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DollEyes

Bruce, Jim & Alfred: Batboy & His Two "Dads"

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  For my money, the most intriguing relationship on Gotham is between the young Bruce Wayne, his butler Alfred Pennyworth and Det. Jim Gordon. After seeing the murder of his parents, Bruce needs all the positive role models he can get more than ever. To his credit, Alfred is doing the best he can, but given his military experience and his lack of experience with kids, he's still a little rough around the edges. In fairness, though, seeing a child doing dangerous things like standing on a roof and burning themselves can be scary, hence Alfred's response.

 

  Then there's Jim. From the moment he met Bruce, Jim has been a part of Bruce's life because he can relate to losing a parent at a young age. Jim's dad wasn't killed in front of him, but the loss was painful anyway. While Jim doesn't have anymore experience with kids than Alfred does, it seems that since he and Bruce do have something in common, he can get through to Bruce in ways that Alfred can't. Despite Jim and Alfred's different methods, they both become major influences to Bruce Wayne and Batman.

 

  If you want to chat about Bruce, Jim and Alfred's relationship, do it here.

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Thank you, DollEyes! I'm thinking that this will be used once the season gets going.

 

It could be one of the more compelling relationships of the series.  I think the actors involved are up to the job and I am anxious to see more of them. It will be interesting to see this trio through the prism of Jim Gordon's POV, primarily.

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The Alfred raising Bruce thing stems from the 1985 DC comics reboot, so there's at least a few decades of it being well defined (even if Alfred's gotten a bit of a personality transfer--at least in his younger guise).  The Gordon and Bruce thing is brand new, so the writers have both more leeway, but also a harder task of maintaining a few key goals (for example,

that adult Bruce can't be TOO close to the future Commissioner Gordon, because every version of them has Gordon thinking of grown-up Bruce as a total social dilettante, and never seriously considering he's Batman--at least not until much later in Batman's career, where there's a good argument he might have realized).  

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I'm going to need to see Alfred step up to being Bruce guardian/parental figure rather than clinging to the role of butler. The boy needs guidance/authority in his life!

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I'm going to need to see Alfred step up to being Bruce guardian/parental figure rather than clinging to the role of butler. The boy needs guidance/authority in his life!

 

There's that weird contradiction about the relationship, though.  Bruce is his charge, and yet Bruce is his boss.  Alfred is also trying to follow Bruce's father instructions which tell him to let Bruce make his own decisions.  So I can see why Alfred is always trying to walk a fine line.  At this point, not very successfully, I must say, which is partially why he has recruited Jim's help.

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At this point, not very successfully, I must say, which is partially why he has recruited Jim's help.

 

Which is why IA with Trini, that we need to start seeing Alfred start to take a bit more charge of Bruce. There is great drama to be mined from these three finding their equilibrium with each other and the city. They are , to different degrees, outsiders.

 

Jim: grew-up in town but went away (possibly for college, definitely for his military service) and came back to a place that has him gobsmacked by the rampant, obvious corruption. Interested in trying to get the town back to the good city he thought he knew.

 

Bruce: Young and probably sheltered; now orphaned; still at the mansion because- and he's given off vibes like he understands-- his parents don't trust anyone they knew to protect and care for Bruce; is the technical boss of a man almost 5x his age, who mostly obeys him. Interested in cleaning up the town that cost him his parents.

 

Alfred: A military man; possibly also a man of personal service (we don't know anything about this version of Alfred, really); accepted the role of a 12 year old orphan's butler/valet/caretaker due to respect/loyalty to the boy's parents/father. Not a caring nurturer by nature, but not stone-hearted. Willing to ask for help, if he has no idea what else to do. Wants to keep the boy safe and through his trauma. Yet, can help Jim with nuggets of info on Gotham's elite and/or Wayne Enterprises' big projects. Wants to honor Thomas and Martha's wishes.

 

I stated in the Alfred thread that I'd like to see the first time Alfred has had enough of Bruce and/ or Gordon's plans and draws his line in the sand. It could be explosive and glorious. Like Kromm mentioned, there needs to be an awareness in Bruce that he can't lean on Gordon, especially after he decides for certain to walk the path he chooses. Gordon has to decide when to not let Bruce in on every detail of his hunt for The Real Killer. Alfred needs to actively fulfill the guardian part of his duties. The scene(s) should be powerful and I hope we get it/ them.

Edited by Actionmage

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I stated in the Alfred thread that I'd like to see the first time Alfred has had enough of Bruce and/ or Gordon's plans and draws his line in the sand. It could be explosive and glorious.

 

I agree.  Alfred has tried very hard to be calm the last several episodes, and there should come a point where he has to make a stand.  The Bruce and Alfred relationship will need a few definitive moments as they move toward the looming shadow of Batman.

