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Gotham premiere review: The gang’s all here

We’ve waited months to make our maiden voyage to Gotham, excitement building with each new key graphic release and promo that flashed across the screen. It’s finally here and it didn’t disappoint.

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It’s hard to pull off suspense when the vast majority of your audience already knows who will make it further in the series and who won’t, but Gotham does an absolutely splendid job of keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. When Fish Mooney had Gordon and his partner, Bullock, hanging in the meat freezer, preparing to be butchered, or when Gordon was walking Oswald/Penguin to the end of the pier to shoot him, we knew it would turn out fine. But the excitement remained. And everyone put on a splendid performance.

Let’s meet them, shall we?

Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) — the show opens on Kyle making her way through the heart of Gotham while pilfering what she needs to survive: a half-gallon of milk from a woman’s grocery bag and a wallet full of money from a guy in a fancy suit. The only time we hear her speak is when she delivers the milk to a stray cat. If you didn’t already know who the light-footed teenybopper would eventually become, you do now. Did you know Catwoman was there the night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered, though? And so begins Kyle’s silent obsession with the richest boy in Gotham.

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Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) — Mazouz is stunning as Bruce, a mostly quiet, but still commanding, young heir and recent orphan. Young Wayne builds a bond and expects loyalty from Det. Gordon from the very beginning: not just because Gordon promises it, but because he’s desperate for justice. Mazouz nails the quick transition from happy-go-lucky kid to the dark, brooding man he is as an adult. This isn’t a kids’ show, though. It’s a show about…

Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) — we already know Gordon from Wayne’s adulthood, but we’ve never seen his backstory until Gotham came along. Gordon shows up straight out of fighting in a war and carries with him the sense of duty and respect for justice and the job that has already been drilled into him. His partner is corrupt as f*** and he’s working with half the city’s leaders and justice system working against him, but Gordon is bound and determined to turn the city around.

Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) — is Bullock a bad guy or just someone who got tired of playing the system? By the end of the premiere, he freely admits he’s up Mooney and Falcone’s sleeve. Gordon’s job may seem infinitely harder with a partner so corrupt, but it might just lead him straight to the problem.

Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) — while Mooney feels overacted, it’s actually quite perfect for the role. She’s a somewhat-sleazy crime boss who enjoys being entertained and doesn’t respond well to being threatened or betrayed. Gordon is on her bad side now, but she’s on his, as well.

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Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (Robin Taylor) — it’s no surprise that Penguin is already a show favorite. Taylor’s maniacal grin and sinister look are absolutely spot-on for the role. And any ’90s kid will tell you that Penguin is their favorite Batman villain. How much more will we see of him now that Gordon has pretended to kill him and told him to never return to Gotham? Oh, we suspect plenty! (Side note: How gross/twisted/awesome was it that he killed that fisherman for his sandwich?)

Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) — we’ve met the future Mrs. Gordon and we’re absolutely in love. Did we miss something from the comics, though? When major crimes pops by for a visit and refers to who Barbara “really” is, what does she mean? And did anyone get a distinctly lustful moment between the lovely detective and Barbara… or did we imagine that?

We also caught a glimpse of two players who will eventually play a bigger part in Gordon and Wayne’s lives.

Edward Nigma — did you catch the name of that staffer in the evidence room? You know, the one with the “questions” and riddles? You’re looking at the wiry man who will eventually become The Riddler (formerly portrayed by Jim Carrey).

Ivy — that little ginger girl who plays the daughter of the man framed for the Waynes’ murders is clearly the future Poison Ivy. She may not give the name we best know her by from the comics, but there’s no doubt in our minds that it’s her. In one swift moment, one scam from Bullock, Mooney and co., Ivy has turned from a scared little girl into one of Bruce Wayne’s future enemies.

All in all, we’re hooked on Gotham. With our expectations riding so high on this show, it could have turned into a huge letdown. Instead, Fox, DC, McKenzie and everyone else on the cast exceeded those expectations. We know where it all goes… but we can’t wait to watch it get there.

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