It may have taken three seasons of convoluted build up, but ardent "Batman" fans can finally rejoice, "Gotham" has officially begun a recognizable trajectory towards the classic "DC comic" on which the series is based. Over the last three frustrating years, we have watched as Gotham City's most notorious villains, such as "Penguin," "Riddler," and "Victor Zsaz" dominated much of the origin story airtime. While criminal dynasties have come and gone during the series' three-season tenure thus far, we saw little of Bruce truly becoming "Batman." Much of the time Bruce felt more like a sideline subplot rather than a slow burn at the core of the conflict.

It would seem, however, that this week’s season premiere, "Pax Penguina," is proof that Bruce's transformation to the Dark Knight has finally begun.

Gotham finally starts incorporating Batman hallmarks

Although "Batman's" signature gadgetry may still be ways off, we did get many moves longtime "Batman" fans will quickly recognize. After just a few minutes into the episode, we hear teenage "Bruce Wayne" (David Mazouz) try out his best throaty growl, "You have one chance, walk away." On a scale from Bale to Clooney, it honestly wasn't half bad, and if I were in a dark alley, Mazouz's take would strike much more fear than a Batfleck any night. We also saw Bruce broodingly surveying the city from tall buildings, the slowly rising from a jump out of the darkness move, and most important of all, the "he's here one minute and gone the next" game that became a "Batman" & Gordon mainstay.

For many, these elements are going to be very welcome additions to the series arc moving forward. It's also worth mention; however, Mazouz's Bruce is still very much a scrawny teenage boy. Until the "Gotham" showrunners find ways to inject some much-needed legitimacy to Mazouz as an ass-kicking crime fighter, for the foreseeable future, his on-screen persona will probably feel more like a kid playing pretend than a man taking up the mantle of Batman.

Gotham still more Saturday morning cartoon than crime drama

Gotham, after entering its fourth season, still feels like it has an identity crisis. Even for primetime cable, much of the dialogue remains flimsy at best. One minute the show assumes a traditional NCIS crime narrative, then seconds later a villain appears and makes a nonsensical joke involving eating the protagonist's pizza.

Oh, and plot holes? They come so often you can forget to attempt to keep track because there's no point. For whatever plot elements the powers-that-be behind "Gotham" are planning to guide the series towards a Dark Knight storyline, I wouldn't count on things becoming much than guilty pleasure television anytime soon.