The first season of Gotham took a good while to reach its conclusion after dealing with breaks to make room for other shows on Fox like Empire and Sleepy Hollow. However, in the past month, we saw a decent lead-in towards a pretty good, action-packed season finale.
The three main stories of Gotham are Bruce Wayne trying to cope with the death of his parents by finding out in his own way who murdered his parents, Oswald Cobblepot’s (better known as The Penguin in the comics) climb up the criminal underground in the city, and Detectives Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock solving episodic crimes. They ranged from getting involved with the aforementioned stories or solving cases completely separate all while Gordon discovers and fights the corruption that plagues the Gotham City Police Department. Gotham is a take on the title city before there was a Batman, starting where Bruce Wayne’s parents were shot in the alley that faithful night. This started Bruce down the path that leads him to becoming Batman and spans several months after those events. The first episode focused mainly on finding the Waynes’ murderer, but thankfully it’s not the sole focus of the story for the rest of the series. It is reduced to a continuous sub-plot throughout which actually doesn’t come close to being as interesting as the other two concurrent stories that hang over the show.
The amount of time that the show spends on Bruce Wayne is surprising, although it does seem to be the least amount of screen time out of the main three plots, even if it’s only by a margin. It’s a little annoying to watch a little not-Batman kid trying to learn to be Batman, and it’s the least interesting bit of Gotham. Towards the end of the season it does pick up and gets more interesting, but all of the best moments surrounding Bruce are more because of Alfred than the would be hero. The Penguin’s storyline became far more interesting than I thought it was going to be from the very first episode. It’s shocking how he starts as a lackey but then hatches a master plan that he sets to motion in the closing episodes leading to the finale. Gordon’s story in the show was everything that I expected going into the series. Gordon solves crimes while dealing with the corruption of the police department impeding his progress at every turn, all while having run-ins with the occasional villain that you may recognize from the Batman comics. The Red Hood story line in particular was probably the best inclusion of a character from the comics in the entire series.
The finale ties more of Gordon’s and The Penguin’s stories together while Bruce’s leads to the hook that reels the viewers back for Season Two. The entire episode was the culmination of everything leading up to one giant firefight that swallowed up nearly all of Gotham. However, it wasn’t without a couple of questions that never fully got answered and with the turnout of some of the events, we’ll probably never know. Some of the things that happen also just seemed to be a little too convenient as if they needed to hurry and wrap up everything to end the season. I actually think that the action does enough of a job to distract you from thinking too deeply about it, however.
In the end, Gotham is worth a watch. It’s a good show to marathon over the course of a weekend. Since it’s made up of 22 one hour long episodes, you really wouldn’t be able to get it done comfortably in a single day. Young Jim Gordon solving crimes and catching criminals was fun to watch and young Bruce Wayne was a little rough to get through, but The Penguin’s story was probably the best part of the series. The other characters that appeared like The Riddler were either hits or misses, but when they’re good, they’re really good.