NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Stay on target One episode into the new season of Gotham and it’s off to a much stronger start than last year’s. This is a show that knows what we want and isn’t afraid to give it to us. We want crazy villains; this show’s got crazy villains. We want ridiculously improbable storylines; this show’s got those in spades. We want Batman; this show’s got Batman… or a reasonable approximation thereof! Gotham will never be an actual Batman show. Once Bruce Wayne actually dons the cowl, it’s not about the city anymore; it’s about Batman. That’s why this is the closest we’re going to get. And you know? It’s close enough that I don’t mind.After nearly losing Alfred at the end of last season, Bruce has taken to fighting street criminals to train for Ra’s al Ghul’s return. (Of course, Ra’s is already in Gotham, watching Bruce’s every move, but Bruce doesn’t know that yet.) Bruce stops a very similar crime to the one that killed his parents, but one of the criminals complains he has a license. Yes, criminals now have licenses to commit crimes in Gotham. It’s Penguin’s latest plan to Make Gotham Safe Again. (Man, that joke was a lot funnier before November of last year.) By licensing crimes and getting the GCPD to agree to leave licensed criminals alone, Penguin has more than cut Gotham’s crime rate in half. He’s also taking in a cut of any money received and passing along a tiny percentage to the commissioner to keep the police on board.Maggie Geha (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Now, this is the kind of hilariously corrupt, terrible idea you can only find on Gotham. This is the show embracing its insanity. It’s not trying to be a serious drama. It’s just finding new exciting ways to pit criminals, cops and the occasional vigilante against each other. It’s a very expensive version of smacking action figures together. Crime is legal now, but only if you have your criming license! It’s almost as bad an idea as blocking off an entire section of the city to serve as a prison. And I wouldn’t put that past this show either.As you might expect, Gordon isn’t too keen on the idea of letting organized crime run Gotham. Especially ones that rob the bar where he gets his coffee. He argues that under the new system, Gotham’s citizens would begin to trust Penguin instead of the cops. When Penguin’s plan inevitably falls apart, it’ll be harder to get the people on their side again if the GCPD spent their time doing nothing. Most of the department though, is just happy cops aren’t getting shot anymore. Gotham gets points here for at least giving complicit cops a reason to cooperate with Penguin beyond plain corruption. You can even see their position. If I were a police officer in Gotham City, I’d welcome any break from supervillains trying to kill me.Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Of course, supervillains are exactly where Penguin’s licensing scheme falls apart. And boy, does the first half of the season have a great Batman villain in store for us. The unlicensed criminals kidnap the son of Dr. Crane, the inventor of the fear toxin from last season. They use the fear toxin to rob a bank and get away with it before trying to use it against the Penguin at his new club. They also lock Jonathan Crane in a room with the scarecrow he’s terrified of. See where this is going. As villain origins go, this was one of the more fun ones Gotham has given us. It was quick, simple and gave the episode a terrifying ending. This version of Scarecrow might even be scarier than the one in Batman Begins. Speaking of which, I kind of love how shamelessly this season is just remaking that movie. We have Bruce learning how to accomplish his goals as both Batman and Bruce Wayne, Ra’s Al Ghul is hidden somewhere in the city, and now Scarecrow is running around. They even had Bruce pull the disappearing act on Gordon in the middle of a sentence. Gotham has always been Fanservice: The TV Show, and it’s great to see them embrace it so fully like this.The episode fell apart a little bit at the end. Once it got all its characters in the same room, it didn’t really know what to do. There was an awkward, kinda funny flirtation between Bruce and Selina. It didn’t do much except give Alfred a great exasperated line. Penguin captured the criminals before they could use the fear gas, and he would have killed them if Ivy hadn’t cut the power. Her motivations for doing that are… unclear. Is it just because he pissed her off? So Penguin would have killed the men, and the GCPD would still look utterly powerless if Penguin had been a little more patient with Ivy? It doesn’t make a ton of sense, and as a climax to an episode, it’s a little unsatisfying.Sean Pertwee, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Gotham is back, and it’s just as joyously stupid as ever. The season four premiere didn’t move the overall story forward much, but it set some exciting things in motion for the rest of the season. Selina’s relationship with Tabitha is cute, and watching them become partners in crime should make for some entertaining TV. Robin Lord Taylor’s performance still puts a gigantic smile on my face, and his new hairstyle is perfect for the villain he’s turning into. The Riddler being encased in ice is a nice Chekhov Gun for the rest of the season. We know he’ll thaw out and come after the Penguin sometime this season. It’s just a question of when. That tension alone gives this season a ton of potential. Finally, there’s Bruce Wayne captured by the police right at the end. That should give us at least one interesting storyline next week. As far as Gotham episodes go, it didn’t reach the crazy highs this show is capable of, but it’s not hard to see how this season could get there. Mostly, I’m just happy it’s back.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.