Gotham: Hog Day Afternoon

I didn't have high hopes for this installment but as a Gordon-centric episode reintroducing the horrible Lee Thompkins goes, Gotham could have done much worse.

Much of this episode plays out like something set in season one. We have the "corrupt cops" storyline, we have a crazy villain-of-the-week out to dispense his own brand of "justice" and we have a "treachery" subplot involving Penguin. The differences? On the good side, all the subplots are filled with engaging characters. On the bad side, much of the plot developments make a lot less sense than they used to do, but that's what often happens when you keep flogging a dead horse.

Breaking it down into three subplots: Jim meets Pyg, Sofia keeps courting Oswald, and Eddie and Grundy meet Leslie.

Professor Pyg is a pretty new Batman rogue, but he's become a fan favorite and many people were excited about him making his debut on the show. He's certainly got "more flair" than, say, season one's Balloonman. Aesthetically Gotham gets him just right, and it seems they've found a very capable actor portraying him.

For me the problem doesn't lie in what I see on screen but rather what the creators advertised as a "horror movie" type of episode. I can't really see that – Gotham simply doesn't have the bones to do legitimate pulp movie scary the way a show like Supernatural used to do. The "suspense" moments rarely work, mostly because the direction feels too rushed. One other reason is a show like Supernatural actually kills fan favorites, while we haven't taken any major Gotham death seriously since Salvatore Maroni.

That said: As a vehicle for driving Jim further on the outs with the rest of the police core, Professor Pyg works perfectly. The only problem is that this storyline is old hat on Gotham, having been the running theme of much of the show, and one has to question if Jim's earned it, with him in bed with the daughter of Gotham's historically most-powerful mobster; the would-be Lady-of-Crime of Gotham. We can only hope that it'll evolve into new and more refreshing material.

Talking about Sofia, she keeps playing the long con on Ozzie. In this episode, she manipulates him into going after her to confront and kill her over her nefarious deeds, which turn out to be... starting an orphanage, which of course has him apologizing profusely. It does seem like he's falling for her games, which would be pretty bad – remember, he wanted Ed in his bar as a "constant reminder never to make the same mistake again." It's true, though; Sofia Falcone is simply ridiculously pretty and the actress has truly nailed that saccharine, Mary Poppinsesque charm, even if I suspect Ozzie's only really susceptible to the latter.

The third subplot with Lee, Eddie and Grundy is both the most fun and the most asinine. Essentially, Ed uses Grundy to make money on illegal fights and bribe Lee to cure him from his case of the stupid. As comic relief, this part works well, and the cast's interaction is golden, but no – the reason for Lee to return to Gotham, and to an underground fight club of all places, is completely nonsensical. But, hey, at least now Lee has her clinic. I guess it doesn't matter how she gets it. Also, she is a lot more tolerable as a character when she's out of Jim's orbit. I hope against hope she will stay that way.

One thing I'd like to touch on about the Riddler/Lee/Grundy interaction is Lee warning Grundy that Eddie doesn't care about him, and that when his brains are back he will dispatch of him. Now, I have to say, I really hope this doesn't happen, because it would simply be stupid, and (especially if he is cured) Eddie's not supposed to be stupid. Who in their right mind would "fire" a near-invincible undead henchman who is completely loyal to you?! Anyway:

Now, this is a whole lot of complaining from me, but taken as a whole, this is a pretty decent Gotham episode. It works well, it has some good dramatic and comedic elements and the acting is on point. Also, the decision to cut down on the number of players on any given episode of Gotham almost always does wonders for the pacing. I can only wish – as I have for two years – that we'll get an episode with Bruce, Selina, Alfred and Lucius given the same "prestige treatment." (Seriously, where the hell is Selina?!)

As you can see, this isn't much of a review. I spent the most part of the episode being distracted by Sofia's cute red hat.

5 comments:

Trey Pharr said...

I will legit scream if the show throws Jim and Lee back at us but not Bruce and Selina.

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I'm unsure of the "spoiler scope" of the comments section, but from what I've gathered, I think it unlikely that Bruce and Selina will even be on talking terms until the last episodes of the season and, perhaps, the series.

So I guess I'll go find my earplugs. :-s

Trey Pharr said...

The comments on Gotham's Facebook page when they announced Lee's return are pure gold.



Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I don't use Facebook, but I take it they love the development?

Trey Pharr said...

To say that the folks don't love it is an understatement.

Mind you, I have accounts on Gotham forums (reddit, and so on) and have seen similar comments, but publicly seeing it is something else.