Spoilers below for Gotham’s Season 2 finale.
I can’t remember the last time so many TV shows relied on potential deaths for season-ending cliffhangers, but I’m basically expecting it from every show I watch going forward. Thankfully, Gotham chose not to make viewers wonder if a character was dead, but rather how a character could possibly be alive, as the episode took an unpredictable left turn in the final moments when we were apparently staring straight into the face of Bruce Wayne’s doppelgänger, courtesy of Indian Hills. WTF was that about?
“Transference” was a pretty fun episode overall, thanks in part to Ben McKenzie’s goofy performance as Clayface imitating Jim Gordon, but that ending was the stuff of fanboy legend. All the ghastly, furry and scarred-up bastards in that bus will presumably take us directly into Season 3, and if that cackling laughter was to be believed, the Joker will also return in the fall. But it was that last-second bit, as David Mazouz’s face came into focus, that sent my curiosity and excitement battling for mental supremacy. Gotham’s twists and turns aren’t always the hardest to guess at times, but this particular shocker was so out there that it took a couple of seconds to grasp onto.
But once the grasping occurred, then came the questions and speculations. My best guess, which is probably worth less than what Ms. Peabody’s lipstick costs, is that the Court of Owls’ ongoing quest to control Gotham City included creating a back-up version of Bruce Wayne to one day make his entrance via some switcheroo to take control of Wayne Enterprises as a puppet for the Court’s cause, since Real Bruce’s interests are not shared by the city’s shady figures. I’m not sure if this would involve a Bruce clone created from DNA, or even what stage of life it would have occurred at. Or, because why the hell not, maybe Hugo Strange also slapped together a full-on duplicator for his Calvin & Hobbes-ish assortment of gadgets, which he used to make an exact double of Bruce Wayne. (Exact, except for the fact that this new guy has long hair and 85% of his daily diet is grunge music.)
But if it isn’t just a different version of Bruce, what does that mean? Gotham has kept it light and loose when adhering to any specific area of Batman’s comic canon, so it’s entirely plausible that the show will rewrite the Wayne family tree to account for Thomas and Martha Wayne having twins, where one was taken away as a newborn. Or perhaps it isn’t a twin thing, and this is Bruce’s older or younger sibling. That would be an interesting way to loop in the Lincoln March storyline, considering that character was brought into the mythos in 2011 along with the Court of Owls, although many details would need to be changed to make that work.
And what about the fact that Strange has been experimenting with corpses? Does that have any bearing on the identity of this character who presumably wouldn’t have died all that long ago? I imagine Strange has used a wide variety of subjects for his science-stretching projects, so perhaps dead bodies were just the latest in a string of illicitly obtained “patients.”
We already know a handful of villains coming to Season 3, and one of them is the Court’s revolving assassin Talon. Is there a chance that Not-Bruce would fit into this role, eventually meeting Selina Kyle and falling in love with her and totally starting his own band? Probably not, since he’s a little young to be an established assassin, but perhaps he’ll be learning early.
There are any number of further corridors for me to run down, spouting off bat-conjecture in an effort to figure this oddball mystery out, but now it’s up to you guys to take over the guesswork. And you’ll have quite a bit of time to do it, since Gotham won’t return to Fox for Season 3 until Mondays this fall. Until then, check out everything you can watch in the meantime with our summer premiere schedule.