It's finally here — the beginning of the new Batman origin story, "Gotham." The new FOX series, based on the fictional characters and city of DC Comics lore, premiered tonight, introducing viewers to a whole bunch of faces, some familiar, and some brand-new.
Here's everything that happened on the series premiere of "Gotham":
On their way home from the movies, Thomas and Martha Wayne are shot dead in cold blood. Their young son, Bruce, is left alive, howling bloody murder, alone with their fresh corpses. This is how Batman, and "Gotham," begins.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
The Gotham City Police Department's newest detective, James Gordon, is called in to investigate the double-homicide of the Waynes. He's joined by his partner, veteran detective Harvey Bullock. The two could not be more different. Gordon's the type to think first, shoot later. In Bullock's worldview, a swift headshot ends all headaches.
At the scene of the crime, Gordon does his best to relate to young Bruce. He tells him about his own childhood trauma, watching his father die in a drunk driver accident. "I know how you feel right now," he tells him. "However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light."
Gordon promises to find the man who killed Bruce's parents, but it's easier said than done – especially with an uncooperative partner like Bullock, who sees the Wayne case as nothing more than "a gigantic flaming ball of crap." Bullock sees Gordon as a goody two shoes "soldier boy." Gordon sees Bullock as "a slovenly, lackadaisical cynic." Not exactly a match made in heaven.
Shooting for the Mooney
After investigating the murders for 48 hours, with nothing to show for it, Bullock and Gordon head to Fish Mooney, a local crime boss with her fingers on the pulse of Gotham's underbelly. She employs "a staff of rough characters," including Oswald "Don't Call Him Penguin" Cobblepot, an ambitious creep who holds umbrellas for Fish, but wants a crime syndicate of his own.
Fish leads Gordon and Bullock on the path of Mario Pepper, a career street thug she links to the Wayne killings. A lengthy chase ends with Pepper dead, and damning evidence discovered in his apartment: Martha Wayne's pearl necklace, and the murder weapon. Case closed.
As it happens, Mario Pepper didn't kill the Waynes; he was framed by Mooney, Bullock and Gordon, according to Cobblepot. He reveals as much during a secret meeting with Major Crimes Unit offers Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya, in a see-through bid to usurp Fish's power for himself.
Montoya seeks out Gordon's fiancee, Barbara, a woman she was once very close to in the past. Her suspicions get back to James, but there's no trust between Gordon and Montoya, so Gordon has to reopen the case himself.
His pursuit takes him back to Fish Mooney, who doesn't like how much Gordon's sniffing around. "You have a little danger in your eye," she tells him. "I wonder what you're gonna do with that."
"You'll have to wait and see," Gordon smirks back.
"I hate surprises," she responds, knocking Gordon unconscious.
The Meat Cute
Mooney's thugs are about to butcher Gordon at a secret facility, when Bullock intervenes. He calls Fish and tells her that Murder Crimes Unit is reexamining the Wayne case, thanks to Cobblepot's revelation. He tells her that if she lets Gordon die, he'll have to come after her. Mooney doesn't like threats, so she orders her men to kill Bullock, too.
Just before Gordon and Bullock's executions, Gotham's number one criminal mastermind Carmine Falcone walks in and calls it off. "Tell Ms. Mooney she's too impetuous," he tells Fish's right-hand man, Butch. "If she wants to kill policemen, she has to ask permission. There are rules."
Falcone takes a walk with Gordon and tells him that he was once friends with Gordon's father, the best district attorney Gotham ever had. "Trust me," he says. "That's the only reason you're alive right now."
Gordon pieces together that Falcone owns the police department and probably the mayor, and that he didn't have the Waynes killed, or else he wouldn't have intervened here. But why frame Mario Pepper? Is he covering for someone?
"Who knows who killed the Waynes," Falcone says, ever-so-casually. He suggests it was just some random lowlife. Either way, Falcone just wanted a culprit caught before the Waynes' funeral. "I'm a businessman," he says. "You can't have organized crime without law and order. I love this city, and I see it going to hell. I won't let it go without a fight."
Falcone implores Gordon to stay quiet on what he thinks he knows. The city is on a knife's edge. Even if Gordon was capable of bringing down Falcone, the mayor and the GCPD, would that make things better?
"In bocca al lupo," Falcone says to Gordon as he leaves, patting him on the cheek. Translation: "Good luck."
Swimming with the Fishes
Before he can fully trust Gordon, Falcone wants to test the GCPD rookie's willingness to get on message. To that end, he instructs Gordon to execute Oswald Cobblepot, now that everyone knows him as the MCU snitch. Bullock tells Gordon that if he can't pull the trigger, he has his own instructions to kill both Gordon and Cobblepot. "I might be lackadaisical," he says, "but that's not a tough call."
Gordon leads Cobblepot to the edge of a pier, holding him at gunpoint. "I'll do whatever you say! I'll be your slave for life!" Cobblepot pleads. He tells Gordon of a coming war that will color Gotham red with blood. "I can see it coming! I'm clever that way. I can help you!"
Gordon doesn't need Cobblepot's help. But he doesn't need another innocent life on his conscience, either. Gordon whispers in Cobblepot's ear: "Don't ever come back to Gotham." With that, he shoots his gun right next to Oswald's head, pushing him in the river. From a distance, Bullock buys what he sees.
Fear Leads to Anger
After "killing" Cobblepot, Gordon drives to Wayne Manor, to reveal the latest on the investigation to Bruce. When he gets there, he sees the young orphan standing on top of his mansion, looking like he's about to jump. Bruce's butler and caretaker, Alfred Pennyworth, barks at him to get down. Moments later, in Wayne's living room, Bruce explains that he was teaching himself to conquer fear.
"Fear doesn't need conquering," Gordon advises him. "Fear tells you where the edge is. Fear is a good thing."
Gordon then tells Bruce that Pepper wasn't the culprit, and that his parents' killer is still out there. Surprisingly, Bruce is happy. "I'm glad," he says. "I want to see him again." Gordon implores Bruce to stay quiet for now, as he attempts to clean up the police department from the inside. Bruce agrees — for now.
Regarding the Rogues
Several future Batman villains make appearances (or possible appearances) in the "Gotham" premiere, including:
— Catwoman, little more than a child right now. Selina Kyle witnesses Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder from afar, and is later seen spying on Bruce at his parents' funeral, and even at his own house.
— Poison Ivy, even younger than Selina. Mario Pepper's daughter is named "Ivy," and her apartment is covered in a variety of different houseplants. She's a little young to give Gotham any real trouble, but perhaps you're never too young to terrorize this city.
— The Riddler, known only as Edward Nigma right now. He works for the Gotham City Police Department as a forensic analyst. Even now, he's keen on riddles, though no one's keen to hear them. "You have issues," Bullock tells him. If only he knew.
— The Joker, or, at least, a candidate for the Joker. During one scene in her nightclub, Mooney laughs and laughs at the jokes of an up-and-coming comedian. "I'm not afraid of death, so much as I'm afraid of dying. I'd like to die like my father, peacefully in his sleep — not unlike his screaming, terrified passengers," he cracks. A possible Joker-in-the-making? We'll have to wait and see.
And of course, there's Cobblepot. At the end of the episode, Oswald emerges from his dip in the river, murders a fisherman, and sloppily consumes his turkey sandwich. So long, Oswald. Hello, Penguin.
What did you think of the "Gotham" premiere?