Gotham Does Something Cool With Its Costumes You Might Not Have Noticed

bruce with the shaman on gotham
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

Some spoilers are lurking below for the latest episode of Gotham.

We are less than a week away from the Season 3 finale of Gotham, and fans are pumped to find out what's happening within the small horde of plot strands that have been laid out so far. We've got villains taking on villains, while former protagonists like Jim, Lee and Bruce Wayne are showcasing their more evil influences. And when star David Mazouz recently spoke with CinemaBlend, he teased that Gotham's costume designers actually have a way of tipping viewers off to what characters' motivations are. In his words:

I was talking to one of the costume designers towards the end of the season, and one of the things that they do to illustrate that idea, also, is they like to put evil characters in light colors and good colors in dark colors, which I found fascinating. You notice in Jerome's last appearance he was wearing an all-white leather suit and straight jacket, and I don't want to give away too much, but Bruce may be wearing some light colors towards the end of the season, and normally Bruce is wearing dark colors. And there is a great deal of symbolism in that, and that's completely intentional; it's to illustrate the fact that you would think darkness is associated normally with evil, and light is normally associated with good. But in Gotham it's all very mixed and there is no clear division.

Now, this tactic is not exactly new within the history of the visual medium, and crafting a juxtaposition between a character's look and his or her inner monologue is a tried and true technique. Still, it isn't used so ridiculously often that every single TV show or movie is automatically suspected of utilizing it, and though it arguably should have been more obvious, Gotham has apparently been embracing this tonal switcheroo for a while now without me being the wiser.

Gotham is obviously ripe for this kind of thing, too, since almost none of the characters truly exist on a plane that's either all virtuous or all destructive. Ivy is a thief with ever-questionable angles, but she's also been responsible for selflessly nursing two thought-dead characters back to health. Jim Gordon is the GCPD's star recruit, but he can hardly go three episodes without unlawfully killing someone or setting criminals up in manners outside the PD's rulebook. And when I think about it, it's hard to remember ever seeing Ben McKenzie wearing any extremely bright-colored articles of clothing. But it's very often we'll see Oswald decked out in something that would blend in with the shadows, while his genuinely criminal behavior has come up less consistently in Season 3.

the penguin pissed off on Gotham

(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox)

During my talk with David Mazouz, he was using the costume designer explanation to talk about how Bruce's headspace has completely changed under the tutelage of the Shaman, saying that our future caped crusader is in a very dark and immoral place when the season hits the finale. (Possibly dark enough to kill someone.) That was definitely evident in the penultimate installment, "Pretty Hate Machine," when the battle-ready Bruce is able to stand up to Alfred without showing a hint of the love and devotion that the duo have for each other. That situation will just get worse, apparently, and it doesn't seem like Bruce will be changing into any black leather jackets or dark blue pajamas. Just the light sweaters and bloodstain-proof slacks for him, thanks.

Can you guys think of other examples where Gotham was on the nose with how its costumes spoke to the characters' thoughts? One has to assume that the bright green duds of The Riddler fit into this in the same way Jerome's white suit did. But what about the mostly black outfits Selina wears? Does that mean the future Catwoman will be slightly more good than bad in this version of Gotham City?

With double the pleasure and double the fun of a normal episode, Gotham's extended season finale will hit Fox on Monday, June 5, at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you need to start planning your primetime viewing for the months following all the recent finales, check out our summer premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.