The final episode of Fox’s Gotham series aired last night. The series took a 10 year leap for it’s last shot at the origins of Gotham City’s classic characters. DC Universe’s Titans also took a swing at bringing the Bat to television. How do the two depictions of Batman measure up to his many film iterations?
Spoilers for Gotham and Titans below:
After several seasons of teasing villain origins and placing Bruce into fiery situations, Gotham has decided to give the viewers a look at the Gotham City we all know from the comics. The series finale takes place 10 years after the events of the penultimate episode of the show.
Bruce is returning to Gotham to unveil the new Wayne Tower. The same day, the Penguin is being released from Black Gate Prison. With an Arkham Asylum escape for the Riddler, Commissioner Gordon has his hands full with the activity in Gotham. He had planned to retire, but figures out there is a larger threat when discovering that Jeremiah Valeska, the Joker, has been faking his comatose state for a decade. He has been pulling all of the strings and planned to bomb the tower to lure Gordon out.
After shooting her mother, he abducts Barbara Lee and takes her to ACE Chemicals for a showdown with Jim. Jim is saved by three batarangs. One to knock the gun from Valeska’s hand, one through his hand and one to the head. Lucius and Alfred provide support for Bruce’s new cause as Penguin and Riddler break free and vow to take Gotham back from this black guardian.
The most Batman we get over the course of the episode is a conversation with Selena on the rooftop where he apologizes for leaving Gotham. The episode’s final shot, however, is the GCPD spotlight shining on a distant Batman in full view of the camera. The suit isn’t bad; it is very Year One looking. The show leaves us with the idea that the Gordon and Wayne alliance of the Batman comics is kicking into action.
DC Universe’s original series Titans took a very unique route in utilizing Batman. Despite being mentioned a great deal throughout the season, the finale saw him depicted in an Elseworld’s style, dream scenario in Dick Grayson’s head.
Trigon gives Dick a mental trial to overcome that takes place in an alternate future where Dick is married to Dove with two children. Raven and Beast Boy are off to college and Hawk is still hanging around being Hawk. Dick is contacted by a handicapped Jason Todd who asks for his help. Batman has gone insane and plans to murder the Joker once and for all. Dick travels to Gotham, only to find the Joker splattered on a car windshield. Dick goes to the manor to leave Bruce a message, he tells Bruce that Joker survived and Bruce is not a murderer at this point. He asks Bruce to rethink this turn and tries to sympathize based on his own handling of Zucco, the man who murdered The Flying Graysons.
We only see Batman a few times, but never directly in any light. The first is when Dick is visiting the Joker in the hospital. The lights go out and Batman murders the Joker in his sleep. Dick catches him at the window, but Bruce never turns around. The batsuit looks pretty impressive and despite a bit of shaky CGI, his moves are pretty believable. It is an unorthodox take on the character seeing as he is throwing away his code for justice and just killing people. It is probably some of the best stuff from the first season of Titans, though.
We later see that Bruce went to Arkham Asylum and killed a bunch of his rogues gallery, including Two-Face and the Ventriloquist. Bruce also kills nurses, doctors and the warden to further solidify his madness. Dick goes against the secret of his life by leading a GCPD task force, with the help of Star Fire, to take Bruce down at the batcave. Of course, the team is no match as Batman murders the police department and freezes Star Fire to death with a cold gun. The fight scene is great and some of the best shots of Batman in the whole episode. Dick sets off the charges and blows Wayne Manor to bits. He finds Bruce under some rubble and snaps his neck.
The whole thing is a mind game by Trigon, Raven’s father, to get Dick to truly embrace his darkness. No telling when we will get a glimpse of the real Batman in the series, but this finale was full of some fantastic fighting and fear tactics from the Great Detective.
I personally think the Titans finale was a better episode of television and story, but it was a nice change of pace for Gotham to have fully jumped into the Batman story. Besides, they actually showed the Bat up close. They get points for that. Both shows get a bit silly, but Gotham goes the extra mile with gags and jokes. It is what deterred from the show initially, but it gave this finale a very Batman: The Animated Series vibe.
Which finale did you like more? Would you like to see a proper Batman television show?