The CWs Gotham knights wasted no time in throwing us into a shocking mystery, one in which the scions of Batman’s most notorious foes – and none other than Bruce Wayne’s adopted son – will attempt to clear their names.
The non-Arrowverse series premiere opens with a brooding Turner Hayes (played by Oscar Morgan) halfway through the monologue; as Bruce Wayne’s adopted son, he seemingly has everything he could ever want. Exceptas he puts it, “a reason why.”
As he muses, he flips a gold coin in the palm of his hand (our first Court of Owls tease). The scene then shifts to a fencing competition in which Turner makes short work of classmate Brody (Rahart Adams). The victory is bittersweet, however, as Turner’s father isn’t there to see it. Disappointed, he turns around and invites his colleagues to an impromptu rager at Wayne Manor.
As Turner observes the festivities, he praises Carrie Kelly (Raven’s house‘s Navia Robinson) on her reflexes after catching a vase knocked over by rowdy jocks. The interaction is brief, but comic readers will know that Carrie will play a major role in the series going forward.
Meanwhile at Wayne Tower, young thieves Duela (Days of our livesOlivia Rose Keegan), Harper Row (Fallon Smythe) and her brother Cullen (Tyler DiChiara) break into a safe containing the gun Joe Chill used to kill Thomas and Martha Wayne. Duela and Harper examine the gun and conclude that it was recently fired! A commotion outside the tower draws their attention to the window, which has a chilling message smeared (in blood): “Your Bat Is Dead.” We don’t give the killer any points for creativity, but damn if that isn’t a way to get a Gothamite’s immediate attention. The trio run to the window to find them looking down at a crumpled body on the sidewalk. Harvey Dent (Supernatural‘s Misha Collins) and the police arrive on the scene, and upon discovering the corpse is Bruce Wayne’s, you rush to Wayne Manor.
Realizing they’ve been set up, Duela and the others set off. They take out some pesky cops and steal a patrol car (nice Dark Knight callback with Duela hanging out the window), but before we can see how their escape spirals out of control, the focus shifts back to the party at Wayne Manor. Harvey arrives to inform Turner that his father is dead and the world is about to find out who Bruce really was. Turner – who had no idea his father was Batman – moves on. Shortly after receiving the news, he and his best friend Stephanie (Doom patrol‘s Anna Lore) discover the Batcave and immediately try to solve Bruce Wayne’s murder.
Turner gives an impassioned speech at Bruce’s funeral, which is interspersed with fragmentary glimpses of Duela, Harper and Cullen being dragged away by the police. Each is questioned separately; from Duela’s interrogation we learn that her father was the Joker. From Harper’s we get tidbits about her father, whose abusive behavior drove her to find a way out of Gotham. We learn from Cullen’s that he and Harper went into the heist thinking it would be a one-time deal.
At school, Brody taunts Turner, prompting Stephanie to step in and talk everyone down. Later, Stephanie uses the Batcave computers to find out who paid Duela and the Row siblings to rob Wayne Tower. Her search yields a name almost immediately, but it’s the last name she wanted to see flash across her screen: Turner Hayes. Whoever hired the thieves framed Turner, and the police intervened. Officers arrive and arrest Turner. Their case against him is further strengthened (in their eyes, at least) by the recent revelation that Bruce Wayne attempted to change the beneficiary at his will prior to his death. Not a great look for Turner, but there’s clearly some behind-the-scenes tampering going on here.
Turner finds himself sharing a cell with Duela, Harper, and Cullen. Duela hits him with an exposé about how the Joker abandoned her as a child and how, despite being related to him by blood, she hates him more than Batman ever did. She then accuses Turner of setting them all up, an accusation that Harper and Cullen eagerly support. The conversation escalates into a full-blown brawl, forcing the officer in charge of their case, Detective Ford, to intervene. Harvey, meanwhile, considers his mayoral campaign and weighs the impact of Turner’s case on said political ambitions.
As they are taken away to Blackgate Prison, Duela reveals that the fight she started in their cell was planned. She tells Turner that she knows he is not a murderer and that the only way for them to survive is to stick together. Duela, Harper and Cullen pull the locks on their handcuffs and start a fight with the police in their transport. Together they subdue their captors and nearly escape, but a misjudgment on Turner’s part turns the table back in their enemies’ favor. Carrie Kelly shows up unexpectedly and saves them in her Robin outfit and with some handy gadgets, allowing them to regroup and return to the Batcave.
The final moments of the Gotham knights premiere drops a handful of hair-raising teases. The first is that the agents responsible for their transportation to Blackgate were hired by the Court of Owls, again heralded by the organization’s symbol. The second is that Turner’s butler, Cressida, appears to be in cahoots with Bruce’s killers. The third – and most exciting for comic book fans – involves Talon, the Court’s mysterious assassin, who beheads Detective Ford and locks us out with the question: Who will face the Court’s wrath? next one?
What were you thinking Gotham knights? Tune in again next week, same Batman-less Bat-time, same Batman-less Bat-channel?
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