Sunday, September 6, 2015

Countdown To Gotham Part 1: What's New In Season Two?

It’s that time again! Only 15 more days until September 21st, the premiere of Gotham Season Two! And your Gotham Girl is back to update you on all the news for the show.

It seems not a day has gone by that fans haven’t been offered yet another sneak peek into the coming season. Posters, synopses, and teaser trailers have been coming out by the bundle, so we’ve got a lot to cover. Interestingly, this season even has a title all its own – Gotham: The Rise of the Villains. It appears the title was given because this particular season of Gotham will be somewhat special. Showrunner Bruno Heller had this to say on the subject:
There is a genuine subtitle on the show, which is, "The Rise of the Villains." It's very much about the transition from old-school, mafia-type villainy to the kind of grandiose, grotesque, gothic evil that Gotham [City] is slowly moving towards. So, the crimes are grander. The villains are more grand-scale and theatrical. Monsters start to come out.

This season is definitely the season where the origin stories start really kicking in. We start to see transformation. Bigger monsters than villains like Penguin start to appear. Everything starts moving faster and becoming more grotesque and dramatic….This season is really about Gotham gathering speed down a hill. And this season is where it takes off and the city is transformed from the old mob style crime to what we really know and love as Gotham DC style crime. The villains become monsters. They have a theatricality and a drama to them that will keep building.
(via TV Line)

So, Season Two of Gotham will focus on the classic DC villains more than ever. And from the show’s official synopsis, it looks like we have some great villains to look forward to. Check it out:

"The stakes are higher than ever as Gotham explores the origin stories of some of the most ambitious and depraved Super Villains, including The Riddler, The Joker and Mr. Freeze, and Bruce Wayne uncovers more secrets from his father’s past."

I don’t know about you, but what I get most excited about around the time of a show’s return is teaser trailers. And fortunately, we’ve been given six of them so far! Check them out below:

After feedback from fans about the first season, the showrunners have decided to shake a few things up for Season Two. Cast and crew members have opened up about some of the changes. What we know so far is that, this season, the show will:
  • Be closer to the spirit of the comic books.
  • Have a bigger focus on the villains. Not only will the plots center more around these fascinating characters, actor Ben McKenzie has stated that the show will also delve much deeper into their psychology. 
  • Have a darker tone, and focus on power balances. Ben McKenzie (via said, “For both Jim and the entire show, one of the big themes will be power. How do you gain it? How do you keep it? How do you dispense it? It is a Machiavellian world where morality plays a very small role.”
  • Drop the procedural element that was prominent during the previous season. Showrunner Bruno Heller (via said, “We started out with a notion that we would have a procedural element. Frankly, the world is too antic for that kind of formal structure. Every episode has to go where the characters and story take it, so, every episode is going to be different. Every episode is going to have its own energy and pop.”
  • Have fewer hiatuses. In fact, sources indicate it may have only one hiatus (in December) during the entire run of the season.
  • Act as two seasons in one. The showrunners have divided the 22-episode season into two separate 11-episode parts, each separated by the aforementioned hiatus in December. Each part will have its own arc, and focus on different villains. 
Now that we’ve learned about what’s new in the general aspects of the show, it’s time to dig a little deeper. What new characters will be introduced this season? Let’s find out!

New Characters Arriving This Season

Captain Nathaniel Barnes:

Captain Nathaniel Barnes is a new series regular (played by Michael Chiklis). Here’s the official description of his character (courtesy of TV Line): “Barnes lands on the Gotham City Police Department like a tornado, ripping out the dead wood of the city’s police force. He is a law-and-order zealot; unafraid of making enemies on either side of the law. For Gordon he is a hero and a mentor, someone with whom he can share the burden of heroism. Captain Barnes proves himself to be a strong ally to Gordon, but one day he will make an equally powerful enemy.” Sounds like he could be a future villain in the making. But which one? Clayface, perhaps?

The Galavans: 

Theo Galavan (played by James Frain) is one in a family of three, all of whom will be new regulars on the show this season. The question is, what kind of man is Theo Galavan? On the outside, he is (courtesy of "the savior the city has been waiting, heroic, and lovingly devoted to his sister Tabitha." He is a billionaire industrialist and philanthropist who is running for mayor, and claims he wants to save the city from itself. He even becomes a father figure to the young Bruce Wayne.

