’Gotham’ 3.01 ”Better To Reign In Hell” Review: The Monsters Of Gotham Rise

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The third year of FOX’s Batman prequel drama, Gotham, kicked off with a solid bang as we continue to follow the journey of some of the Dark Knight’s most famous villains and a new chapter for James Gordon as he has now taken on the role of a bounty hunter who is going after the monsters of Gotham City. “Better To Reign In Hell…” does a nice job with touching upon all the new arcs of the third season, from the rise of the monsters, with Fish Mooney as their, to the mysterious Court of Owls that are targeting Bruce Wayne.

After the craziness that took place in the Season 2 finale, we get a good tour through what this Gotham City has become since the finale. It definitely feels scarier than what we have seen before as you could at any point run into youth-suckers, men with wings, which does raise the stakes quite a lot. But just because it has gotten darker, doesn’t mean that the humor has gone away as there were several light-hearted moments too. Since Season 2, Gotham has improved on its comic book feeling as it feels less like a cop show and more of a comic book drama.

A lot happened in “Better To Reign In Hell” that we want to discuss so hit the NEXT button below and let’s go through the top 5 highlights of the Gotham Season 3 premiere!

#5: Valerie Vale’s Debut

#4: Fish Mooney 2.0

#3: The Adventures Of Barbara & Tabitha

#2: The Growth Of Bruce Wayne

#1: Court Of Owls Strikes

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#5 –Valerie Vale’s Debut

While I was confused towards at first why Gotham decided to introduce Vicki Vale’s aunt rather than her mother, Jaime Chung’s debut was a lot of fun as Valerie is a hard cookie. Her interaction with the “bad boy” version of Gordon was neat as she will probably be one of those voices that help him get out of his phase that he is in. It was quite refreshing to see Gordon have a different dynamic with a female character as opposed to the ones he has had with Leslie and Barbara in the past. Even though it feels very obvious that a romantic relationship is coming, Chung and Ben McKenzie’s chemistry was strong and it will be interesting to see how Valerie plays into the overall plot of Season 3. It’s definitely great to see how the media in Gotham City is picking up on all these mysteries that are happening.

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#4 –Fish Mooney 2.0

Fish Mooney may not have had the strongest start when she first debuted on the show in Season 1, but over the past two years, especially as she returned from the dead, she has improved a lot. After discovering that Indian Hill has given her the power of persuasion, Fish was back at the top and her target is Gotham. However, the premiere reveals that Fish’s power comes with a price, which I was surprised about while at the same time I wasn’t. Hopefully this doesn’t result with Fish dying again because if that happens, then bringing her back was pointless. Also, can we talk about Fish’s new costume? While it doesn’t scream “super villain” per say, it does have a powerful effect and it just fits with this new personality of Fish. Although I was hoping for some Fish/Penguin interactions because it’s always a treat to see those two powerhouses share the screen together.

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Image via Gotham Trailer

#3 – The Adventures Of Barbara & Tabitha

It’s almost hilariously terrifying how much of an improvement Barbara has become since her first season, as Season just truly allowed her to go bat-freaking crazy. Seeing her and Tabitha (who was a very struggling character last season) together running the Sirens club and kicking butt against anyone who gets in their way, was just pure fun. The scene when Barbara messes with a couple of criminal men that crashes their club, while maniacally laughing, is something that needs to happen more often. The only question I have though regarding these two characters’ arc this season is if it will actually tie –in with anything. The second half of Season 2 pretty much had Butch and Tabitha just show up in scenes here and there while not really serving much of a role. That is something that I don’t want to see happen again, so hopefully these two will have a lot to do this year.  

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Image via Gotham Trailer

#2 – The Growth Of Bruce Wayne

Despite what happens with him in the end of the episode, Bruce Wayne continues to be one of the best parts of the show, as he is getting more mature and entering the next chapter in his life. Seeing him taking charge of Wayne Enterprises and not kidding around with the corrupted board members, was one of the best parts of the whole episode. Although I almost wish that Alfred hadn’t spoken for Bruce against the rude member during the meeting as it would have been neat to see Bruce deal with it on his own. While they didn’t have many scenes, I’m always game for some Bruce/Selina interactions, which continues to go back and forth. The only thing I was desperately hoping for was a scene between the two Bruces, but I guess everything has its time and place so I just have to be patient as we still have 21 episodes for that.

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#1- Court Of Owls Strikes

I was expecting to see more of the Court of Owls, but given that it was the premiere, which had to establish what everyone was up, it was OK that we didn’t get a lot of the Owls this week. However, they definitely didn’t waste any time in making it clear that they are forces to be reckoned with. The unnamed Owl Lady decided to strike and go after Bruce by sending one of her agents who I’m guessing is one of the Talons of the Court. The thing that still remains unanswered though is what the connection is between the Court and the Bruce clone? Because based on this premiere, it seems that there are none so far. Speaking of the clone, seeing David Mazouz’s Bizarro-Bruce was chilling because we have no idea what this version is capable of.

Verdict: As the show continues with its serialized format that it started with in Season 2, “Better To Reign In Hell…” was a solid premiere with a lot of great setups of what is in store for this season. While there were a lot of intense moments, Gotham didn’t leave us without some funny ones with Butch’s adorable pining for Tabitha, Penguin’s visits to Nygma and more.

Grade: A

Gotham airs on Monday nights at 8/7c on FOX.

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Andy Behbakht

Andy Behbakht

Andy Behbakht is an online entertainment journalist who has been covering television and movies since 2010. In addition, he is also a podcast producer.