Gotham Season 3 (subtitled Gotham: Mad City) will show a city sinking even deeper into chaos, as the curtain begins to peel back on the infamous criminal organization known as the Court of Owls. With the Indian Hill escapees on the loose, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has decided to take matters into his own hands as a bounty hunter while GCPD Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) try to fight crime with a badge. And Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), along with the help of his trusted mentor Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), discovers that the secrets regarding his parents’ murders run deeper than he ever could have imagined.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, co-stars David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Camren Bicondova (“Selina Kyle”), Jessica Lucas (“Tabitha Galavan”) and Maggie Geha (“Ivy Pepper”) talked about the season’s six-month time jump, just how much further things can descend in Gotham, the evolving dynamic between Bruce and Alfred, the new Sirens nightclub, Ivy’s big changes, what keeps drawing Bruce and Selina back together, a new love triangle, the Bruce doppleganger, and just how dangerous the Court of Owls is. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
SEAN PERTWEE: No, that’s the point of the show. We’re descending into hell and it’s going to get a lot worse, for a lot longer, before Batman has an excuse to draw breath and to rise from the ashes and stand up for the little man and the good man. It’s going to get worse. Things are pretty bad, and we really do need some help. The numbers of the good guys are thinning. Jim Gordon’s wheels have fallen off and he’s gone man. We literally just have Lucius Fox, young master Bruce and Alfred, pitted against the world.
DAVID MAZOUZ: Batman can’t exist until he’s necessary, and he’s not necessary yet. The world of Gotham has to get a lot worse, which it will.
PERTWEE: Believe you me, we know.
MAZOUZ: That’s the show. It really is the story of how a city goes from being okay to just being an absolute mess, and there needs to be a Batman to save it.
PERTWEE: What I love about Season 3 is that the villains have to look to themselves. The villains you thought were bad in the first and second season – the prototype Riddler and The Penguin – when the bus crashes and the super-villains come out, there will be allegiances formed. There already have been. They have to look to themselves. Who knows? There might be allegiances that form from Master Bruce’s influence and financial attributes, as well. We don’t know. It’s going to be interesting and a very bumpy ride.
MAZOUZ: It’s all relative. You think The Penguin is bad, but compared to these other guys, he’s a saint. That’s the great thing about Gotham. If you were to see Penguin in a comic book or another movie, he doesn’t really have anything to redeem himself with. He’s just a bad guy and a villain. With Gotham, and I’m just using Penguin as an example, but with all the villains, you see they have vulnerabilities and weaknesses that make them human, and you feel bad for them in a really awful way. They’re terrible people, but you like them. If you can make that happen, that’s a testament to the wonderful actors. Robin Lord Taylor absolutely kills it, week after week. You know the writers are doing what they’re meant to be doing when you’re rooting for the bad guy.
PERTWEE: Another huge plus point of the show is that it’s very rooted in reality, even though it may be an arch sense of reality. You can only push someone so much before they do something bad. Riddler and Penguin were pushed and viciously hurt and persecuted. Don’t do that to a very intelligent guy because he’ll out-think you. That’s what I love about all of our characters. Everyone has an idea of these characters, but I think the legions of our fans accept and trust us. We’re taking things seriously, albeit from a heightened point of view.
David and Sean, what can you say about the dynamic between Bruce and Alfred, this season?
MAZOUZ: It’s constantly changing. In Season 1, Bruce and Alfred didn’t have much of a relationship. Bruce’s parents were always the buffer. Once they were gone, it was awkward. Alfred was always the help. He was the guy who got Bruce tea in the morning. He wasn’t very involved in Bruce’s life. But once his parents are gone, the buffer is taken away and they’re forced to have a weird father-son relationship. That progressed, as Season 1 went on. Now, going into Season 3, they’re becoming partners. They’re uniting and being friends, even. They’re genuinely together.
PERTWEE: There’s a mutual respect. The realize that they are both dysfunctional and that they both suffer from post-traumatic stress. They are slowly drawn together, and there is a sense of paternal love. Alfred made an oath to the Waynes to guard their son and bring their son up. Bruce has realized that through his actions and by not listening to advice, he threatens people that care about him, from Alfred to Lucius Fox. It’s a two-way street. You will see them come closer together. We’re having a lot of fun this season. It’s a new and improved Alfred and Master Bruce.
Camren, Jessica and Maggie, what can you say about where your character is at, when Season 3 picks up?
CAMREN BICONDOVA: When the season starts, we’re six months post monster release. That’s where Gotham is, but Selina is working for Fish, at the moment. Fish’s entourage consists of monsters instead of gangsters, so it creeps Selina out. But she also is very loyal to Fish, so she’s trying to help Fish get out of the sticky situation that she’s in, in regard to her power. That’s where Selina is, at the beginning of the season.
