The series Gotham Knights opens with the introduction of Turner Hayes, an orphan who was adopted by billionaire Bruce Wayne. At the beginning of the series, Turner seems to be everything you would expect the son of a billionaire to be.
He attends an elite private school, he’s a champion fencer for some reason, and regularly throws massive teenage parties in his mansion while his dad is away. However, his most recent teen party is ruined by the arrival of the police, who are there to inform him that his father has been murdered.
It also turns out that his father was Batman, something that Turner had no idea about.
Gotham Knights season 1, episode 1 recap – More teenagers are added to the cast
It turns out that three delinquent youths, Duela Dent and siblings Harper and Cullen Row, broke into Wayne tower because they had been hired to steal something valuable from Bruce Wayne. It is the gun that Joe Chill used to kill Thomas and Martha Wayne.
However, once they successfully break into the building, they discovered that it was all a setup. They found Bruce Wayne dead, and their fingerprints were now on the gun from Bruce’s safe.
The three teenagers quickly make their escape, but it’s not long before the GCPD track them down. Turner is busy coming to grips with the idea that his adoptive father was Batman and quickly discovers a massive Batcave under his house that he never noticed before.
The Batcave is complete with the incredibly powerful Bat-computer. Fortunately, Turner’s best friend, Stephanie, just happens to be a master computer hacker.
She uses the Bat-computer to find out who paid for the killing of Bruce Wayne. The only problem is that according to the bank records, it looks like Turner is the one who paid for the hit.
Gotham Knights season 1, episode 1 recap – Teaming up to break out of jail
The banks have alerted the police to Turner’s apparent financial involvement. Turner gets arrested and thrown into jail with the three teenagers who are being framed.
We also learn that Duela, is supposedly the Joker’s daughter which obviously gives her a complicated history with her father, as well as an instant interesting relationship with the son of Batman. The four teenagers are being taken away, but they plan a breakout, or at least the three non-billionaire children do.
Turner gets taken along for the ride. The scuffle that ensues leads to the revelation that whoever paid to have Bruce Wayne killed, also has several police officers on the payroll.
The fight is interrupted by Carrie Kelly, who is both a girl at Turner’s school, and Robin. The five teens run off to hide from their pursuers, and Turner vows to clear all their names and find out who the true killer of Bruce Wayne is.
The only clue is a coin, that suggests the murder was the work of the Court of Owls, a secret society that runs Gotham from the shadows.
Gotham Knights season 1, episode 1 recap – What is this show trying to be?
Gotham Knights was always going to be a hard deviation from the standard Batman story, simply by virtue of the fact that it kicks off with Batman being killed. (Supposedly killed as this is a comic book TV show after all.)
(Don’t be surprised if Batman turns out to have been alive all along a few seasons down the road.) However, it’s hard not to immediately start drawing inferences based on the information that we’re being given.
We’re already trying to figure out exactly where this lines up on the Batman timeline. Turner is a completely new character, and while the idea of Batman taking on other people who have lost their family is nothing new, the idea of him raising them from childhood, knowing only the Bruce Wayne side of their personality is something new.
A big part of the characterization of Batman is that the personality of Bruce Wayne is always fake. It’s an act to help hide the fact that Batman is the man’s true persona.
So the idea of a boy being raised by Bruce Wayne, with the idea of Batman completely absent, seems like it’s inadvertently delving into territory the show isn’t fully committing to grappling with. But then it’s very unclear how long Batman has been around by the time the show starts.
Alfred seems to be gone, but there’s no mention of what happened to him. The character of Harvey is clearly Harvey Dent, so that means he hasn’t been turned into Two-Face yet.
But the Joker and Harley Quinn both exist, and the Joker clearly existed for a long enough time that Duela could grow into a teenager. Speaking of Duela, she is a character that has claimed to be the daughter of almost every Batman villain on the list at one time or another.
She was even Two-Face’s daughter at one point, which is where her name comes from. Maybe that’s why Harvey’s last name is never mentioned in this show, to keep that connection from being made.
Also, Carrie Kelly is the Robin from The Dark Knight Returns, and the Mutants are also mentioned, which are from the same comic. But it looks like in this version Carrie Kelly is still the first, and only Robin, Batman has ever taken.
Gotham Knights doesn’t have to follow the exact Batman story. There’s obviously a lot of wiggle room when it comes to adapting something as flexible, with its own canon as Batman.
But with this being the first episode, it’s impossible to not try and grasp at those connections to try and figure out where the show is going, as it gets started building out its own version of the DC universe.
What did you think of the first episode of Gotham Knights season 1? Leave your answers in the comments below!
Stay tuned for a new episode March 21 on The CW.