“Hog Day Afternoon” was a bit of a letdown one week after the drama of “The Blade’s Path.” We did learn a few things that help move the season’s story along, but the episode felt incomplete. Technically it was; the story is to be continued next week. But the mystery to be solved just didn’t have the feel of a huge cliffhanger, and the things that were intended to be surprises didn’t feel like surprises at all.
An Unlikely Partnership
Perhaps this episode didn’t feel surprising because of the surprise we got last week, with Lee Tompkins returning to Gotham as the doctor for Cherry’s Place, a seedy fight club in The Narrows. As far as anyone knew, Lee had left town. But here she is, with a new look and attitude.
One thing that hasn’t changed: She despises Ed Nygma. And who can blame her? As she reminds him, he killed her friend and got her ex-fiancé thrown in prison. Not exactly someone you want to keep on your social calendar.
But necessity makes for strange bedfellows, and the money Ed is making through Grundy’s victories in the ring can help Lee with the clinic she’s running in The Narrows when she’s not at Cherry’s. So she agrees to help him with his little problem of brain damage.
I confess that I really disliked Lee last season, even before she was infected with the Tetch virus. So while I was surprised by her literal last-minute appearance last week, I wasn’t super-excited about having her back in the show. But after seeing her running her free clinic, trying to help the people who were most severely affected by the virus, I felt a little more kindly disposed to her.
And I have to admit, I liked her attitude, both toward Ed and toward the knuckleheads in the ring. I am interested in seeing how she might be able to “fix” Ed.
A Penguin In The Hand
Penguin and Sophia Falcone have continued their public appearances, but Penguin still doesn’t quite trust her. When she breaks a lunch date, he goes off the deep end, ordering his sidekick Victor to follow her and see what she’s up to. When Victor finds she’s been meeting with politicians and has bought an old hotel property, Penguin comes to the conclusion that she’s preparing for war against him. He’s more than a little embarrassed when he learns she’s converted the hotel not into a fortress, but into an orphanage.
We know Sophia is manipulating Penguin. But the question is whether she’s also manipulating Jim Gordon. She tells him she will have Penguin in the palm of her hand soon, but that’s not enough. Jim wants to know her game, or he says he’ll send her home.
As if he has any power to actually pull that off. Sophia is the master of her own destiny so far, pulling Penguin’s strings and possibly pulling Jim’s as well.
Meet Professor Pyg
I’ve saved the main storyline for last. Somebody is killing Gotham’s cops and covering their heads with those of slaughtered pigs. The Gotham media adopts the name “Professor Pyg” for him. What they haven’t picked up on, though, is that his victims are all on the Penguin’s payroll.
The dead cops have all taken payments from Penguin for looking the other way with his crime licenses. Jim Gordon himself has railed against it all, and Pyg knows it, considering Jim a hero.
Pyg has quite a different impression of Bullock, accusing him – rightly – of also being on Penguin’s payroll and then slashing his throat before making his getaway. It’s not a fatal slash, though, and before the end of the episode Jim gets to rail at Harvey for taking Penguin’s money.
As relieved as I was to see that Harvey did not die – I love that character as much because of his flaws as in spite of them – leaving his situation unresolved would have whetted my appetite for next week a bit more. We’re instead left wondering who Professor Pyg is, and I’m not really sure I care who he is as much as I care about what he’s doing.
We never see Pyg’s face; he’s wearing a pig’s head himself throughout the episode. Jim and Bullock theorize he’s someone who can access police schedules, possibly a cop himself. There may be a big surprising reveal next week, but I don’t feel like it’s been built up to make me all that interested in the identity of Professor Pyg. I’m more interested in seeing the return of the Riddler.
- No Bruce or Alfred in this episode, but they’re back next week… and it looks like we’ll get to see the beginning of “billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.”
- Also MIA: Selina, Ivy (did those herbs kill her?), Barbara and Tabitha.
- Very nice to see Victor back with Penguin, even if he didn’t get a lot to do this time. If I can get more Victor scenes like the ones at the beginning of the season, I will be very happy.
Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7 Central on FOX.
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