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I felt for Bruce in "Penguin's Umbrella"; he thought he was about to lose another father figure to violent crime. In that context, I thought the hug was touching.

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Alfred, your parenting skills are awful. Think of the Waynes! Would they have wanted you to have Bruce beat down a classmate?

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Alfred, your parenting skills are awful. Think of the Waynes! Would they have wanted you to have Bruce beat down a classmate?

Who knows?

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Alfred, your parenting skills are awful. Think of the Waynes! Would they have wanted you to have Bruce beat down a classmate?

 

In the context of how cruel kids are, and that that classmate and his friends would have continued mocking Bruce's loss of his parents, I actually think in  a crazy way Alfred was protecting Bruce.     "Don't mess around with the Waynes."

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I thought it was interesting if you compared what Jim said vs. what Bruce said and Alfred's response.

 

Jim said he doesn't like fighting, but he's not afraid of it.

 

Bruce said he enjoyed hurting him, and Alfred said, of course you did and did not imply there was anything wrong with it.  Though I think Bruce was a little troubled by that.  I think it was a good thing that Bruce's first impulse was not to fight... he verbally tried to rebuff the bullies first.

 

So in some ways, Jim and Alfred will counteract one another in their influence of Bruce.  

 

It's a little sad that Bruce will always feel this angry.

Edited by Camera One
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I get that Alfred would want to teach Bruce how to fight, but completely ignoring Bruce's cry for help (enjoying hurting others and angry all the time) is what really irked me. So Bruce becomes Batman (in part) because Alfred is a horrible parent. Great.

 

Not my biggest complaint about Gotham, but "The Mask" may have just tipped the scales to me dropping the show.

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I think Alfred thinks (maybe because of his personal way of dealing) that fighting and training helps the anger to dissipate.  Considering his military background, I can see why he might think that even if it's a little messed up.  Maybe he thinks if Bruce fights these little battles, he will be living life in the present more and dwell less on his parents' death.  That could explain why he actually saw this as a healthy development for Bruce.  I still think it was going way overboard to allow Bruce to punch him with a weapon, but I am trying to see why Alfred was acting that way.

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My issue is this: why do we EXPECT that Alfred has to be a good parent?

 

Oh, from a human standpoint we'd like him to be, but from a dramatic standpoint it's better if he's not.

 

Batman has never been a character based around high and noble things.  That's Superman.  Batman has always been the dark side.  Learning about bad foster parenting by an unqualified domestic is hardly going to tip the scale into territory it's never been in with the character before.  

 

From a viewer sympathy perspective I think the key element is that since this isn't Charles Dickens, and we know Alfred will be around much later in Bruce's life, that Alfred being a shitty parent can't go too far. Alfred's got to be doing what he actually thinks is best for the kid for us to stick with the idea that these are the eventual heroes.  The fact that Alfred is probably wrong about a lot of this is sad... but Batman is a Tragedy.  Sad is a big part of it.

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Batman has never been a character based around high and noble things.  That's Superman.  Batman has always been the dark side......Batman is a Tragedy.  Sad is a big part of it.

I agree and that's why I also have no problem with any of the characterization of young Bruce per se, so far.  The bigger problem is  what many others have said - that at this rate he's going to be full-on Batman by the end of season one.  

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I agree and that's why I also have no problem with any of the characterization of young Bruce per se, so far.  The bigger problem is  what many others have said - that at this rate he's going to be full-on Batman by the end of season one.  

The proto-Detective work is something there's a more valid objection to though, rather than the fighting back against bullies.  The first is what's atypical of his age. The second isn't, even if the use of knowledge from someone like Alfred makes it a somewhat extraordinary occurrence. 

 

So that's my counter-objection.  I think the focus is on the wrong thing.  Bruce being too smart and savvy, too quickly thrust into adult conspiracies is the real issue in my opinion. Not him striking back at a boy his own age.

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I think the focus is on the wrong thing.  Bruce being too smart and savvy, too quickly thrust into adult conspiracies is the real issue in my opinion. Not him striking back at a boy his own age.

Yes, this is what I think.  Punching the kid is so much less a problem than the rest of the plotting:  Gordon's already consulting with him,he's already got the whole TV Detective Mystery Solving Wall Collage going, etc. etc.  He's ALREADY on the case!

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Yes, this is what I think.  Punching the kid is so much less a problem than the rest of the plotting:  Gordon's already consulting with him,he's already got the whole TV Detective Mystery Solving Wall Collage going, etc. etc.  He's ALREADY on the case!

The problem was mainly them giving us Bruce this young.  By insisting he has to be in this show, it means we need him tied into the main storyline in some way to keep him relevant.  They approached this by tying this to the root of his Batskills (fighting being the least of those, frankly).  

