Gotham centers on Detective James Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) and the corrupt city he calls home. It features notable Batman villains like The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow), but Batman's not the hero of this story. He doesn't even exist. Despite being in its third season, Gotham's still finding its way. It's not a terrible show, but it's not great either.
In theory, Gotham's premise is solid. Aside from Spider-Man, Batman has arguably the best rogues gallery in comics. But no matter how interesting the villains are, the greatest thing about the Batman Universe is still Batman. It's a fact that can't be ignored.
Young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is the weak link. To be clear: Mazouz is amazing but Bruce is not. Because of his age, Gotham ignores or tiptoes around a lot of the character's best stories. Bruce is a smart and inquisitive kid, but he's the odd man out. And I don't mean that in a "future superhero" kind of way. Somehow, Bruce always feels shoehorned in.
Young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) isn't Catwoman, but she still embodies the character. When it comes to Batman, Bruce doesn't have that same connection. Last month, it was announced that one of his peers was being recast. Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley) will suddenly go from a 14-year-old street kid to a 19-year-old vamp (Maggie Geha). They want less Pepper and more Poison. If we're going that route, can Bruce get the same treatment?
Gotham needs a time jump. Make Bruce an 18-year-old and get him out of the city. While Gordon's dealing with the locals, Bruce should be overseas studying and training with different mentors. He should have a parallel story that features his own adventures that aren't dependent on anyone else. In other words, take the Game of Thrones approach.
Last fall, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said their film and TV universes would remain separate. She also said the film division had no creative constraints on Gotham. If that's truly the case, let's bring on versions of Henri Ducard and David Cain. They both played an important role in developing Bruce's fighting style.
This is one instance where I wouldn't mind a show lifting from Batman Begins. Arrow got away with it for three seasons! Let's see Bruce hone his ninja skills. His brief training sessions with Alfred aren't going to cut it. Most of his future foes are 15 years his senior and have a significant amount of evil-doing under their belts. It's time for Bruce to earn his stripes.
After a couple seasons, Bruce should return to Gotham as a changed man. Not the Bat-man, but a changed man. At some point, the city's corruption will wear him down forcing him to take matters into his own hands. Now, Gotham's producers have stated that we won't see the Caped Crusader until the end of the series. But who knows when that will be? Gotham isn't exactly a ratings juggernaut. They may want to get to that sooner than later.
Yes, the whole point of Gotham is that it's a Batman prequel. But Bruce Wayne is a badass in his own right and we should see that.
Should Gotham do a time jump and take Bruce to the next level?