- "I've been waiting a long time for this, Bruce. Together.... we will make Gotham pay!"
- —The Sensei
The Sensei was the leader of the mysterious Court of Owls, an organization which controls Gotham City. The Sensei was secretly a member of the ancient and powerful secret assassin organisation the League of Shadows. Sensei was Ra's al Ghuls' second-in-command of the League of Shadows.
Believing that the city has taken a wrong way, he and the Court intend to destroy it completely in order to reshape the new Gotham more to their liking. When Bruce Wayne starts investigating the Court, the Court has him kidnapped and brought to the Sensei's hidden mountain temple. There, the Sensei begins to train Bruce to become the protector of the new Gotham.
Because of his threat to destroy Gotham as well as being revealed as the leader of the Court, he is considered to be the main antagonist of the Season 3 Heroes Rise arc, and so the overall primary antagonist of the season.
At an earlier point in history, the Court of Owls orchestrated the hit on Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne. The Sensei confronted the unidentified Court of Owls member for killing the people that he respected. When the Court of Owls member stated that Thomas Wayne was going to expose their organization, the Sensei killed him. While The Sensei led the Court of Owls he was secretly in fact a member of the legendary assassin organization the League of Shadow. The Leagues leader Ra's Al Ghul used The Sensei's position in the Court of Owls to further his own goals.
Capturing Bruce Wayne
After Bruce Wayne started investigate The Court of Owls, the Court kidnaps Bruce, replaces him with the clone from Indian Hill, and delivers the real Bruce to the Shaman's mountain headquarter called "The Temple". Eventually, Bruce regains consciousness. When meeting the Shaman, Bruce claims that he will manage to get back to Gotham City. The Shaman replies that Bruce definitely will but that the Court's plan will have already succeeded when he does. During his attempts to flee, Bruce finds him in the same corridor again and again. Eventually, he walks past his cell and finds the Shaman awaiting him inside. Bruce is surprised and asks the Shaman whether the corridors are all shaped the same. Bruce and the Shaman sit down and the Shaman produces a set of acupuncture needles which have a weirdly shaped pin on their end. When Bruce asks what the needles will be used for, the Shaman holds it near Bruce's forehead. Bruce suddenly starts hallucinating and is transported back in time into the alley his parents were murdered. After emerging once again, a horrified Bruce asks the Shaman why he would transport Bruce back to this horrible day. The Shaman replies that Bruce has never left this alley and has lived there ever since. When the Shaman turns up for another session, Bruce tries to ambush him but is swiftly overpowered. Although he apologizes and begs for mercy, the Shaman draws another needle and transports Bruce back into his mind to the alley his parents were killed. There, Bruce attempts to attack the Shaman but the old man easily fends of all of Bruce's attacks and eventually hits him into the chest - throwing Bruce back several feet. The Shaman claims that there is still so much more that he has to teach Bruce and that he will shape Bruce into what he needs to be to be Gotham's protector.
Training Bruce Wayne
- "All this pain and anger! You think it's strength... it's not! You think you can harness it... you can't! You think it's part of you, but is doesn't have to be... "
- —The Shaman while Bruce fights his disciple
The Shaman also has one of his disciples training Bruce how to swordfight. Bruce is appalled and eventually refuses to cooperate. The Shaman seems annoyed but tells Bruce to pick up his stick again. He promises Bruce that the Shaman will let him go when Bruce manages to defeat his opponent in battle. Bruce gets back up and fights the man but is easily defeated.
In order to further shape Bruce, the Shaman brings Bruce back into another memory - the wake of his parents. Bruce reveals to the Shaman that Bruce left during the wake because he was angry that everyone was only concerned about him when his parents had been murdered. Bruce states that he kept his father's cufflinks from that day, claiming that he could not let them go. By convincing Bruce to now let go, the Shaman helps Bruce who is now no longer controled by the pain of that memory. Due to the immensity of the situation, Bruce passes out and the Shaman tells the unconscious Bruce that together, they will make Gotham pay. The next day, Bruce fights the Shaman's disciple again and wins the fight. The Shaman asks what Bruce felt during the fight and is pleased when Bruce states he felt nothing. Bruce then asks whether he can go home and the Shaman states that he could if he wished to. However, he also states that if Bruce stays, the Shaman will take the pain of his past from Bruce completely and that Bruce will return to Gotham with a power yet unknown to him. After considering for a moment, Bruce agrees to stay. The Shaman later calls Kathryn Monroe, his right hand in Gotham, and informs her about the progress he has been making with Bruce. He reveals to Kathryn that he and Bruce will leave their location that very night and that they will be returning to Gotham.
