A Look at Gotham- Season 4, Episode 6: “A Dark Knight: Hog Day Afternoon”

Professor Pyg has a problem with pigs.  Pigs in the GCPD, mind you.  This is “Hog Day Afternoon.”

The episode begins with a match taking place at the fight club.  Thompkins, after helping the loser, asks Nygma why he’s here, given that she’s still upset for what he did to Kringle and Gordon.  Before she can slug Nygma, Grundy stops her.  Nygma tells Leslie that Grundy doesn’t remember anything about his past, but Ed is trying to get back to who he was.

Of course, Leslie doesn’t care, but Nygma wants to win some money by using Grundy, though he figures that Leslie can help him.  He knows that Leslie is here for some reason and offers to help her in exchange for her help.  Leslie, though, shoots him down.

Thanks to their public appearances, Sofia assures Penguin that Gotham City knows that the Falcone family now supports Penguin.  Sofia wants to know where she stands, but Penguin admits that this isn’t easy for to trust people or have a real friend.  Sofia takes Oswald’s hand and assures him that he can trust her.  She then plans for the two to have lunch tomorrow.

As Oswald exits, Jim enters from another room to again ask about Sofia’s end game since she’s just making Oswald stronger.  Sofia refuses, but assures Jim that she’ll have Oswald in the palm of her hand in a few days.  If she fails, then whether she leaves or stays will be up to Jim.

On the streets of a rainy Gotham City, two cops make an exchange.  One of the officers, Dave Metzger, played by Warren Bub, investigates an alley when he hears a noise. He enters a building and finds a cat, but doesn’t notice until too late the knife wielding man behind him wearing a pig mask…

GCPD is on the scene next day.  Harvey informs Jim that the killer took the Metzger’s badge, though Harvey can still identify him once the pig head is removed from Metzger’s head.  According to Harvey, Metzger was one Penguin’s bag man who would deliver payoffs to cops on the force.  Jim then heads off to ask Penguin why someone would kill one of his employees.

He then arrives at the Iceberg Lounge and informs Penguin of the murder, but Oswald doesn’t recognize the name.  Jim figures that someone is trying to send Oswald a message, given that the killer placed a severed pig’s head on Metzger’s head.  If someone had a problem with Oswald, he would deal with it himself.

He stays alive by remaining one step ahead.  Penn comes out to tell Jim that a Wally Clark applied for a burglary permit at the Pork Barrel- a butcher shop.  With that, Jim leaves.  As Jim leaves, Oswald wishes him the best, all while reminding him that this help came courtesy of the licensing system that he hates so much.

Meanwhile, in a dark room, the masked killer is hard at work…

Jim and Harvey bring in Wally Clarke, played by Will Janowitz, who denies killing Metzger, but it doesn’t help that a beheaded pig was found in a dumpster behind Clarke’s home.

Harvey wants to charge Clarke for the murder, but Wally confesses that this murder must’ve been done by the Professor, who he only spoke to over the phone.  This Professor wanted Wally to deliver four heads.  Harvey and Jim then decide to talk to Penguin’s other bag men.

As Oswald waits for Sofia to arrive, Zsasz informs him that Sofia called and that she won’t be able to attend.  Penguin tasks Zsasz to follow Sofia to see who she may be with, given that the lunch was her idea and now she can’t show.

Back at the fight club, Cherry introduces Grundy to the crowd for his first fight.  Grundy’s opponent strikes him over and over with the heavy weight, but he’s not hurt.  At Nygma’s insistence, he gets back up and knocks out his opponent with one punch, man. He then smashes the weight on his opponent’s head.  Cherry tells Leslie that they may have a new cash cow on their hands.

Jim and Harvey talk to various officers about stopping other cops from getting killed, but none of them will snitch on other cops.  They manage to lock one, Culpepper, played by Phil E. Eichinger, into the trunk of their car and ‘decide’ to go off for lunch, but the cop soon confesses that Chris Whitlock makes delivers for the west side.  And he’s supposed to be in court all day.

The two arrive at their next location, but upon hearing screams, find two more dead cops with pig heads over their faces.  And, of course, nobody saw anything or would be willing to admit it.  Whitlock never showed for court, and Butler hadn’t been seen since she clocked out, so the two must’ve been abducted.  The message must be to kill cops that are loyal to Penguin.  Harvey is still working on getting an ID.

