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February 24, 2024

Gotham's Bruce and Selina are closer than ever to assuming their alter egos

By CATHERINE PALMER | March 29, 2018

Wrapping up my Gotham arc, I will now delve into the relationship between Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) in season four. The teens have individually been making significant strides toward transforming into their iconic alter egos Catwoman and Batman, but they have also drifted apart. As the season nears its end, though, they’ve finally started finding their way back to one another. (WARNING: Spoilers)

Whipped into Shape

Following a heartbreaking fallout with Bruce, Selina seeks support elsewhere at the end of season three. She turns to local gangster Tabitha "Tabby" Galavan (Jessica Lucas) for help moving up in the criminal underworld, and the two form a heartwarming partnership. 

As Tabby notes to their eventual third partner-in-crime, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), “She just wants a purpose. She wants a home.” And Selina finds one, albeit through arms trafficking and co-running a shady nightclub. 

Tabitha, in particular, goes out of her way to protect Selina. She also helps Selina improve her fighting technique, most notably by introducing her to Catwoman’s iconic weapon: a whip. Of course, Selina is already pretty much a natural the first time she uses the whip because, you know, Gotham is so committed to realism. 

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Bruce does make an effort to repair his relationship with Selina at the beginning of season four. He apologizes for chewing her out at the hospital, and Selina accepts. It seems as though the two may on their way to a new beginning. 

However, once again, secrecy soon drives a wedge between them. Hell-bent on taking down Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), Bruce buys a knife at an auction that has a connection to his mysterious former mentor. 

Barbara asks Selina to acquire it for their business, so she tries to break into Wayne Manor like she did in the good old days. Bruce catches her, though, and she tries to ask him for the knife as a friend, explaining that Barbara "won’t ever see [her] as an equal” if she doesn’t come through. Bruce sternly refuses to give it up but won’t say why, aside from having paid $2 million for it. 

A Dark Path

Bruce begins serving as a vigilante hero for Gotham back in season three. He trains with Alfred (Sean Pertwee), a former soldier, and the two lay down one unbreakable rule. Bruce will never kill. 

His vigilante adventures continue at the start of season four, but his obsession with Ra’s soon becomes all-consuming. As Bruce seeks to find out more about the knife’s history from historian Niles Winthrop (Dakin Matthews), Niles and his young grandson Alex (Benjamin Stockham) are put into Ra’s al Ghul’s crosshairs. Bruce is too late to save Niles, but he tries desperately to protect Alex. 

Fearful of what Ra’s will be able to do with the knife, though, Bruce refuses to give it up when Ra’s offers to spare Alex’s life. Ra’s murders Alex in front of Bruce, leaving him traumatized and ridden with guilt. Ra’s is sent to prison but soon breaks out.

Ra’s confronts Bruce, claiming that Bruce is destined to be Ra’s al Ghul's heir, the leader of the League of Assassins. Bruce refuses to accept the mantle, but Ra’s threatens to go after Bruce’s loved ones until Bruce changes his mind. Unwilling to take that risk, Bruce impulsively stabs Ra’s with the knife, therefore fulfilling Ra's al Ghul's desire. 

Rock Bottom

Bruce’s realization that Ra’s set him up breaks him. He gives up on his mission to be a hero for Gotham and spirals out of control to try to numb his pain by partying, drinking and philandering. In a way, he moves closer to becoming adult Bruce Wayne, who is famously depicted as a playboy. By refusing to acknowledge that he has the mental and emotional strength to cope with what he has done, Bruce runs further away from the person he needs to be to become Batman.

Bruce’s treatment of Alfred, the man he has looked to as a mentor and father since his parent’s death, is particularly brutal and upsetting to watch. Like a spoiled brat, Bruce expects to Alfred to deal with his foul moods and clean up the messes from his parties without complaint. 

Whenever Alfred tries to intervene in Bruce’s lifestyle, Bruce becomes enraged and reminds Alfred of his role as a servant. During one such altercation, Alfred accidentally hits Bruce, and Bruce promptly fires him. 

An Intervention

Bruce and Selina finally reunite while he is on a bender at her night club. Selina immediately sees through his façade, and after Bruce brags about firing Alfred, she calls him out, “What are you trying to prove?” The two are soon interrupted, but Bruce seems genuinely affected by Selina’s concern.

Ultimately, Bruce is driven out of his funk when Poison Ivy (Peyton List) tries to kill him as punishment for Wayne Enterprises’ use of plants in their research. (Basically, she’s a radical PETA activist, except for plants.) She infects him with a slow-acting poison, which causes him to enter a kind of fever dream state and (dun, dun, dun) see a vision of himself as the Dark Knight.

After being saved by Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Bruce realizes that Alfred was right about his ability to become a hero. However, Alfred refuses to reenter Bruce’s life until he proves that he’s changed. 

Bruce seeks advice from Selina, who tells him to apologize to Alfred, which seems like something Bruce should have thought of himself. Bruce apologizes publicly at a Wayne Enterprises fundraiser, but Alfred doesn’t actually come around until Bruce saves him when Poison Ivy crashes the event. 

It’s Selina who saves the whole city, though, when she confronts her old friend. Selina destroys Ivy’s last vile of Lazarus water, which can weaponize plants. As evenly matched fighters, though, they come to a stalemate until Selina appeals to Ivy’s humanity. Selina throws her own knife on the floor, putting her life in Ivy’s hands. The gamble works, and Ivy promises to stop killing, at least temporarily.

Moving Forward

As of last week’s episode, Bruce and Selina are finally friends again. Bruce helps her work through the guilt she has from the robbery that started Ivy’s killing streak. Selina had simply tagged along, unaware of Ivy’s intentions. 

In tonight’s episode, Selina will come to Bruce’s aid in fighting against Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), a Joker-like villain who escapes from Arkham Asylum. Jerome was committed for trying to kill Bruce last season, so the reunion showdown should be pretty epic. 

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