Spoilers for Tonight's Episode of Gotham: Time Bomb!
Tonight's episode of Gotham had dire consequences for one character on the surface, while things started to tick tick tick like a time bomb for basically everyone else. While Barbara begins plotting how she'll pit Nygma and Penguin into a war against one other and Tabitha deals with, you know, having her hand cut off, both the Falcone family and Bruce Wayne (and his scrappy pals) ran afowl (pun intended) of the Court of Owls - who finally got addressed by name.
Now that Bruce Wayne knows who the Court of Owls are, and their talons sink deeper (pun intended again) into Gotham City, casual viewers may be wondering - just who are these strange, masked individuals? ComicBook.com first revealed the Court was coming to Gotham over a year ago, so seeing that truly come to fruition tonight was a treat.
"The Court of Owls is deep, deep, deep Gotham mythology. The comic book fans know about it, but I would suspect the larger audience is not so familiar. We sometimes have to make a distinction between the ‘Nolan-era Batman movie fans’ and the comic book fans. It’s not that they’re two separate audiences, just that there are two levels of engagement. Court of Owls is very much deep DC mythology," showrunner Bruno Heller said at the time. "The Court of Owls is a brilliant conceit that will absolutely be part of our storytelling."
The Court of Owls debuted in the “New 52” era of DC Comics that saw every issue relaunched in a new, modern version of their universe. In the Batman comic book by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, they revealed that Gotham City has had a secret society behind it for generations known as the Court of Owls. Populated by some of Gotham’s oldest families (Including the Kanes, at one time the Waynes, and linking to the ancestors of the Graysons - yes, as in Batwoman, Batman, and Robin/Nightwing), the Court uses their assassins known as Talons (think slightly less-trained and more-psychotic versions of Batman) to alter the course of the city’s history.
One of those Talons has been seen on a few episodes this season, including tonight, in the form of the swiftly-moving assassin with the domino mask on. The lithe individual is a deadly combatant, who has easily taken down multiple characters on the show, and he's just one of them. The Court of Owls is powerful enough to make crime families and politicians alike fall in line, and have their claws (just can't stop punning) in basically every level of Gotham City infrastructure, so they're an insanely influential organization and difficult opponent.
How will young Bruce Wayne survive a clash with the Court? He's not likely to do away with them for good at this point, afterall. There's also the issue of his doppelganger, who the Court now have control of (and likely had a hand in creating/cultivating), and is sure to come back into the picture sooner or later. We'll have to keep watching Gotham Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX to find out for sure.
Want to learn more about the Court of Owls? Read Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's first trade collection on comiXology.