Return to Gotham
- "You see, Bruce, the pain of our memories can scar us but it also defines us; take away that pain and your mind becomes clay for me to mold. I told you the truth, we will destroy the Court of Owls and in so doing you will become the perfect weapon, for you will do whatever I say - won't you?"
- —The Shaman reveals that he indoctrinated Bruce
The Shaman and Bruce arrive in Gotham at night, taking residence in a mansion outside of the city. There, the two continue their sessions and the Shaman states that there is a final memory. Bruce realizes that the Shaman is planning to take the memory of the death of Bruce's parents from him. The Shaman urges him to do what's necessary in order to banish the memories, but Bruce is unable to do so. When Bruce tearfully tells the Shaman that he wants to, but cannot do it, the Shaman decides that it is time to tell Bruce "the truth". To do so, the Shaman uses another needle which, this time, transports both him and Bruce into the Shaman's memory. The Shaman shows Bruce how he killed the Court member who ordered the death of his family. The Shaman then states that the Court's days are over and that they have to finally pay for their crimes. Fueled by this revelation, Bruce manages to seal his mind off the pain of his parents' deaths, much to the delight of the Shaman. After they return to the real world, the Shaman asks Bruce how he feels now about the death of his parents and Bruce reveals that he feels nothing. Back at the mansion, the two are disrupted by a Talon of the Court. The Shaman reveals to Bruce that the Talon's are loyal servants of the Court and that they have been trained almost since birth. He tells the Talon to cut off his finger which the man does without reluctance. The Shaman then reveals that by sealing Bruce's memories, he managed to indoctrinate Bruce in a way similar to the Talons and when he asks whether Bruce will do his bidding from now on, Bruce tells him that he will.
With Bruce, the Shaman arrives at the main headquarter of the Court of Owls where its council is in session. While Bruce remains in the shadows, the Shaman asserts his rightful place as the Court's leader and addresses his fellow councilmen. He claims that three years ago, a great wrong was dealt by the Court's hands in the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. One of the Court members accuses the Sensei of having left Gotham for years despite being the organization's leader and states that choices had to be made. After listening to the man's arguments, the Sensei asks Bruce to come forward. Reminding him that it were his parents who were killed, the Sensei tells Bruce to pass the judgement. However, he also urges Bruce to have the Court executed and when Bruce does not react, the Sensei claps in his hands which causes a group of Talons to emerge from the shadows and slaughter the leaders. After the deed is done, the Sensei coldly turns to Bruce and mentions to Bruce that he hesitated. Bruce promises that he won't next time and the Sensei tells him that he knows Bruce won't. Later, the Sensei visits Bruce and asks him what he is thinking about. Bruce reveals to him that he though about his plans to avenge his parents and that now that it is done, he feels failure for not having been the one to give the order. The Sensei reveals that Bruce will have another chance to prove himself worthy. The same moment, a door opens and two Talons and Professor Strange enter the room. Strange is fascinated that Bruce is completely docile to the Sensei's demands and claims that he would like to study the Sensei's techniques. The Sensei states that one day, Strange will and then orders him to show them the bomb. As Strange does, the Sensei hands Bruce the detonator to the bomb. He reveals that the bomb will affect thousands of people in Gotham and that from the cities' ashes, Bruce will be reborn as a dark hero. He tells Bruce that it will be his task to press the detonator and Bruce promises that he will do so when the time has come for Gotham to fall. While they prepare to leave, they are suddenly ambushed by Alfred Pennyworth and Harvey Bullock, who have learned the location of the mansion from the Whisperer gang. Alfred confronts Bruce and the Sensei and orders the Shaman to step away from Bruce. However, the Sensei calmly tells Alfred to better drop the gun and Bruce steps in front of the Sensei, shielding him from Alfred's gun with his own body. Bruce reveals that the Sensei showed him his true destiny, to destroy Gotham with his own hands. The Sensei and Bruce then walk off while a Talon attacks Alfred.
