We’ve still got a few weeks until Gotham returns but there’s a new trailer out, so at least there’s something to talk about. And let’s be honest, it’s not like I’ve never done one of these when there wasn’t anything to talk about anyway. I just like talking about Gotham, you know?
First off, we have to get into real talk. It makes me feel sad to say this, but I don’t think there’s any chance we’re getting a Season Five. I could be wrong here, but with Disney buying a big hunk of FOX and also owning Marvel, I can’t imagine they’re going to keep a show about their biggest competitor around. Of course, this stuff can be weird and maybe somebody at Disney wants the power move of being able to yank DC around and broadcast a TV show about Batman. I don’t know, but I think they’d be smart to set up the season finale as a satisfying series finale.
I think they did that last year – there were lots of threads left dangling but they could have been left to dangle and let the last image of the series be Bruce in costume. In fact, Season Two is the only finale that really felt like it wouldn’t have worked as a final episode. Such is life as a mid-rated show, I suppose. Point is, I think they know how to craft a season finale with plenty of jumping off points but resolution where it matters. There’s kind of a tradition in superhero comics to end a cancelled series with a shot of the hero racing off to a new adventure with a signoff reading “Never the end!”, and that’s what they need to shoot for.
Perhaps as a result of this possibility, you’ll notice something missing from the new trailer: New characters. As much as I love when they introduce favorite villains, they have a lot of plates in the air right now and potentially a limited number of episodes to resolve them. Grundy, Riddler, Lee, Barbara, Penguin, Alfred, Bruce, Harvey, Tabitha – all of them are at big crossroads right now, and that’s not even getting into the lead character of the show, Jim Gordon. Heck, Sofia Falcone is still in the mix. There are so many storylines building to a climax that they’d be doing the main cast a disservice if they launched a four-episode arc about Killer Moth. Granted, it could be that they’re planning a villain onslaught and just didn’t put it in the trailer. Nobody tells me anything.
There are plans to bring Scarecrow back before the end of the season, but we’ve seen enough of him that he can be an agent of chaos without requiring additional backstory. He’s one of the last unaffiliated villains right now, so they can do a Scarecrow story without tying up Penguin or Riddler in somebody else’s shenanigans. Scarecrow will also be recast, which isn’t the biggest deal in the world – he wears a mask often enough that it shouldn’t be too jarring. (The original Jonathan Crane, Charlie Tahan, is shooting Season Two of Ozark.)
But there’s that other recasting to talk about. Peyton List joins the cast as the third actress to play Ivy. The trailer indicates her ongoing metamorphosis is like the life cycle of a plant, and the in-story reason would be that it’s a result of Ivy drinking a vault full of botions. (Potions. Sorry. Couldn’t resist the Monster Factory reference.) And it’s a bit of a stretch to try and sell the idea that there’s a chemical combination that will turn a sexy lady into a completely different sexy lady, but this is Gotham.
Now, I will really miss Maggie Geha. I thought she did a really good job with a complicated part and really made her Ivy into something special. But it looks like they’re segueing into the evil incarnation of Ivy, and I’m not sure she’d have been as effective. I mean, she’s a good actress and she probably could sell it, but she’s so tied in with the “bratty teen trapped in an adult body” incarnation that the about face in her personality would be more jarring than having her emerge from a peapod into a different body. And I’m not going to complain about Peyton List. She was on Mad Men, for cry pete. I’m on board for the Mad Men cast. But man, I really enjoyed Geha’s version of Ivy and I hope she ends up on another show soon. Somebody get on that.
Another thing missing from the trailer – Ra’s al Ghul. I think it’s really important to Bruce’s story that Ra’s turns out to be alive, and the show has clearly indicated that he’s not done yet. (Remember that whole glowing hand thing with Barbara?) But I imagine they’d want to treat that as a surprise. Yes, his whole deal is coming back from the dead, but with Bruce’s emotional arc tied up in his apparent murder of Ra’s, you don’t want to reveal his return casually. It’s going to have to be a big moment that maybe shouldn’t be spoiled in the trailer.
I was going to say he’s still in the opening credits so he’s probably a lock to come back, but remember when Montoya and Allen were listed as regulars in Season One and Harvey Dent was a regular in Season Two? Ra’s has probably has as much screentime as all three of them combined after half a season. Regardless, I think we’re going to get that resolution because Gotham seems to understand that Bruce killing somebody is a big deal with huge repercussions, and I think they’ll do the right thing by Bruce. I’ve got faith in them.
I guess we’ll see how it plays out starting on March 1 when Gotham comes back and brings Jerome along for the ride.