Jim decides to talk with a nearby saxophone player and asks if he saw anything out of the ordinary.  The blindness angle doesn’t work for long, so the guy admits that he saw an old van parked for most of the morning.  After the man returned from his break, the van was gone.

Leslie stitches up Grundy and tries to ask about his past, not to mention his hand growing back and not having a heartbeat.  Despite all of that, he’s doing fine.  Leslie tells Grundy that Nygma is just using him for money and that once Nygma is done with Grundy, he’ll kill him, but Grundy insists that he’s best friends with Nygma.  Ed agrees as he enters the room and boasts that he’s Cherry’s biggest benefactor right now.

But if Leslie could fix Nygma’s brain, he and Grundy will vanish.  Nygma even offers to pay, but Leslie is just here to fix Grundy.  She tells Cherry that she has to step out for awhile, but Cherry reminds her to return, per their deal.

Leslie heads elsewhere and it turns out that she’s got a long line of waiting patients.  Nygma stalks her and finds what she’s doing.

Zsasz, meanwhile, gest to work stalking and taking photographs of Sofia.

Jim hands Harvey files of cops who haven’t called in-that they can take to Penguin, but Harvey believes one of the officers, Nakajima, is the bag man.  Harvey also has a theory: this killer could be someone that’s fed up with police corruption.  They have to consider the possibility that this is being done by one of their own.  Then Harper enters to update the two with a lead, but Harvey informs her to keep quiet for now.

Speaking of Nakajima, he’s already been abducted by Professor Pyg.

Time for Grundy’s next fight.  His newest opponent gets a chain around Grundy’s neck, but Grundy manages to pull his opponent towards him and bash him over and over with his mace.  Will Cherry just give Grundy a weapon for himself already?

Zsasz informs Penguin that Sofia broke her not-date to dine with the mayor.  After they parted ways, she went to a villa.  A secret buyer purchased space there and Sofia met with the zoning commissioner to discuss a wall.  Penguin is livid that Sofia has been playing him this entire time.  He instructs Zsasz to get the shovel for a talk.

Nygma again insists that Leslie help him, but she still refuses.  He tells her that he’s aware of her clinic, which he guesses that she can keep so long as she also helps Cherry with the fighters in the ring.  Nygma doesn’t have a threat to force Leslie to help him, though.

That evening, Jim and Harvey investigate a facility where they find Nakajima with a pig mask over his head.  As Jim pulls the mask of, a pin comes out of the Nakajima’s mouth as well.  Harvey and Jim get as far away as they can just before the grenade in the Nakajima’s body goes off.

Jim awakens and finds himself bound to a chair when Professor Pyg introduces himself as a big fan of the detective.  He tells Jim that Harvey is still alive, but he’s not, as Jim suspects, a cop.  Pyg tells Jim that the two have something in common: they both see the corruption inside the GCPD and know that the city can’t survive unless the cancer is eliminated.  However, Pyg does his part with more flair.

But this doesn’t stop until Pyg kills every cop on Penguin’s payroll.  Jim tells Pyg that he’s doing this for his own reasons, but Pyg maintains that his reasons are real, given that he’s suffered profound loss due to the greedy pigs in power.  Jim wants to help make it right, but then Harvey yells out from elsewhere in the facility, so Pig heads off.  When Pgy leaves, Jim edges backwards towards the ledge.

As Pyg interrogates Harvey, Jim crashes at the bottom, loosening his restraints in the process.  And he’s apparently unharmed.  Pyg flees, but not before cutting Harvey’s throat.

Penguin makes a surprise visit to Sofia, who apologizes for yesterday’s cancellation.  But Oswald questions where Sofia is headed now, though she of course can’t tell him.  Oswald yells that he knows of what Sofia is doing with the supposed fortress, so now he wants to see what she’s building.

As Leslie works with a patient in her clinic, she finds that she’s lacking certain antibiotics.

She then tells Nygma to hand over his money.  She can’t promise anything, but she’ll see what she can do.  She finally explains why she’s at this club.  She left and didn’t want to be anywhere near Gotham, but couldn’t stay away.

The Tetch virus hit the Narrows more than anywhere else, and she blames herself for that, given that she didn’t allow Jim to stop it.  She doesn’t have a choice.  Oh, and she gives Nygma the idea to use Grundy to his advantage and threaten to take him away from Cherry.  Her work on Nygma will start tomorrow.  As Leslie leaves, Nygma is happy that he’ll be smart again.