Tearing down Gotham
While the GCPD desperately tries to locate Bruce and the bomb, the Shaman and Bruce look over the city from Wayne Enterprises. The Sensei mentions that Bruce seems off and asks whether it was the meeting with Alfred that threw him off rails. Bruce replies that it is nothing and that he wants to be ready to fulfill his destiny. The Sensei reveals that Bruce will, and adds that after Gotham has fallen, the Sensei will bring Bruce to the man whose vision singled Bruce out to be the hero of Gotham. As the time for the detonation draws closer, the Sensei and his protegee look over the skyline of the city they are about to destroy. When the moment has come, the Sensei tells Bruce to press the trigger to detonate the bomb. Before he can do so, Alfred storms into the room, having obtained Bruce's location from Strange. He begs Bruce not to press the button while the Sensei urges Bruce to do exactly that. Once more, Bruce steps in front of the Sensei to shield him. Realizing that Bruce is about to give in to Alfred, the Sensei jumps forward, grabs Bruce's hand and presses the detonator himself. While he does so, he is mortally shot by Alfred multiple times. He slumps to the ground and Bruce rushes to his side. As he dies, the Sensei tells Bruce to find the Demon's Head at the Yuyan Building in order to fully understand his destiny. Although he dies of his wounds moments later, the bomb still goes off and the Sensei has thus achieved his goals.
- Indomitable Willpower: Despite the Sensei being mortally wounded, he did not give in to his wounds until he told Bruce Wayne about his Destiny and where to meet the Demon's Head.
- High Intelligence: The Sensei is exceptionally intelligent, especially when it comes to strategic and other ancient techniques.
- Leadership: He led the Court of Owls and held an intimidating authority over its members.
- Mentorship: He was able to teach Bruce Wayne how to fight without his emotions and with absolute focus, allowing him a fat greater chance at success during combat with skilled warriors.
- Brainwashing: Using ancient meditative techniques, he was able to brainwash many warriors into Talons, who are fiercely loyal to his commands. He was even able to use this on Bruce Wayne in order to manipulate him properly, though the latter actually broke free of his brainwashing later on, immensely impressing the Demon's Head.
- Memory Syncing: Using ancient meditative techniques, he was able to show Bruce his own memories, so as to show him who is truly responsible for the murder of his parents.
- Intimidation: Even the Court of Owls feared the Sensei. The Sensei used this to his advantage to interrogate and easily acquire information about why the Court of Owls killed Bruce Wayne's parents.
- Hand-to-hand Combat: Due to his advanced old age, he had not shown any combat abilities, but his method teaching Bruce Wayne combat techniques indicate that he was a highly skilled combatant during his youthful years.
- Vast Resources: Sensei, being an elite member of the League of Shadows, as well as the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls, had access to both the organization's resources, finances, influence, manpower , intelligence and political power.
- The Talons: Despite the Talons being the warriors for the Court of Owls, it is revealed that since Sensei was the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls, he was the one one who they truly obeyed and thus would kill the other elite members of the Court of Owls on his command, which they did without hesitation.
- "Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions"
- "Heroes Rise: Light The Wick"
- "Heroes Rise: All Will Be Judged"
- "Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine"
- "Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling" (voice)
- "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul" (voice)
- In the DC comics, an unnamed Native American Shaman, appearing in a Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight#1-5 was Bruce Wayne's last mentor before returning to Gotham and taking a mantle of the Batman. While in the comics, he was not affiliated with anyone of the Batman villains (and Court of Owls was created much later in 2011). On the show, he still fulfills the same function as in the comics, teaching Bruce the ways to forge his psychological trauma into his strength and some traditional medicine practices.
- His association with the Court of Owls's plan to destroy Gotham City because he believes it to be corrupt is similar to Ra's al Ghul's plan in Batman Begins. Both also serve as a mentor figure to Bruce Wayne and influence him on his way of becoming Batman. He was later confirmed to be working on Ra's behalf.
- In "Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine," Hugo Strange called the Shaman a "sensei." There was a Sensei in DC Comics who is a member of the League of Assassins and Ra's al Ghul's father.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Woodruff, Ken (writer) & Behring, John (director) (May, 22, 2017) "Heroes Rise: All Will Be Judged" Gotham. Season 3. Episode 19. FOX.
- ↑ Hull, Robert (writer) & McKenzie, Ben (director) (May 1, 2017) "Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 16. FOX.
- ↑ Chun, Tze (writer) & Tonderai, Mark (director) (May 15, 2017) "Heroes Rise: Light The Wick". Gotham. Season 3. Episode 18. FOX.
- ↑ Lilien, Steven & Wynbrandt, Bryan (writer) & Cannon, Danny (director) (May 29, 2017) "Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine" Gotham. Season 3. Episode 20. FOX.