JESSICA LUCAS: We left off with Tabitha being stabbed and in a coma, but now she’s alive and well, and things are going well for her. She owns a nightclub, called The Sirens, with Barbara and they are now in a relationship again. They’re having fun together. The Sirens is going to be the new hang-out of Gotham, where the criminals and baddies hang out. And there’s still the triangle happening between her and Butch. Butch is still pining after her, but she’s really not that interested. She’s still manipulating him. And in the beginning of the season, Penguin has it out for Tabitha. He still has not gotten over the fact that she killed his mother, so she has to protect herself from him. It’s about who is going to help her do that and how she’s going to be clever enough to stop him from killing her, so she does have to make some alliances. And then, just in general, the villains are starting to come together, more and more this season. With the monsters on the loose, there’s the Court of Owls looming over everything and new alliances need to be formed. They come together as a team, much more than they have before.
MAGGIE GEHA: For Ivy, she had an encounter with one of Strange’s monsters from Indian Hill, and she is changed from it. She’s very clearly changed, but she’s still little Ivy on the inside, to some degree. In Season 3, she’s figuring out what happened to her, what that means, what she can take away from this change, positively, what she likes about it, and how it can benefit her. She has some resentment against Selina because she believes Selina has betrayed her and abandoned her and didn’t protect her, so I know there will be some interaction there and maybe some revenge.
Camren, how does Selina feel about just how much Ivy has changed?
BICONDOVA: At first, she doesn’t know it’s her old friend that’s this person. She just meets this new person and is like, “You’re new to this city. You don’t look like you belong here.” Once Selina does figure out the fact that it is the Ivy that she’s known, she feels hurt. I would feel hurt, if my friend magically changed into somebody who’s five years older, within a matter of days, and didn’t tell me, so I think Selina will definitely feel hurt.
GEHA: There’s basically a huge misunderstanding between Selina and Ivy. So now, Ivy’s only friend in the world, she doesn’t like her anymore, but it doesn’t need to be that way. We need to spread love, not hate, but that’s not Gotham.
Maggie, how is Ivy dealing with the fact that she’s now older?
GEHA: When she first wakes up and finds herself in this new body, she’s very confused. She doesn’t really know if it’s real or not, or if it’s a dream. Once she comes to terms with the reality that she’s changed from this encounter, I think she embraces it. She’s embracing the newfound darker side and is using that to her advantage.
David, where are things at between Bruce and Selina?
MAZOUZ: In Season 1, Bruce was very sheltered. He was the rich boy from the right side of the tracks, and Selina was the street girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Bruce wanted to know what the other half was living like in Gotham, and she exposed him to that. Now that we’re in Season 3, Bruce knows what that is. He’s comfortable in that world and he doesn’t really need him anymore, but he likes her. You don’t really know what it is because they’re so different from each other, but they have this weird connection to each other. He still keeps her around, even though he doesn’t really need to. He’s comfortable with all of that stuff now. I really love what they’re doing this season. They’re going to make major advancements. I don’t want to give anything away, but that relationship is taken to the next level in Season 3, especially towards the beginning. It’s really fun to see how their relationship has changed, from Season 1 to Season 3.
PERTWEE: It affects Alfred, as well, because she’s around. There is a bizarre respect between them developing. Alfred gets why Bruce likes her. He gets why they are friends. Bruce is not a snob. He’s learned from Selina and he’s learned from Alfred. Alfred is not a snob. You’re either a good guy or bad guy. Manners make the man.
And now there’s also a new version of Ivy in Gotham. How does Bruce feel about that?
MAZOUZ: She’s going to have a major part in both Bruce and Alfred’s lives. I don’t want to give away too much, but she will find herself in a little bit of trouble. Bruce and Alfred are going to help her out, when she’s in her time of need, but when they try to do things right, it always comes back to bite them.
Camren and Maggie, will there be a bit of a love triangle with your characters and Bruce Wayne, this season?
BICONDOVA: Selina and Bruce’s relationship develops more into a normal teenage relationship. I think a big part of the triangle has a lot to do with jealousy.
GEHA: A lot of that is yet to be determined, with Ivy and Bruce. I would imagine that Ivy would see Bruce as somebody who has some money and some power, and she would probably try to figure out a way to use that to her advantage. But, I don’t really know yet.
Jessica, it seems like anybody who gets involved with Barbara puts themselves at risk because she’s a bit unpredictable.
LUCAS: Yeah. I love their dynamic, though, because Barbara is so kooky, zany and unpredictable. You never know what she’s going to do. And Tabitha is much more calculated and quiet, and is quietly dominate. I think she does a good job of reigning Barbara in, a little bit. They just fit with each other. They’re different kinds of crazy.
How do people react to them? Are they scared of them being together?
LUCAS: They’re absolutely like a power couple. I don’t think The Sirens is a place you would go into without some weapon protection. You’re going to see, right off the bat in the first episode, that they can take care of themselves and that they’re not people that you should cross or mess with, at all. They’re pretty dangerous.
David, what was it like to find out that you would be playing a Bruce doppleganger?
