DC Comics fans shouldn't get too excited about seeing Two-Face on Gotham anytime soon, even though Nicholas D'Agosto will recur as the young Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent, beginning with Monday night's new episode. Various factors point to a long wait before seeing his transformation into Two-Face. While Gotham relishes introducing an endless list of members of Batman's Rouges Gallery before they've become the infamous villains we know, Season 1 is keenly focused on charting Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot's rise to power. Trying to shoehorn Dent's transformation into Two-Face this season or even early next season would short change the ripe drama of this narrative.
So, how exactly does Dent become Two-Face? The character has been around since the 1940s, so his origin has been played with quite a bit. But primarily, Dent is a good man in a corrupt city working as the district attorney who forms an alliance with Commissioner Jim Gordon and Batman in regards to cleaning up Gotham. During the trial of Sal Maroni, the crime boss threw acid on Dent's face. He is not only hideously scarred, but goes mad and begins an obsession with stark duality and the life of a criminal mastermind. Writers have added in an actual history of mental illness before he became Two-Face to some comics as well.
The beloved animated Batman series tweaks his origin, while in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight there isn't even any acid or trial of Maroni. Instead, the film shows Dent as a good man with a healthy dose of anger that grows as the plot escalates until he is scarred from terrible burns after a murder attempt that claims Rachel Dawes' life. So Gotham has the opportunity to stick to the heart of Dent's dramatic change while playing around with the details.
I am glad to see some experimentation with the original Batman comics. Batman has been around for 75 years, so he definitely needs writers willing to be inspired by his comics rather than beholden to them. Dent is a character whose transformation relies on seeing his friendship with Batman and James Gordon. The tragedy is in knowing what a good man he was before his corruption. If the show doesn't do a time jump (like I am hoping), we'll witness Dent and Gordon becoming close allies over the course of the next season.
Since Maroni is on Gotham, there is still a chance we'll witness him on trial and throwing acid in Dent's face. But knowing how the series has been thus far, there is a chance they go with another origin entirely. D'Agosto makes it clear how he's approaching the character in the video below.
According to an interview with IGN, Gotham executive producer Bruno Heller explained that those involved with the show "don't want to bow to any pressure to overstuff or front-load the series with so many popular villains because they need to make sure they have enough characters and story for future seasons." Translation? Don't expect Two-Face anytime soon, folks. The show will probably use another season (at least) to develop Dent's friendship and professional connection with Gordon before delving into his darkness.
While I am excited to see Two-Face, I am happy Gotham is going to take its time to develop that storyline. The more we know about how great a man Dent was before he became the duality-obsessed criminal mastermind we know as Two-Face, the more tragic and intriguing his story becomes.
Images: Jessica Miglio/FOX; Giphy