Gotham’s season three premiere picks up six months after the finale. It looks like there’s not a lot of improvement in Gotham, and life for Jim Gordon is unraveling as he makes ends meet as a bounty hunter rather than returning to his position with the GCPD. Bruce Wayne and Alfred are back from their vacation, but not everyone is thrilled with their return. Fish Mooney and the Indian Hill gang are on the prowl for pharmaceuticals that will allow them to retain their genetic alterations, and Penguin is on a revenge-fueled hunt for Fish. There was a lot packed in to this one hour premiers, but here are my top 5 from “Better to Reign in Hell.”
5. Valerie Vale
We can argue all day about whether or not Valerie Vale is just a stand in for the Vicki Vale of the DC Comics. While some sources state that Valerie is related to Vicki (her aunt), and that she will be Jim Gordon’s season three love interest, I’m just happy to see a gutsy female character joining the ensemble on the side of the law. The villainous underworld of Gotham isn’t lacking in female roles, but the lawful side has some trouble hanging on to a female demographic. Hopefully Valerie will stick around as more than a love interest this season, we could certainly use a hard-hitting reporter to help Jim through his bounty-hunting phase.
4. Stabby Babs
Barbara is certainly a dynamic character. While she has fallen away from any law abiding lifestyle, her newfound villainous ways certainly seem to fit her. Gone is the self-doubting, clingy ex girlfriend and in her place is an emotionally unstable, co-dependent woman who won’t hesitate to cut down anyone who stands in her way. Okay, maybe she hasn’t changed so much as just embraced the insanity, but she is a joy to watch each week.
3. The Indian Hill Gang
Last season, Indian Hill was every Easter egg hunter’s favorite location. Comic book fans delighted in picking out cameo appearances each week, and I was no exception. While we won’t have the go-to location anymore, the occupants of Indian Hill aren’t going away any time soon (we hope). Instead, they’re on the loose with Fish Mooney, hunting down a drug that will keep their bodies from rejecting Professor Strange’s genetic mutations. It’s doubtful that any of them will be anything more than a filler plotline while we take a break from the main evil of this season, they will certainly help the overall ambience of the Mad City.
2. The Promise of New Ivy
This highlight of the episode for me has absolutely nothing to do with the choice to recast Ivy as a more mature character. I thought that Clare Foley was a great choice for the young Ivy, but I wasn’t sold on the reimagining of the character of Ivy that Gotham seemed to be going with in seasons one and two. I’m very excited to see how the writers will take this season’s Ivy and transform her into a more dynamic and complex character. I would also love to see her have more of a role on the show this season, as Poison Ivy is one of my favorite villains in the DC Universe.
1. Bounty Hunter Gordon
If Jim Gordon had returned to the GCPD like nothing had happened last season, it would’ve felt wrong. He’s still working closely with Bullock and the GCPD, but Jim has devolved into a sad, lost, drunken shell of his season one self. The changes we’re seeing this season fit with his continued fall from the lawful good he once was. Jim has lost everything that was once important- his love, his child, his lawfulness- and it’s left him changed and scarred.
Bonus: The Court of Owls
With a show that rests so heavily on an ever-changing cast of antagonists, it’s always a concern that certain story lines won’t be permitted to play out in their entirety. The Court of Owls is arguably one of the most revered story arcs in the Batman universe, and allowing it to fade and disappear between seasons would have been a huge injustice. Luckily, the ending scene promised comic book fans and show fans alike that the writers haven’t forgotten the story line we’ve all been waiting for. This season will hopefully give us an inside look at Gotham’s puppet masters as we return to the mad city.