Gotham: Rise of the Roster
MILD SPOILER WARNING! As Gotham season 2 has been out in America since late last year and started broadcast in the UK a few weeks ago, a couple of small plot points will inevitably be brought up in today’s post. Okay? Cool.
Well now, this was supposed to be written up a LONG time ago; pretty much as soon as I knew season 2 of Gotham was coming out in the UK, so now that we’re already four episodes in I’d better get this done. Also in doing a little research for this post I’ve discovered for the first time that not only did the second season began broadcast in the US at the end of last year, but also found that some of these characters have turned up in Arrow, which makes me feel not only even sillier, but seriously behind in my TV watching. So one feels a little silly even doing this as my picks might have already shown up, but I had the idea a while ago so I feel obligated to write it up anyway. But enough with the bowing and scraping, onto the post itself!
With the second season subtitled “Rise of the Villains” (is it called that in the US as well? I haven’t been able to find out) my speculative juices started flowing almost immediately, wondering what other iconic Batman villains might be getting the stylised small screen treatment. So I had a little muse and came up with a handful of interesting additions to the GCPD’s own rogues gallery, with a focus on characters who are easier to give a more real-world spin to. While this has seriously stunted my list, I think the results are more interesting for it.
1) Harley Quinn/Harleen Quinzel
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way shall we? I don’t think anyone expects this show to end without the Clown Prince making an appearance. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking that the matricidal circus boy Jerome in season one was going to turn out to be the Joker, and while I’m surely not the only one disappointed in his character at least a passing mention of his kinda-sorta squeeze seemed like a shoe-in even back then. Like her or loathe her, Harley is a popular character – she literally owes her entire existence in DC Comics to that fact – and with the upcoming Suicide Squad movie placing her front-and-centre I can fully see her making some kind of cameo. Arkham Asylum has been well and truly established now, so I think a few appearances of Harleen Quinzel as a trainee or intern on the staff would be a nice little sign of things to come, especially when the true Joker rears his head in the wake of Jerome’s “inspiring” demise.
2) Calendar Man
Being relatively new to the Batman comics (been a fan of the franchise through movies and TV for years, only just started reading about two years ago) my knowledge of the Caped Crusader’s lower-tier villains is pretty weak. But like no doubt many Bat-newbies before me I was introduced to Julian Day AKA Calendar man through his brief appearances in Arkham City and Arkham Origins. I feel that he is a shining example of the wide array of unique psychoses that motivate even the pettiest of Gotham City’s criminals. Season 2 may have evolved from the case-of-the-week story model to an overarching plot, but I think Calendar Man would make a nice little cameo, even if he’s just shown being arrested as a minor background detail in the same way that Victor Zsasz appeared as a defendant in Batman Begins. It would be a nice little touch.
3) Ra’s al Guhl
I have to admit, at first I really thought the opening scene of season two was setting this guy up. Gotham is clearly a show set in the here and now, and the environment remains a very key issue in our modern world. And no Batman character save for Poison Ivy has quite as epic a solution to the problem as Ra’s al Guhl. And since Ivy is still just a child in Gotham, who better than to spearhead the debate? As a man who believes the eradication of most of mankind is the best way to restoring the balance of nature, it is easy to see why a city like Gotham, full of some of the worst examples of humanity, is an easy target for this eco-terrorist. Much as in Batman Begins, I can see Ra’s appearing and making a concentrated effort to “cleanse” the city, putting him in conflict with Jim Gordon. He’ll probably have to lose the Lazurus Pits and either make him an old man or have the title inherited down through the cenuries, but I believe Ra’s and the League of Assassins can work in Gotham.
4) The Court of Owls
I began reading Batman comics the same way I have begun exploring most DC properties: through The New 52. Starting on ground zero of a new continuity just made sense.And seeing as I already knew the key members of the rogues’ gallery through other media, I loved that Batman’s new series kicked off not just with a new villain, but with a powerful villainous entity with claws in every part of Gotham. For me, the Court and its Talon assassins took an already dark and foreboding city and made its shadows even deeper and more threatening. For a while it seemed like nowhere was safe for Batman and his allies. The Gotham of the TV show, with it’s behind-the-scenes plotting and emphasis on organised crime is the perfect place for the Court to spread its wings once more, and I have been keeping my eyes peeled for any mention of owls since the very beginning of season one.
Obviously, Batman has no end of fascinating villains that could be given a new spin in Gotham, but for now, these four are the ones I would most like to see pop up, even just for a little nod to the fans.