But on the inside, Theo Galavan hides a much darker nature. He has even been described as the Big Bad, taking over from Fish Mooney as the show’s most villainous original character. Cold and calculating, he is determined to take over the city, and has plans to “take chaos and violence to a new level in order to bleed Gotham”.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Just when you thought you had it clear in your mind that Mr. Galavan is “good” on the outside but secretly rotten to the core, there’s a surprising quote from executive producer John Stephens about a character who is most likely Theo Galavan. At Comic-Con, Stephens stated that this season’s Big Bad is “not really a bad guy. He’s misunderstood.”

With such a morally ambiguous character, we may be in for quite a ride. Especially when you add his sister into the mix…

Theo’s sister Tabitha Galavan (played by Jessica Lucas) is destined to become the supervillain known as Tigress. While Theo is the brains behind their plan, he leaves the enforcing to his beloved sister. Her character description (courtesy of TVLine) describes her as, “sexy and violent, deriving a sensual pleasure from the mayhem she’s tasked with making”. From the trailers, we can already see her cracking an electrical bullwhip, apparently killing a man.

Tabitha and her brother are extremely close. Some sources suspect the show will play up an incestuous angle between the two, but so far the actors insist they are playing it as a normal sibling relationship. At any rate, the plan that has been created by the two siblings (according to Deadline) will “lead to the creation of new villains… and the destruction of others”.

The most interesting aspect of the siblings, however, is the reasoning behind their desire to take over Gotham. The Galavans are apparently motivated by a centuries-old vendetta. Showrunner Danny Cannon (via Collider) said, “We have a new villain coming into town whose ancestors were some of the builders of Gotham. Their bones are hidden in the foundations of the city. And he has high hopes and big plans for Gotham….Theo Galavan is somebody who comes to town, like The Great Gatsby or Dracula, with huge Machiavellian aspirations and insidious ambitions.”

© 1938-2015 DC Comics, Inc.

Many fans wonder if there could be a connection between the Galavans and the infamous Court of Owls. It has been stated before that the show could explore a Court of Owls storyline. Showrunner John Stephens (via Collider) stated, “The Court of Owls is something we’ve discussed a lot. We keep digging up very close to it without quite pulling the trigger. It’s clear that there is a group of shadowy individuals that control and influence Wayne Enterprise and have great power in Gotham and may or may not be connected to Carmine Falcone. Is that The Court of Owls? Maybe… Keep watching and those questions will be answered.”

And finally, the third member in the Galavan’s family…

Silver St. Cloud (played by Natalie Alyn Lind) is Theo’s orphaned niece who is now under his charge. She will also become a love interest for Bruce Wayne. Her character is described (via Entertainment Weekly) as an “ethereal beauty with the pristine manners of a Gotham debutante” but also possessing “a heart beating with dark intent”.

The Pikes: 

Joe Pike (played by Leo Fitzpatrick) will be the leader of an infamous gang of arsonists in Gotham.

Bridgit Pike (played by Michelle Veintimilla) is Joe’s sister. Bitter after being enslaved by her brothers, her vengeance will lead the character toward becoming a gender-swapped portrayal of the villain Firefly. It has also been stated she will team up with Selina “Cat” Kyle this season.

Robert Greenwood: 

Robert Greenwood (played by Dustin Ybarra) is a cannibal, one of the worst-of-the-worst locked up in Arkham. He, along with Jerome and others, will be broken out of the asylum by Tabitha Galavan to wreak havoc on the city.

Dr. Kirk Lanstrong/Man Bat:

Dr. Kirk Lanstrong (played by Jason Clarke) is determined to create a serum that will cure deafness and blindness. His experimentation will instead transform him into the villain known as Man Bat.

Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze:

The man destined to become Mr. Freeze will appear this season, but has not yet been cast. In fact, showrunner John Stephens has said they are delaying the appearance of his character until the second half of the season so they can cast just the right person. I wrote about the possible introduction of Victor Fries in a previous article, and about my hopes that his storyline would focus on the character’s very emotional arc – the tragic story of his wife Nora. And fortunately, it looks like this is indeed the path the showrunners have decided to take. John Stephens (via TV Goodness) said, “You want it to be someone who’s, above anything, empathetic. Because he does have an emotional story at heart. That is the core of his origin story. So you want someone that you feel for, first and foremost.”

Other Villains: 

Many other famous Batman villains have been stated to make an appearance this season, but no casting announcements have been made as of yet. So far, this list of villains includes:

  • Hugo Strange 
  • The Mad Hatter 
  • Clayface
  • Azrael 
  • Calendar Man
  • The Flamingo
  • Amygdala 

That’s it for this week, but there’s still plenty more news to cover. Join us next week as we cover all the news about returning characters, the possible young Joker Jerome, the potential of a Harley Quinn appearance this season, and more!


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