The premise of Gotham has always been to serve as the early stages of Jim Gordon’s journey, but the real interest of the show surrounds how and when that young, orphaned millionaire will become the protector of Gotham City. While Season 3 has raised questions about Gotham's citizens and their upcoming fates, the most pressing one focuses on Bruce's whereabouts and what a mysterious figure named the Shaman wants with him. But who is Shaman on Gotham? His introduction in the May 1 episode is telling in the role he will play not only within the Gotham universe, but in Bruce's character arc as well.
So far, Season 3 has kept to its tagline, “Heroes Rise,” which hints at Bruce's new task of making the darkness and his fear a part of his new persona. Fans of the Batman mythos know that the characters Bruce meets along his journey will affect the rules he makes for himself as a hero. Shaman's presence as Bruce's new mentor adds to the many complicated influences that will lead to Bruce recreating himself as the Dark Knight.
At this point in the season, Bruce is held captive in a prison cell, hidden away within a snow-covered, remote location. Comic fans may recognize this image as Nanda Parbat, home to the League Of Assassins, hinting that Shaman will serve as the key to Bruce's meeting with Ra’s al Ghul, one of the most famous Batman adversaries.
To add Temple Shaman — played by Raymond J. Barry in a recurring role according to Deadline — to the mix on Season 3 establishes more expectations for young Bruce Wayne. The primary focus of a mentor is to provide the hero with the tools they need in order to fulfill their destiny. Shaman promises to help Bruce unlock the potential to become a great hero, but anyone who has spent 15 minutes in Gotham City knows it is never that simple.
The League of Assassins is already a prime narrative arc with Malcolm Merlyn as Ra's al Ghul on Arrow, but since Gotham is a prequel to the Batman mythos, having young Bruce meet Shaman first feels more organic to building his hero's journey. Adding to this new tone of the series, Variety has announced that Alexander Siddig will play Ra's al Ghul in Season 3.
The most fascinating characteristic that Batman possesses is the way he adapts to a potential threat. If Season 1 supports this idea that Gotham is only as dangerous as the villains who live in it, then Season 3 highlights Bruce's awareness of his own vulnerability. With Shaman as a new player in the battle for Gotham's soul, Bruce will need to learn quickly how to adapt to this brutal training, which in turn will lead him on the path to Batman.
How Shaman fits completely into the League Of Assassins still remains unknown, but the pieces are all coming together. At this point in the season, all of the major players in Gotham's crime scene have assembled. Season 3 has shown Nygma finally committing to his role as Riddler, Jim Gordon joining the Court of Owls, and Bruce Wayne growing up, which can only mean that he and his father figure Alfred will soon grow apart as he accepts his role as Gotham's protector.
As Gotham continues to twist and turn toward the Batcave, Bruce's decision to take matters into his own hands after his parents' death already indicates that he can stand up to whatever Shaman throws at him.