Right from the trailers I knew I was going to enjoy Hog Day Afternoon and it didn’t disappoint.
I appreciated episode writer Kim Newton not cramming every subplot in this week. Bruce & Alfred and Selina, Barbara & Tabitha were shelved this week. That gave the three subplots enough time to properly play out.
A new psychopath was killing crooked cops on Penguin’s payroll. And as usual, only Gordon and Bullock seemed remotely interested in ending the latest crime spree.
Gotham has used a lot of Batman villains, but Professor Pyg might be one of the best. The comics almost have a way of sanitizing his look, but on screen, Pyg’s get-up is terrifying. Gotham’s make-up and costume department did an excellent job making him look like a horror movie villain. Pyg’s creator Grant Morrison would be proud.
The writers were feeling ironic this week with Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris) going after dirty cops. And fittingly, he tries to align with the one truly honest cop on the force — Jim Gordon. Pyg also had some amazing pig puns. How screwed up is the GCPD that the psychopath wearing a pig head for a mask is the only one interested in getting rid of the crooked cops on the force? Even Gordon seems mostly resigned to the fact the department can’t get cleaned up.
But before he escaped, Pyg went after one more target on his list — Harvey Bullock. Pyg didn’t slit his throat too deep forcing Gordon to end his pursuit to save Bullock. While Harvey recovered, Gordon had a rare chance to get on his moral high horse and chastise him for taking Penguin’s payoffs. It’s hard to blame Harvey considering everyone else, including the mayor, is fine with Penguin’s ridiculous crime licenses.
Penguin’s subplot with Sofia Falcone continues to be a pleasant surprise largely because it seems so unpredictable.
I wonder if viewers didn’t like Penguin’s infatuation with Ed from last season? Seems like that element to their war has been ignored, especially with his clear interest in Sofia. Gotham writers typically don’t make the characters nuanced enough to be able to adequately write Penguin as bisexual. If so, Gotham would have three bisexual characters with Penguin, Barbara and Tabitha.
Predictably, Penguin’s trust issues get the better of him yet again, but Sofia continues to keep proving him wrong. This is going to have to play out for a while. Penguin is too on guard for her eventual betrayal to be meaningful … unless she wants his help to get revenge on Gordon for killing her brother? Just a reminder, Zsasz remains my favorite supporting character.
The Riddler/Grundy fight club subplot was the least interesting save some fun quirky moments like Grundy fighting a guy made up to look like a human version of Doomsday. This was a fun winking Gotham nod without being so on the nose like normal.
Ed tries to blackmail Lee into helping him restore his intelligence, but with his faulty logic he can’t figure out an appropriate threat on her clinic. Not that I’m complaining, but as the club doctor, Lee doesn’t have to dress like she’s going to the club. Turns out Grundy’s paydays are enough incentive for Lee since she can use the money to help her patients. I like that Lee is being accountable for her role in the Tetch virus outbreak and seeking to atone for her actions.
Pyg was so effective this episode I kind of wish Hog Day Afternoon was a one-off appearance for him. The threat that these psychos could return at any moment is better than the happy ending of Gordon arresting them every time. Either way, this was another solid episode from Gotham with the debut of a new bizarre and dangerous villain and the delicate slow burn of the Sofia/Penguin subplot.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Fox