Spoilers for Gotham Season 2 Episode 5: Scarification Ahead!
In tonight's episode of Gotham, a historian of the city told a story. Edwige talked about the founding fathers of Gotham City, specifically bringing five families to bear.
“This knife has a cursed history. Almost two hundred years ago it was used in a terrible crime. Back then, five families ruled Gotham high society: The Elliots, the Kanes, the Crowns, the Dumas, and the most powerful of them all, the Waynes," she said when Penguin asked her about the history of an ancient knife that Theo Galavan asked him to acquire.
So who are these five families? Well, all five of them have a long history in the pages of DC Comics, and we're here to uncover the mystery. Click through to read all about them, and tell us what you thought of the deeply historical episode by rating it in the box above!
Like on Gotham, the Elliot family was one of the founding families of Gotham City in the pages of DC Comics. They stayed in Gotham for generations, all the way down to the present day Elliot, a boy named Tommy.
A dear friend of Bruce's as a child, Tommy saw all the extra attention Bruce got after his parents died and was jealous - so he murdered his parents, too. Eventually, Tommy would come back into Bruce's life as an adult under the guise of the villain Hush, sending Batman on a gauntlet of foes meant to tear him down to the point that Tommy could actually take over his life, feeling that the Waynes had taken everything that was rightfully his and the Elliots'. It didn't work, but Tommy went so far as to actually have his face surgically changed to look like Bruce. Yeah, that's creepy.
On the show, Tommy has already shown up as one of Bruce's classmates. Far from friendly, he wants the gory details on the Waynes' deaths, and bullies him about it.
The Kanes and the Waynes are intrinsically linked, going back this two-hundred years or so, in both the show and the comics. In fact, Martha Wayne - Bruce's mother? Her maiden name was Kane, yes, those same Kanes, bringing two of Gotham's oldest families together at last.
Martha's not the only major Kane in the pages of DC Comics, though, as Katherine "Kate" Kane eventually joins the Bat-family as Batwoman; though not always directly affiliated with Batman, she takes some inspiration from him, using her military training to fight in a bit more brutal fashion.
The Crownes are probably the least well-known members of these founding five, even to comic book fans, but they're also extremely important. As revealed in the Court of Owls stories, the Crowne family, via Amelia, merged with the Cobb family. They were considered the "black" and "white" sides of Gotham, and from them emerged a Gray Son.
Yes, these are the ancestors of none other than Dick Grayson, who would be the first Robin before striking out on his own as Nightwing. That means these families are also very linked into the future/present day of Gotham. We've even seen the Flying Graysons (though no Dick yet) on the show.
The bigger part of the Crowne family in particular being introduced is the link to William Cobb. After being rejected by the Crownes for being born poor, Cobb wound up becoming one of the earliest Talons for the Court of Owls. Showrunner Bruno Heller told us that the Court of Owls was coming to Gotham at some point, and this is the first concrete way in for the mysterious group that has shaped Gotham's history since the beginning.
So while the Galavan siblings may not be our direct entrance to the Court of Owls coming to the show, the story that included the Crownes may very well be.
The Dumas (pronounced: Doo-mah) Family is a take on the comic books' "Order of St. Dumas." Edwige even says of the exiled Caleb Dumas:
"Caleb Dumas went into exile overseas. He went to a religious sect founded by their family’s patron saint."
Well, that religious sect is complicated on its own. A splinter cell of the Knights Templar, the titular "Saint Dumas" was no real saint. The Order itself eventually split into at least four separate groups of its own, each claiming to uphold the values and mission of their patron in their own ways.
The kicker here, though, is that these factions all shared in common the desire to train an ultimate warrior, assassin, and enforcer of their will. In some cases, he was merely called "Dumas," though the more famous version of this warrior is Azrael. In the pages of DC Comics, an Azrael took over as Batman when he was incapacitated by Bane. Another Azrael has also worked with Batman, and has even been seen in the Arkham series of video games.
This is who the Galavans actually are, part of the Order of St. Dumas and descendants, in this world, of the exiled founders of Gotham.
If you know Batman, you know the Wayne family, but did you know that their wealth and power goes back generations, to the beginnings of Gotham City? Now you do, and like any family, they have a past that hits high and low notes. While Gotham is only turning the clock back around 200 years to the early nineteenth century (1800s), the Waynes go back in the colonies as early as 1640, when one was a witch hunter. Waynes played key roles in most events in the founding and sustaining of the Americas since then, with heroes in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, supporters and organizers of the undergound railroad (it ran through caves underneath Wayne Manor, if those sound familiar), all leading up to Thomas Wayne and his philanthropic endeavors, and his son Bruce, who would eventually become Batman, protecting Gotham in a new manner.