This article contains spoilers for the season premiere of Gotham – A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina.
Everyone's favorite Batman prequel, Gotham, returned for its fourth season last night and things got moving quickly. They used action sequences to catch us up on Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). They started with Bruce, who took out to muggers rather nicely, then Jim stopped a bar robbery… but why Jim was going into a bar before work was odd.
Selina beat up bunch of guys as a test for Tabitha (Jessica Lucas). The most fun was for the Penguin that didn't involve the Penguin — rather it had Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) stopping someone from robbing a wedding because they didn't have Penguin's approval. And while Zsasz is nothing like the comic version, he is a fun character to watch work.
The open not only caught us up on our leads, but also introduced the new dynamic in Gotham. When we last were in town, the Tetch Virus was being spread far and wide. We don't get to see what happened, but we learn that Penguin organized the crime and gave those authorized to work the city cards, giving them permission. He works a deal with the new mayor for the cops to look the other way when they see the card. In return, crime in Gotham is down 57%. The fact that they have actual license cards and there is an umbrella symbol on the card is the second time the show has given off the Batman '66 vibe, the first being Edward Nygma's (Cory Michael Smith) first riddle-themed crime.
You can see the sides being drawn, and it's going to be Gordon vs Penguin with Bruce being the wild card — for now. Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is probably a better mentor now than when he was just trying to raise Bruce as a normal kid.
The dynamic between Bruce and Selina is shifting as Bruce becomes more confident, but her choices will likely drive them further apart. I really liked the scene with the two of them standing on the edge of a roof talking and Alfred says, "Why can't you two go to the cinema like normal teenagers?" It was funny, but also a good reminder that neither Bruce nor Selina are normal teenagers. We also get to see Bruce making a mistake at the very end, reminding us he's still new at this.
This was a good catch-up and set-up episode. Putting all the pieces in place on the board — even some that weren't seen were mentioned like Barbara Kean (Erin Richards). And we get the story Penguin comes up with to explain having Nygma frozen in the middle of his bar, and it's almost a Nora Freis story of being frozen to keep her alive until a cure can be found.
The return of Jonathan Crane (Charlie Tahan) was pretty well done and tied to Penguin's cards — and he wouldn't issue one to Merton (Michael Buscemi) and his gang, so they go get Crane to get his daddy's fear gas. Because that's the kind of plan bad guys come up with in Gotham.
Next week, we get to see Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) gearing up Bruce with his new bulletproof outfit, and Gordon comes face to face with the Scarecrow and gets a dose of the fear gas in A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper.