A Look at Gotham- Season 4, Episode 9: “A Dark Knight: Let Them Eat Pie”

Never will I hear ‘Chop chop’ in the same light again.

The episode begins with Pyg delivering donuts to Gotham’s homeless.  He later takes photos of the people as they eat and makes a note of their names, telling them that there are two Gothams: the haves and have-nots.  Pyg knows what it means to feel like a have-not, so he says enough.  He raises his glass and toasts to being a have-not as all of the homeless there pass out.

Pyg later returns to his lair, puts on a pig mask, and readies a blade as he prepares to work on a victim.

Over at the precinct, Captain Jim Gordon finds Harvey clearing his things.  He wishes things would’ve been different, but here we are.  Harvey reflects on their first case and how he wanted Jim to kill Penguin, but Jim wouldn’t because he thought it was wrong.  Maybe if he did, Falcone would run things and people who were dead would be alive.  But Jim would do the same thing.

Harvey tells Jim that Gotham doesn’t need heroes, but people who will do what’s necessary, but Jim disagrees.  Show them the way and the people will follow.  Jim tells Harvey that when his leave is up, there’ll still be a desk waiting for him.  But Harvey isn’t on board.

Sofia arranges a centerpiece just as Owald arrives so the two can talk tonight’s fundraiser to support the orphanage.  However, there’s a new situation:Mayor Burke has promoted Jim Gordon to Captain.  Sofia isn’t worried, but the issue is who made the appointment.  Sofia figures someone paid off the mayor, but it turns out that the mayor has vanished, so Oswald will find him and learn the name of his enemy.

And that’s why he can’t make the dinner this evening.  Fair enough.  However, the children, Martin included, are doing a song.  Even still, Oswald can’t join.  Mr. Penn tells Oswald that they can get Zsasz, but Oswald needs proof from the mayor.  Not to mention that Sofia is his only friend.  Oswald realizes he could be chasing a ghost, but what he needs is a spy.  And that’s when Oswald tells Penn to summon Martin.

As Oswald leaves, Sofia calls Gordon to tell him that Penguin suspects her, but since she has her bases covered, Jim doesn’t want her calling again.  Harper alerts Jim that he’s got a private call…and it’s from Pyg, who congratulates Jim on his promotion.  He tells Jim that it’s time for Gotham’s elite to feel the pain.  Enter Phase Two.  Pyg won’t spoil the reveal, as he’s outside for a taste of what’s to come.

Jim and Harper then head outside and enter a circus tent, where they find two murdered citizens in a closed-off pen with pigs that begin feeding on the bodies.  Jim orders Harper to get Forensics on the scene.

Over at Wayne Manor, Bruce finally returns and finds no breakfast, as Alfred already ate it and it’s lunch time anyway.  Looks like Bruce has been spending a lot of nights out, and Alfred gets what Bruce is going through- he’s lost.  He’s seen young men going off to war and returning home, but unable to assimilate.  Bruce isn’t up for Alfred’s pep talk, but Alfred reminds him of his mission to avenge his parents.

He seizes Bruce’s phone, but Bruce’s memory isn’t shot, as he remembers this is the day that his father took him camping.  Alfred takes out two stones and reminds Bruce that he’s Bruce, not Thomas Wayne.  After Bruce has his coffee, the two are going for a walk.

Back at the precinct Lucius Fox shows Jim the incisions on the victims- Pyg removed their organs.  As for the next targets are the rich and famous, Jim wonders why the homeless were killed before that, though it’s possible that Pyg is using them to make a statement and get the city’s attention.  Jim then decides to check out the Narrows.

On the streets, Jim issues orders to the captains when Harper gets a call from Fox: the victims had a certain chemical in their system that’s common in paper manufacturing. There’s an abandoned paper plant nearby, so the two decide to head there.

They forego backup and head inside, where they find various bodies with their organs missing.  They then find a smoker oven and conclude that Pyg must be cooking his victims.

Following this, the two head out back and approach a van with its doors open.  They find no one inside and are distracted long enough for Pyg to approach and stab Harper.  He takes Harper hostage, ordering Jim to lower his gun.  He complies and taunts Jim, saying that Jim must see the final act.  With that, he abducts Harper and speeds off.

While Alfred and Bruce arrive in the woods, Penguin checks on Martin for tonight’s performance, all while talking about how Sofia might not be a good friend.  In fact, Sofia may be pretending, or in fact using Martin.  Martin doesn’t understand, but Oswald explains. There are two ways this could go: Sofia chose an orphan to place in Oswald’s path, which Martin denies.

There’s option two: Sofia collected a group of orphans in the hopes that one would gain Oswald’s trust.  In the latter scenario, Martin would be innocent and it’s the version that Oswald wants to believe.  Oswald needs proof of Martin’s trust and Sofia’s larger plan, so he instructs Martin to be his eyes and ears.  The two agree and shake on it, with Oswald hoping that Martin doesn’t let him down.

Gordon instructs every officer to find Harper when the press approaches to question Jim on Pyg’s actions.  They ask how he can keep Gotham City safe when he can’t even protect one of his own, as if this could lead to him being pushed aside like Harvey Bullock was.  Ouch.  Then one reporter asks about the rumor of Pyg cooking his victims, but how could he possibly know that?

Inside, Jim tells Fox that someone leaked the rumor about Pyg cooking his victims to the press.  Lucius assures Jim that everyone in the precinct is on his side as they turn their attention to a note that Pyg left- it’s a quote from Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal about the rich eating the poor.

In this scenario, the poor would be the homeless.  But Swift also mentioned the orphans. Jim realizes Pyg’s intentions and opts to go alone so no officer will be put in danger.

As the preparations for the fundraiser continue, Sofia meets with a particular chef who tells her that he wants to make something a bit more…mundane.  He takes out what he calls Gotham Meat Pies.

In the woods, Alfred prepares stew that Thomas Wayne used to like.  He then brings up how he first met Thomas, but Bruce is already aware of how they met.  See, Alfred was out of the army and got caught up in booze and drugs.  One day, Alfred found himself in an alley covered in blood, so he turned himself in, but the officers told him to wait.

And then Thomas Wayne approached and asked Alfred what he’d done.  Alfred soon told Thomas stuff he never thought he’d admit.  Soon enough, Thomas brought up that he was fighting someone in an alley and got scuffed up…which isn’t what happened, but the story is what saved Alfred’s life.  Alfred knows what it’s like to be lonely and hoping the world will punish you.  He wants to help Bruce.

Bruce does hear Alfred, but he’s just not interested in talking right now.  He goes through his backpack and realizes that the rocks are gone.  With that, he grabs Alfred’s keys and heads off.  When Bruce leaves, Alfred goes through Bruce’s bag just as he hears the car starting.  Yup, Bruce is gone.  Time for Alfred to dish out that Bat-ass whooping.

Penguin shows up for the fundraiser just as Sofia sends Martin away.  Oswald hasn’t located the mayor yet, but he tells Sofia that he’s not giving up.  She then mentions that she has to check on the chef, as he seems a bit…odd.  When Sofia leaves, Oswald instructs Martin to follow.  When Martin tries to follow Sofia, though, she ends up finding him instead.

Elsewhere at the dinner, Jim arrives and approaches a waiter.  He asks for the chef, who is in the chef is in the kitchen, so Jim instructs the waiter to find Sofia and bring him to her.  When Jim notices what looks like a weapon in the waiter’s jacket, the waiter tries to fight him, but Jim punches first.  But this distraction is enough for Pyg to approach and knock Jim out just as the waiter recovers and confirms that Jim is alone.

When Jim awakens, he finds himself next to a bound and gagged Harper…

Sofia addresses the patrons just as Oswald asks where Martin is, but he’s probably getting ready.  She tells Oswald that whoever had Jim appointed Captain may have saved him.  Oswald demands that Sofia confess, but then a noise gets their attention.  Pyg emerges and tells them that it’s time to go to dinner.  Chop-chop.

Jim stops Harper’s bleeding just as she tells him that no one searched her, so they didn’t get her blade.  Jim takes it and starts working to undo the door.

At the same time, dinner is served as Professor Pyg tells the patrons that there’s been a change in order.  The children are set to sing “The Meat Pie Tango.”  As the song kicks off, everyone is given their meat pies.  Sofia interrupts Pyg to ask where the children are, prompting Pyg to stab her right hand.  And if Oswald tries to move it, the next blade goe sin her eye.  The children are safe, as Pyg isn’t an animal.

Pyg tell the patrons that the rich have fed on Gotham’s poor for so long, so it’s time to find out what they taste like.  They each open their envelopes and have a picture of an individual.  Yes, the faces on those pictures are in the pies.  Yes, they’re people pies.  And the patrons are going to eat them.  Penguin refuses, so Pyg orders everyone to do so or the children die.

But one of the patrons points out that Martin is just an orphan.  Who cares if some urchin dies?  This sends Oswald into a rage- he seizes seize the blade from Sofia’s hand and shove it in the patrons head.  Pyg is surprised, but admits that Oswald is the reason that he’s here.  Pyg could pick anyone, but Oswald is the biggest glutton who has gorged on the city for so long. Today is no different.  He orders everyone to eat.

But then Oswald does just that and proudly…and orders everyone to do the same.  They do so, reluctantly.  However, Sofia has yet to eat.  She will, but only if Martin isn’t harmed.  With her right hand inured, Oswald must help Sofia eat.

But before that can happen, Jim rushes in, shoots some of Pyg’s guards, and points at Pyg, but Oswald tries to stop him, saying that Pyg will kill the kids in retaliation.  Everyone flees the room as Pyg begins throwing every knife in his arsenal at Jim until the two are left in a knife fight atop the table.

Pyg manages to get the better of Jim and starts slicking his way with his butcher knives.  When Pyg gets Jim pinned, Jim grabs the blade from the patron’s head, stabs Pyg, and knocks him out.  All things considered, it’s a damn impressive fight.

Later, Penguin tells Sofia that he knows about her paying off the mayor to make Jim captain.  He knows that she didn’t do it out of friendship.  Since Sofia couldn’t talk Oswald out of the license program, this was her only option.  Oswald realizes that Sofia could be intending to destroy him, and she went behind his back.  He’d could kill her, but he knows what she did for Martin was real.  As such, no more betrayals.

Oswald will abandon the licenses, but in exchange, Jim can’t be captain anymore.  Okay, so Sofia tells Oswald to pick someone else.

As Pyg is hauled into custody, Jim again speaks with the press.  He tells them that yes, Pyg is in custody and Vanessa Harper will make a full recovery- so the GCPD kept its promise.  Oh, so that’s Harper’s first name.  Unlike the last time, the press doesn’t bite off Jim’s head.  Instead, they thank him.  As the press disperses, Jim notices Sofia watching him.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce is in the middle of a party when Alfred arrives and literally crashes it.  Bruce tells no one to leave, but they eventually do because no way in hell will they mess with Alfred.  Bruce tells Alfred that he really doesn’t know what he’s going through.  They’re nothing alike and Alfred can’t help him.  After all, Bruce killed Ra’s.  He avenged his parents, but nothing changed.

He doesn’t feel different, so he wonders why he did it.  And how can Alfred help that?  By helping the way that Bruce is feeling.  Bruce has to face up to who he is, but Bruce doesn’t want to be told who he is.  He knows who he is, and if Alfred wants to help, be the butler instead of the father.  Start by cleaning the place up.

Jim then joins Sofia.  He knows he didn’t know what he was getting into, but he’s in it.  Jim feels that he deserves it like Gotham deserves law and order, and he’ll make sure that happens.  Sofia wants that as well, saying she’s not Jim’s enemy.  She then goes in for the kiss.

Outside, Martin joins Penguin in his limo.  As for what he saw…it’s that she saw Sofia kissing the policeman.  We even flash back to that moment that just happened, but now see it from Martin’s perspective. Oswald calls Martin a good friend all while promising that Sofia will pay for what she’s done.

If there’s one thing watching Gotham has taught me, it’s to be prepared for a drastic tonal shift at a moment’s notice.  Part of that is because there’s so much to pull from various parts of Batman lore, but also because of the show’s own wacky, yet darkly comedic tone.  It can feel serious, and sometimes it can enter Joel Schumacher territory.

But in this instance, that’s not entirely a bad thing, as Michael Cerveris continued to impress with a creepy performance as Professor Pyg.  The entire dinner sequence, from the moment Pyg took control of the event, to the end of his fight with Gordon, for my money, is one of this show’s finest moments, even if at moments I felt it could’ve fit into something like Batman Forever.

It had the perfect blend of dark comedy, action with Jim and Pyg’s fight, and even some dramatic moments with Penguin killing a patron who derided the orphans, followed by him eating the meat pies with no regret at all on his face. It was maddening, but I was entertained from start to finish.  Again when Gotham works, it works very well and this is one of those instances.

Helped by the fact that Pyg had an intimidating presence, it made the entire dinner scene feel more tense because I believed without question that he would follow through on his promise to kill the children if Gotham’s elite didn’t comply with his sick demands of eating other people.  However, if Pyg has this vendetta against Gotham’s police and now its rich, I wonder how killing the homeless factors into that.

Like the Joker, this version of Pyg has a taste for theatrical.  He puts on displays and has his victims go through sadistic trials, though the motivation can often be confusing. I say confusing because, from the onset, it seemed that Pyg’s main target was the GCPD, but now that’s expanded to Gotham’s wealthy.  Maybe Pyg just does things.

Speaking of trials, this was Jim’s first challenge as captain and, at the end of the day, he did at least succeed.  I understand his need to keep people out of danger by going at it alone, especially after Harper was abducted, but it still felt foolish to not even take Lucius with him.

Speaking of, it’s nice to see Lucius actually contributing again.  After he bested Nygma, I’d hoped that we would gradually get more of him outside of occasionally popping in to update either Jim and Harvey or Bruce and Alfred.  Sure, he didn’t have a ton to do here, but I appreciate that the show brought him back in the field to lend Jim a hand with his knowledge of Jonathan Swift.

But back to Gordon, he scores a win as captain and manages to get some of Gotham’s press on his side after they drag him across the coals.  I kept thinking, give the guy a break.  It’s his first day as captain and the reporters already contemplated whether he’d be pushed aside if he couldn’t keep his precinct safe.  But Jim is better with his temper than Harvey, so he wasn’t in danger of lashing out and losing his cool.

It was nice to see Penguin show more warmth towards Martin, as he really does want to believe that Martin wouldn’t double cross him.  He wants a real friend and now that he knows Sofia has betrayed his trust, he has very few friends in his corner.

But as much as it’s nice to see Oswald show a softer side, it was just as exciting to see him go dark again both when he ate the meat pies and when he stabbed the patron without a thought after he insulted the children.

Bruce is continuing to spiral downwards in his ongoing journey to find himself, but we see that it’s now hurting his relationship with Alfred.  He’s a kid lost in his own way and trying to find out who he is since apparently killing Ra’s did nothing for him.  If Alfred really wants to punish Bruce, tell him that his destiny isn’t to become Batman, but settle for Jason Todd instead.

“Let Them Eat Pie” was Gotham at its finest, embracing its own off-the-wall tone and being both dark and entertaining when it needed to be with the dinner sequence serving as one of the highlights of the entire series.

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