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Warning: spoilers ahead for the third episode of Gotham Season 4, "They Who Hide Behind Masks." If you haven't caught the episode yet, feel free to check out some of our other articles until you get the chance to watch.
Gotham has spent the last four seasons so far transitioning young Bruce Wayne from lost orphan into the Dark Knight of Gotham City. Bruce has become more and more like Batman since the end of Season 3, and he's actually a pretty capable fighter at this point, only really hindered by his lack of experience and his size as a pubescent teenage boy. Thanks to Lucius Fox, he even has a bullet proof suit. The latest episode just revealed one more way Bruce is becoming Batman on Gotham, but it has nothing to do with capes or masks or suits. No, young Bruce debuted a Matches Malone-esque persona in "They Who Hide Behind Masks."
Now, Gotham technically did introduce a character by the name of Matches Malone in an earlier season, but DC Comics fans know Matches Malone as the alter ego created by Bruce Wayne whenever he needs to go undercover as somebody other than billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader. In the comics, Bruce adopts a North Jersey accent and dresses in a distinctly non-Bruce Wayne fashion so that he can disappear into crowds of shady characters and gather intel.
While Bruce on Gotham didn't name himself "Matches" in "They Who Hide Behind Masks," his accent and outfit when he went to the docks to try and trick the goons into letting him on board a ship seemed like an early version of a Matches-esque character for the show. Granted, he didn't exactly disappear into any crowds without notice, but only because his accent was pretty muddled and he's still pretty new at pretending to be somebody he's not without wearing a mask. If he keeps at changing his accent and dress to hit the streets as a nobody, we'll get a Gotham version of Batman's Matches persona in the comics.
The Matches-esque persona in "They Who Hide Behind Masks" seemed all the more distinct due to the other side of Batman's identity that made a debut. No, I'm not referring to Selina's quip about Bruce sitting alone and waiting in the dark. For the first time, Bruce made a public appearance as Bruce Wayne the airhead billionaire to bid on a blade of Ra's al Ghul's at Penguin's shady auction.
Alfred raised the point that there are some things Bruce can't do as either a masked vigilante or a nobody in a bad hat, but he also couldn't do them as the well-behaved and well-spoken Bruce Wayne as he was known in Gotham either. Bruce the billionaire airhead was loud, irritating, and irresponsible with all his money, and so everybody laughed off his presence and didn't put any real thought into what on earth he was doing at a shady auction.
Now that we have a Matches Malone-type persona, Bruce the idiot billionaire persona, and Bruce the masked vigilante, we're closer to a Batman on Gotham than ever before, and it should be fun to see what happens next. New episodes of Gotham air on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. For your other viewing options, swing by our fall TV premiere guide.