Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched Gotham's "These Delicate and Dark Obsessions."
Gotham returned to Season 3 in fine form last week with the big introduction of Ed Nygma's brilliantly loud Riddler persona, and even though that character was completely absent from tonight's episode, fans got to watch another introduction in the form of Raymond J. Barry's mysterious mentor The Shaman. Bruce's lone counterpart within his new prison home, The Shaman did not bring Ra's al Ghul into the story as we half-expected, but he did something a little more important: he set Bruce firmly on the road to Batman-dom.
How did such a thing happen? Well, not easily for young Bruce and his tortured mental state,. The Shaman offered little by way of early information and guidance, forcing Bruce to use some light detective skills -- [whispers] "Batman" -- in order to figure out that he needed to heed the older man's words or else be stuck in the maze of life. Of course, obeying the Shaman meant a painfully lucid reliving of the worst moment of his life, and one that has informed Batman's evolution in nearly every iteration: his parents' murders.
And it's not so much about catching sight of a key detail from the alleyway memory as it is getting over the fear and anger and depression that overtakes him whenever that memory comes up. Even though the episode didn't necessitate an easy-to-catch Dark Knight line of thinking, the Shaman tells Bruce that his pain is stopping him from becoming what Gotham City needs him to become. It would have been a good time for a Gary Oldman cameo.
While this is quite a different live-action avenue to Batman's origins than Christopher Nolan or Tim Burton gave us on the big screen, it could make for a very nuanced and unpredictable training period for David Mazouz's Bruce Wayne. We know that the Shaman wants to rid Gotham City of its criminal element in a way that hasn't been attempted before, through fear, and that he wants to mold Bruce into a form fearful enough to incite a rebirth within Gotham.
Raymond J. Barry's recurring presence will apparently add even more slightly paranormal and magical elements to Gotham, since he not only has memory-inducing tools, but they're powerful enough that getting hurt in that world carries over into reality. It's weird, and it's fitting, since Penguin and Ivy are apparently going to round up all the resurrected Indian Hills abominations to make an army of freaks. So with Jim Gordon possibly heading into the Court of Owl's ranks to take them and their deadly "weapon" down from within, where does that leave Bruce as far as keeping Gotham City safe goes? Too far away, that's where, but at least he's in the very capable hands of a powerful mentor that is are all set to mold him into a symbol. All Bruce really needs to do now is to figure out what that symbol is...
Well, you know, aside from completing all the fighting lessons he'll require to stay alive as a teen vigilante-in-training. And also acquiring Lucius Fox's assistance in creating all kinds of cool tech. And all kinds of other pre-Batman things. But as soon as Gotham fans see that big bat light bulb form over Bruce's head, everything else will be forgotten.
Gotham will hopefully answer some Ra's al Ghul questions when it airs Monday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET. Head to our summer premiere schedule to see everything else heading to your TVs in the near future.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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