 

I think what we needed perhaps was a second moment of Transformation (the first being the actual murder). In the comics, that's actually a bit lame, because it's Bruce sitting in a dark room when a Bat flies in and he latches onto the Bat as something that will terrify criminals (which of course means he's been thinking about the fact that he needs to terrify criminals long before that).  So what we need is to move that Bat in the Window moment to third position and he needs some big moment in the middle.  Whatever THAT moment is would be what the show should be working towards with his character now.  If they'd done it properly (but the boat has slightly sailed on that already) the moment in the alley would have been the trauma, then the second moment when he realizes he can and should work towards getting justice himself.  Instead we got him working towards that goal already (albeit only in minor ways) without seeing that "aha!" moment of realization.  

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The problem was mainly them giving us Bruce this young.  By insisting he has to be in this show, it means we need him tied into the main storyline in some way to keep him relevant.  They approached this by tying this to the root of his Batskills (fighting being the least of those, frankly).  

 

I think what we needed perhaps was a second moment of Transformation (the first being the actual murder). In the comics, that's actually a bit lame, because it's Bruce sitting in a dark room when a Bat flies in and he latches onto the Bat as something that will terrify criminals (which of course means he's been thinking about the fact that he needs to terrify criminals long before that).  So what we need is to move that Bat in the Window moment to third position and he needs some big moment in the middle.  Whatever THAT moment is would be what the show should be working towards with his character now.  If they'd done it properly (but the boat has slightly sailed on that already) the moment in the alley would have been the trauma, then the second moment when he realizes he can and should work towards getting justice himself.  Instead we got him working towards that goal already (albeit only in minor ways) without seeing that "aha!" moment of realization.  

 

I think it's important to remember that Bruce in the comic books had already decided to dedicate his life to fighting criminals as a child, long before the adult Bruce sees the bat flying into the window.  He swore an oath to his parents.  So maybe that's what's missing? A little more development before we get to that point, like if it had been at the end of season one, perhaps.

 

At any rate, a young Bruce learning detective work and investigating crimes is part of his back-story in the comics, it's part of his preparation for his War On Crime.  So I don't think that aspect is off-base.  

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What could they have Bruce do in the interim, though?  His parents' death was the major event which could explain how he would become obsessed, and it made sense he would become obsessed with finding the killer.  Maybe the whole digging into Wayne Enterprises part came a little too early.

 

I think his next big transformative moment might be if he finds out and sees evidence that his parents were not as clean as he had imagined.  

Edited by Camera One

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I think after this incident, that Alfred is going to be more vocal in opposing Gordon's plans, especially if they hinge on someone other than Gordon. Maybe Bullock can be marginally trusted, but I can't imagine Alfred being willing to allow Bruce to be used like that anytime soon.

 

I kind of hope that Alfred has his own dossiers growing and that there is a new one with the name of Harvey Dent printed smartly on it.

 

Gordon, though, is more like the "fun uncle", rather than dad. He lets Bruce know about things most kids would be denied or uninterested in. He speaks to Bruce as a confidant and, essentially, a co-conspirator. It works, with Bruce, because Jim is very honest. Yet, now, he has helped- however unwittingly- endanger the kid he's sworn to watch over. Also, due to his own code, he has ended up in a position where he cannot help Bruce/ Bruce and Alfred as much as he had before. Arkham is going to eat his waking hours, I feel.

 

It will be interesting when the next shared crisis arises.

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It will be interesting when the next shared crisis arises.

 

It's heeeerrrreee...

 

Man, I hope that Jim can do more on this than the last time. Hopefully, he also doesn't get demoted/fired again.

 

Bruce seeing Alfred down like this has got to open up the scars of That Fateful Night all over again. 

 

I hope Bruce has his Wall o' Conspiracy backed up and triple encrypted.

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Yes, Bruce is probably damaged beyond repair now.  At least he was able to save Alfred, because he already has enough unfounded guilt about failing to save his parents.

 

This is an opportunity for Jim - and potentially Lee - to make a differeance for Bruce.  I hope Alfred heals quickly, though, because if a new guardian were appointed for Bruce I think both of them would lose it.

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Who's going to have a more angry response to Bruce and Selina going through Gotham's "gun ranges" ( love that kid) to find Reg?  Or are the kids going to be Alfred yelling at Bruce and Gordon yelling at Selina after Alfred narcs?

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I can see where they're going with Bruce Wayne Junior Private Eye. BUT, they'll have to introduce a way to Scarlet Pimpernel him because if he is too clever and too detectivy now, it will completely blow his cover when he does become Batman. Someone--maybe Alfred directly or maybe Gordon indirectly---needs to make Bruce Wayne into the next Lord Percy Blakeney, so Batman is free to do what Batman does.

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