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Gotham - Hog Day Afternoon - Review

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“Hog Day Afternoon” is a prized sow of a title, but a pig’s dinner of a “Gotham” episode. The A-story sets up a new arc that has potential, but the subplots are both slop.

Gordon and Bullock are called in to investigate when a police officer is found dead. Of course, because this is Gotham, it’s a macabre scene, with a mask made out of a severed pig’s head covering the corpse’s face. Bullock has heard rumors that the cop in question was a bagman for the Penguin, doling out payments to the officers on his payroll. Gordon’s fuming about the Penguin’s reach in the department doesn’t stop him from storming into the Iceberg Lounge to ask for Oswald’s help. Penguin points him to a licensee who was planning to burgle a butcher shop, but it turns out he was only doing grunt work for a man he calls “the Professor.”

At first, I wasn’t too impressed with the show’s take on Professor Pyg (who is portrayed by “Fringe” star Michael Cerveris). It was basic “Seven” stuff with more oinking. But once he captured Gordon and started monologuing with a flourish about his motivations, I became more interested. It’s clear that this guy has a deep, personal grudge against the GCPD – and other Gotham power players – and I’m curious to see that backstory unravel in the weeks to come. And while it’s quite different from the comics, I liked the tying of his porcine iconography to his disgust with the “pigs” at the GCPD.

Anyway, Pyg sees a kindred spirit in Gordon, someone else who wants to put an end to corruption in the city. He’s all set to butcher Bullock, though, but Gordon – in a nice moment – risks life and limb to rescue his buddy, which gives Pyg time to escape. My positive feelings towards Gordon are quickly extinguished, though, when later, at Bullock’s hospital bedside, he angrily accuses him of taking money from Penguin, which Harvey tearfully cops to. His outrage at this just feels so oversized given, as I keep having to point out, Gordon has aligned himself time and time again with Penguin, and is currently literally and figuratively in bed with another mobster. Shut. Up. Jim.

Speaking of said mobsters, Penguin and Sofia have been spending more time together socially and it’s clear that Oswald is starting to crush on her. But when she blows off lunch (and there’s a bunch of “comedy” where Oswald angrily insists to Zsasz that it wasn’t a date), he gets paranoid that she’s plotting against him. And it certainly looks that way when Zsasz discovers that she purchased a property stronghold and schmoozed with the mayor. But oops, it turns out that she’s opening an orphanage! I find this whole subplot very boring. There’s not much chemistry between these two performers, Sofia’s innocent lamb act is growing tedious, and I find it hard to believe Penguin would fall for it given his last downfall happened because he let his heart overrule his head. And also, except for Sofia’s literal presence, nothing this season has really felt too “The Long Halloween”-y.

In the other side story is the random threesome of the Riddler, Solomon Grundy, and Leslie Thompkins at Cherry’s underground fight club (Cherry, by the way, is played by Marina Benedict, who I recognized from the “Prison Break” revival). Ed thinks Leslie’s presence at the club is a sign, that she can help him regain his smarts. But she is quick to remind him that she hates his guts for, you know, killing her friend and putting her baby daddy in prison. I do like that Leslie is there because she feels remorse for her role in unleashing the Tetch virus and has leveraged her services at the club for resources to run a free clinic, which harkens back to what the character is best known for in the comics. But otherwise, it really feels like the writers ran out of story for these three and that’s why they’ve been stuck together, why Leslie and Ed end up striking a deal after all.

Now that I’ve squealed about “Hog Day Afternoon,” come share your thoughts on this week’s “Gotham” in the comments section.

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