Batman Appeared On ‘Gotham’ Finally, But Bruce Wayne Still Has A Long Way To Go Before Becoming The Caped Crusader
Spoilers for the March 8 episode. The moment Gotham fans have been waiting for since Season 1 has finally arrived: Batman appeared on Gotham... in a dream sequence. It felt anticlimactic to have young Bruce Wayne dream about the hero he'll eventually become during an extended hallucination sequence, but it's still the series' first glimpse at who he'll eventually become.
After being attacked by Ivy Pepper, Bruce dreams up several haunting scenarios, including a moment when Ra's al Ghul cuts his face off, Jerome-style, metaphorically stealing Bruce's identity. Then Bruce walks through a party hosted by someone wearing his face who resembles how Bruce might turn out if he continues down his irresponsible path. The "real" Bruce is dissolved by the copy, who is then kidnapped by Alfred, who drops him off in the alleyway where his parents were killed back in the first episode.
There, Bruce meets a cloaked, deep-voiced figure who resembles a costumed Batman, seen only in dark shadow. The cape, at least, seems accurate to the comics, but the figure in Bruce's dream is missing the iconic Batman cowl — he doesn't have any ears or the pointed nose that gives him a bat-like appearance. However, the figure does transform into a cloud of bats and fly at Bruce after inspiring/terrifying him into picking up the mantle of becoming a hero, so the teen surely got the connection that bats will be an important figure to him as he ages into the Batman seen in the vision.
And it seems pretty clear that Bruce isn't ready to go back on the streets. He has donned a costume and attempted to protect the city before, but the version of (not-quite) Batman that he sees in his dream looks a lot larger than he is. And in the grand tradition of Christian Bale, his voice is altered. Overall, the impression is that he's a lot stronger, older, and more mature than the teenaged Bruce, who will have to continue his hard-partying persona in public, but put his real ego aside and become a true public servant.
Bruce seems inspired by this vision, albeit more with a certain grim inevitability rather than any sense of wanting to help the people of Gotham. When saved from Ivy's toxin in the nick of time by Jim Gordon, Bruce is back to his serious self, no longer the fun and games Party Bruce who sasses Alfred and winds up with a parrot after a long night out. And after realizing his ultimate destiny, Bruce is ready to open his flip phone and beg his surrogate father to return and help him embrace his vigilante destiny.
If Bruce's vision is meant to be the "true" version of who he'll eventually become, there are a lot of changes in store for Gotham. Jim laughs off the eventuality of getting a mustache, but the comics version of his character almost always has one. And Jim is by Barbara's side, not Lee's in this vision — because in the comics, he eventually marries Ms. Kean. Penguin is invited to the Wayne party and wearing the top hat his character often wears in the comics. Meanwhile, the actual Oswald is still battling to survive life in Arkham. One person who isn't in this vision? Sofia Falcone. And her absence could suggest that she won't be important to Bruce's future, or that she may leave the city entirely.
But the most important figure in the sequence is clear — even though Gotham was originally a Batman prequel, this version of Bruce Wayne is now well on his way to becoming the Caped Crusader. But the Wayne heir still has a long way to go before fully embracing his identity.