The dark knight rises, but not yet, as GOTHAM’s Season 4 premiere focuses on Gotham City’s underworld and its villains. The season premiere gives us the Batman villain origin fest we are accustomed to, but this season might be different. The show is accelerating Bruce Wayne’s transition into Batman and according to showrunner John Stephens, the season will be taking inspiration from the BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN comics.

Season 4 of GOTHAM, also titled A DARK KNIGHT, picks up from shortly after the Season 3 finale. Bruce is stopping muggings. Gordon, Bullock, and the GCPD are dealing with the repercussions of the Tetch virus. Selina seeks the tutelage of Tabitha and the Penguin takes over the underworld as its sole ruler.

The season premiere is titled “Pax Penguina” because as king of the underworld Penguin has kept the peace in Gotham. Penguin compares his manufactured peace in Gotham to Pax Romana. Pax Romana was a time of peace after the Roman Republic’s final war, but it was the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century. Hint, hint, wink, wink, Gotham is going to go through another crisis.

Beware, spoilers ahead!

Recap of Pax Penguina

The season premiere opens with Bruce stopping a mugging right off the bat, no pun intended. This scene picks up from where we left off in the Season 3 finale, but this time it has bigger implications. Bruce takes out the muggers in a well-choreographed fight scene when one of the muggers says he has a license. Baffled by his discovery, Bruce takes the license as evidence and leaves. Then out of shadows comes Ra’s al Ghul, who appears to have been watching him.

The Harris gang jumping Gordon and Bullock GOTHAM
The Harris gang jumping Gordon and Bullock

In the following scene, Grady Harris and his gang rob a wedding reception. Victor Zsasz quickly stops the robbery only to remind them that they need a license and permission from The Penguin to conduct crime in Gotham. Cut to the next scene where we see the Penguin, sporting a new look and negotiating his licenses with Gotham’s new Mayor and Police Commissioner. Penguin holds all the leverage in this scene and in Gotham since his licenses cut crime in the city by half.

Jim Gordon learns about the new licenses when he stops a robbery. The GCPD’s acceptance of the licenses unsettles Jim, but Bullock tells him the Commissioner approves so they must play along. Meanwhile, Grady Harris and his gang go to Arkham to kidnap Jonathan Crane, Gerald Crane’s son from Season 1, to force him to remake his father’s toxin formula. After Harris and his gang get the toxin they use it to rob a bank and this alerts Jim Gordon. Gordon and Bullock discover the identity of the gang and that they have the Crane’s formula.

READ: Getting ready to watch Season 4 of GOTHAM? Here’s our recap of the third season!

On the other side of Gotham City, Tabitha teaches Selina to defend herself from muggers and she kicks their asses. Again, the choreographed fight scene is really good and it parallels Bruce’s scene from the beginning of the episode. Victor Zsasz later finds them and gives them an ultimatum to join Penguin’s licensing agreement or else.

At the precinct, Bruce pops up and Jim is surprised he snuck up on him without him noticing. Bruce tells Jim about the Penguin’s master list and they agree they need it to stop Penguin. Before Jim can say anything else, Bruce does the Batman thing and vanishes when Jim turns his back. After learning about the list, Jim devises a plan to embarrass Penguin by getting the Harris gang to show up at the Iceberg Lounge.

Bruce confronts Penguin GOTHAM
Bruce confronts Penguin

At Penguin’s grand opening of The Iceberg Lounge, formerly known as the Sirens club, he unveils Edward Nygma as the centerpiece. In this scene, all the characters converge for the final act. Selina and Tabitha show up to reluctantly join Penguin. Bruce and Alfred show up to try to convince Penguin into giving them information about his crime licenses. The Harris gang show up to get back at Penguin for stopping their wedding heist.

Penguin catches the gang and tries to make an example out of them to turn Gotham’s citizens against the GCPD because they are unable to lower crime but he can. However, Ivy betrays him for being mean to her. All hell breaks loose and Merton blasts Penguin with Crane’s toxin. The Penguin sees Nygma as the catalyst of his fear. Jim and Bullock arrive to save the day and arrest Merton while Grady Harris escapes.

READ: Want to catch up on GOTHAM: MAD CITY? Read the refresher course!

The episode ends with Bruce, as Batman, stealing Penguin’s list of criminals he issued licenses to. Bruce then gets into trouble later trying to catch some criminals in the act. He falls through a glass ceiling when the GCPD arrives and surrounds him. The last scene is of Johnathan Crane, who escapes the Harris gang after transforming himself into The Scarecrow.

What Else Can We Expect From GOTHAM Season 4

Finally! A GOTHAM premiere that tells us Bruce Wayne will actually become Batman. GOTHAM looks like it’s going to accelerate his storyline and have him do BATMAN: YEAR ONE stuff. The season premiere confirms that with all of Bruce’s action scenes and him pulling the vanishing Batman bit. Not to mention Ra’s al Ghul is literally lurking around the corner waiting for Bruce this season. The premiere also looks like it will keep exploring Bruce and Selina’s relationship, especially when so many of their scenes parallel each other.

Selina Kyle at The Iceberg Lounge GOTHAM
Selina Kyle at The Iceberg Lounge

Do not forget Gotham’s underworld either. Penguin is the king of the underworld with Barbara Kean missing this week and all the other villains incapacitated. However, Merton blasts Penguin with Crane’s toxin when Ivy betrays him. Knocking the Penguin down a peg really works for the other villains like Scarecrow because now they are all on equal footing.

Season 4 can also be the season Jim Gordon starts his ascension towards becoming the police commissioner. With Gotham’s Mayor handing the keys to the city to Penguin, Jim might have to fight corruption in the GCPD. Not to mention The Scarecrow is on the loose and he is going to terrorize Gotham with Crane’s nerve toxin.

The next episode of GOTHAM, The Fear Reaper, will feature The Scarecrow taking on Jim Gordon and Lucas Fox giving Bruce his first suit as Batman.

GOTHAM airs Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.

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