And so the cat is indeed out of the bag: Sofia has built not a fortress, but an orphanage and wanted to surprise Oswald when everything was finished.  She knows that Oswald sees everyone as a threat, just as Carmine did, but she forgives him for his suspicion.  However, the two still must have lunch.

Harvey awakens and Jim informs him that Pyg cut him deep enough to make Jim choose whether to go after Pyg or save Harvey.  It wasn’t a choice in Jim’s mind, so he wants to know the truth: how long as Harvey been taking money from Penguin?  It all adds up, given that Harvey knew Metzger was the bag man and that Nakajima was corrupt.  Plus Pyg said that Harvey deserved to be killed.

Jim didn’t want to see it before, but Harvey admits that this started with the license program.  The commissioner ordered cops to comply, then Metzger would arrive with envelopes of money.  Harvey owes a lot of debts, but Jim tells his friend that this stops now.

At a farm, Professor Pyg feeds his pigs in their sty.  The pigs soon sleep, for tomorrow, the axe shall fall.

It’s interesting that, of the many villains that Gotham has plucked from Batman’s rogues gallery, the show would wind up picking Professor Pyg as an antagonist for the show. Like Flamingo back in Season Two, Pyg is a pretty recent addition to the Batman mythos, just a little over 10 years old.  I’ll admit that I know very little of Pyg, but I’m familiar with some of this methods.

There are no Dollotrons here- just a guy with a vendetta against the GCPD.  That seems to be the running thing this season as far as the storyline involving the police is concerned.  And with Penguin’s ongoing licensing system, the cops are more irrelevant than ever.  So while Pyg’s motivation and fight against the corrupt pigs in the GCPD pigsty, he does make for a very creepy first impression.

It helps that we never see Pyg’s face.  He has a very formal way of speaking and with him always wearing that mask, he does come off as mysterious and a bit intimidating at times.  It felt like watching a Saw film at times, with the victims sometimes used as traps for the incoming officers.  Perhaps as we learn more about Pyg, we may get something closer to his comic roots than just another character who hates Gotham’s cops.

That being said, this gave us one of the best-acted scenes on Gotham in a very long time.  The hospital scene was nothing short of great, made all the better due to the chemistry between Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie that’s been developed for four seasons now.  We know that Bullock has done some slimy things in the past and while he’s still got a mean streak to him, he has made a change.

So to learn that he’s been taking money from Penguin is a huge blow.  I won’t say this makes him irredeemable.  There’s room for him to turn around.  To see him bare his soul to Jim, right after getting his throat cut, was a very emotional moment.  I hope this doesn’t put Harvey back on the path to being an outright corrupt cop because I like the change he’s made.

This episode benefited greatly by having the main storyline focus on Jim and Harvey investigating Pyg.  Aside from Penguin and Nygma’s subplots, there’s nothing to do with Bruce, Selina, Barbara, or other characters.  To me, that’s how it should be.  Furthermore, it’s been so long since we just had a Gordon/Bullock team-up episode. More often than not, Jim’s been going at it alone with Bullock playing catch-up.

It was just a good old-fashioned detective work and I always enjoy seeing these two work together, so it was refreshing to have the bulk of the episode focus on them, as well as reveal more about how many cops have been taking money from Penguin since the institution of the licensing program.  Maybe the GCPD really isn’t necessary anymore.

For Sofia to play the long term game could be why Penguin’s so blind and not realizing that he’s being played.  It’s clever, I’ll admit, because this is the first time in awhile that Oswald has had someone he could trust.  But Oswald is a smart man.  Even with the reveal of the orphanage, he’s got to still look at Sofia and wonder if she’s trying to overthrow him.  He can’t be that naive.

So Leslie is staying in Gotham because of guilt?  Huh.  Interesting that the Narrows apparently got hit the hardest by the Tetch virus, but now she has a reason to stay. I do question where and how Leslie is getting her equipment, though.  She can’t have that much money because we see that she’s short of supplies.  Did she take them at some point when she returned to the city?

But this is a decent enough subplot to keep Nygma contained for now as he tries to get his brain back to normal.  Though the rehabilitation may take awhile if Nygma can’t even conjure up a single threat after figuring out what he could use to blackmail Leslie.

“Hog Day Afternoon” made good use of few storylines and gave us a very creepy introduction to Professor Pyg.  While his motivation is a familiar one, the episode was a fun return to form with the focus on Jim and Harvey, while also giving us one of the best scenes in a long time with Harvey’s confession.  Will he go back to bad or remain on the side of justice?  We’ll see.

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