Batman doesn’t kill, full stop. While some of the great detective’s earliest comics show otherwise, Batman has sworn off murder and using guns since the Golden Age, after a violent story in the first issue of Batman disgusted then-DC editor Whitney Ellsworth. Batman’s “No Kill” rule has since become a defining characteristic and the winter finale of Gotham revealed how Bruce Wayne made that vow.
In “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies,” Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) comes face-to-peeling face with the newly-resurrected Jerome (Cameron Monaghan). Jerome kidnaps Bruce to a nightmarish carnival, where the two square off in a hall of mirrors reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s showdown with Mr. Han from Enter the Dragon. As Bruce gets the upper hand with some shattered glass, Jerome dares him to kill him until Bruce — who was given clown facepaint by Jerome — looks at the monster he’s slowly becoming.
After Jerome was arrested and Bruce returns with Alfred (Sean Pertwee) to Wayne Manor, Bruce tells Alfred he will never kill, cementing Bruce’s next step into becoming the Batman.
Vowing to never take a life is a real legitimate change to Bruce in Gotham. Since the death of his parents, Bruce has been angsty and eager to harm, but Season 3 has been a significant year of change for Bruce, change that climaxed in the winter finale.
Bruce’s vow is also dramatically convenient; not killing has allowed Batman’s enemies to keep coming back for more than 75 years in comics, and when it comes down to it, there’s juicy inner turmoil for Batman who could kill his enemies and permanently save Gotham City, but morally cannot. Expect this to matter when Bruce fights his Court of Owls doppelganger when Gotham returns in April.
While Ben Affleck’s Batman in the DC Extended Universe might be more lenient, young Bruce in Gotham is more dedicated to the role.
Gotham will return on FOX on April 24.
Photos via Fox