11 more episodes. I doubt they're resolve the Court of Owls completely, seems like that can carry over at least another season, but they'll need some resolution to the other stories.
As the series moves forward into a fourth season, I think they need to really focus on bringing Jim Gordon back to the side of good. He has done a lot of morally questionable things over these seasons and is very far from the Commissioner Gordon we know from the comics. Now, I've always been one to defend growing a character into what we expect them to be. But this series has taken him so far down the dark path that Harvey Bullock seems like the good cop here. He's becoming almost unwatchable as he makes bad decision after bad decision.
On the other hand, David Mazouz is about to turn 16 February and Camren Bicondova will be 18 in May. They're growing into the leads of the series and can easily take the A storyline soon. And that's what viewers will want if Gordon keeps slipping like he has been. I think season four needs to seriously be a redemption arc for Jim Gordon while the bad guys of Gotham need to start fighting for turf again. Or fans will just start wandering away from the city.