MAZOUZ: The thing that shocked me about it is that the writers didn’t warn me. I had absolutely zero idea that it was coming. I got the script for the finale, and the very last line said, “A young man emerges and we see it’s a doppleganger of Bruce Wayne. He says, ‘Thank you.’” I was like, “Wait, what?!” I was really confused. With something that big, I’d think the writers would come to me first, but they didn’t, so I was completely caught off guard. I emailed our showrunner and was like, “Can we talk about this? What exactly are we doing here?” It’s brilliant, the way they’re going to play it. This doppleganger is not a bad guy. He’s completely different from Bruce. In personality, they couldn’t be more different. They walk differently and talk differently, but they look exactly like one another, and strikingly like David Mazouz. He’s just lost and he’s looking for purpose. He will find a purpose, but that purpose will not be the best thing for the greater good of Alfred or Bruce, and he will have major effects on their lives. He’s a major part of Season 3, especially for our storyline. But, it’s been a blast. My initial reaction was one of confusion, at first, but then I was like, “Yeah, bring it on! This is awesome!” He’s Bruce 2 in the scripts. We have to come up with more clever name, but that’s what we’ve been referring to him as.
How do Bruce and his doppelgänger feel about each other?
MAZOUZ: It’s shocking. My reaction to reading the script was how Bruce reacts. And you’re not going to find out why he exists until the end of the season.
PERTWEE: When you see us looking surprised about him, we are genuinely surprised. There’s no acting required.
David, is it fun to get to do more physical stuff this season?
MAZOUZ: Absolutely! I had my very first real choreographed fight scene in the middle of last season, with Sonny Gilzean, the nephew of Butch Gilzean, and it was so much fun. It was a great emotional thing for Bruce, too. He realized that he can withstand tremendous amounts of pain and, in a really odd way, likes it. I’m learning because I’m getting a lot more physical things to do now. It’s just so much fun. Bruce is getting a lot more physical this year, which is great, and I know the fans are gonna dig it.
What are the biggest threats that Bruce and Alfred are dealing with, this season?
PERTWEE: The Court of Owls are the puppet masters. In Season 3, we discover who was behind things. We discover that it wasn’t Wayne Enterprises, as we thought. The Court of Owls are the puppet masters of Gotham. They are a force to be reckoned with. We have to defend ourselves and protect ourselves by creating a smoke screen, which is the birth of the facade of the billionaire playboy and his loyal manservant. We have that in public, but what are we doing behind that smoke screen?
MAZOUZ: The Court of Owls is controlling everybody in Gotham. At the end of Season 2, Bruce is the only person who figures out that they need to do something about what’s happening. He’ll take that to the next level, in the premiere of Season 3. He’ll do something very daring that will eventually come back to hurt him, as it always does. The Court of Owls have a major effect on everybody’s life in Season 3. They’re the over-arching villain of the season, but especially for Bruce because he’s realizing their existence and their potential danger.
PERTWEE: People aren’t even aware that they exist or that they’re being controlled by them.
MAZOUZ: At the beginning of the season, Bruce is the only one who figures it out, with Alfred’s help.
PERTWEE: And they’ve got to keep it on the down low.
Camren, with Selina always wanting to know other people’s business, how does she feel about the fact that the Court of Owls is out there, controlling things when nobody knew they existed?
BICONDOVA: Well, she doesn’t know. I think the only people that know are Nygma, because he found out through Strange, and Bruce, Alfred and Lucius Fox. They’re definitely the only ones, right now, that know of the Court of Owls. It’s interesting that, even though none of the characters know about the Court of Owls, they affect everybody. For Selina, with the monsters and Fish, and then with her relationship with Bruce evolving, and meeting her mom and having everything go to crap, it’s really crazy how, in a city that has been known to be an anarchist city, it’s much more of an oligarchy. I think that’s a really great concept.
Family is at a root of a lot of these characters’ problems.
GEHA: Just like real life.
LUCAS: For Tabitha, especially. That’s what I love about the show. You get to find out what made these people the way they are. We’re not just villains or bad.
BICONDOVA: And everybody has an issue with love. Love is at the heart of all of the characters’ problems. It’s really tragic, if you think about it, but it also adds some humanity. It’s not just a group of people that have powers and money. The core of everybody’s problems is love. I think that’s really sad, but it also adds some type of depth to the characters.
LUCAS: That’s so true. I was thinking about what Tabitha wants the most, and it’s love. She has nobody. She has no family and she’s on her own, and instead of embracing that loneliness and being on her own, for the first time in her life, she immediately went to Barbara and she still has Butch in her life. She’s lonely, and she wants somebody to support her and love her. That’s why she’s with Barbara again.
Jessica, does Tabitha feel a sense of freedom without having her brother controlling her anymore?
LUCAS: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think there was ever a time last season when she wasn’t questioning him or rolling her eyes at one of his plans. I think she was held back by him, quite a bit. She had to just follow his orders. Now, she’s in a position where she can call the shots. It’s very different.
Gotham: Mad City airs on Monday nights on Fox.