Are you ready for some more Gotham? We’ve got boxes of heads, downward spirals for Bruce and Bullock, Barbara being awesome, and more creepiness from Professor Pyg. It’s a heck of an episode, so let’s get to “A Day in the Narrows”.
Gordon greets Harvey in his office and things are tense. He brings up the money Bullock’s been taking and they’re interrupted by delivery people bringing dozens of bloody boxes into the GCPD. In each box is a pig head. Forty-four boxes, one for every cop in the precinct. Well, except for Gordon. The instructions explicitly say he doesn’t get a pig head. That should make him popular.
Bruce and Alfred host a fundraising cocktail party at stately Wayne Manor and Bruce is in a mood. He yells at a caterer who bumps into him and then runs off. He’s still all torn up about killing Ra’s. Alfred tells him he needs to face his guilt or else it will consume him but Bruce can’t quite deal with it yet.
Penguin shows up at GCPD – he’s got a “security consultant” named Headhunter with him, a guy with a mohawk and bandoliers. I’ll give the details at the end, but Headhunter is an established albeit minor Batman villain. He’s visiting while Zsasz is “off visiting his bubbie”. Ha! I didn’t expect Zsasz to even have a grandmother, much less use a Yiddish term of affection for her. He’s full of surprises! Headhunter explains that he carries two pistols because he always shoots twice. The first shot kills, the second is his signature. That is his exact deal from the comics. Headhunter is hilariously impressed with himself.
Anyway, Penguin wants to work with the cops on this Professor Pyg thing and Gordon turns him away. Bullock, however, says they have no choice. They argue about whether or not it’s the money that’s motivating him, but Bullock insists that every cop in the city is at risk and they don’t have a choice.
Over at Barbara’s arms boutique, she tells Tabitha and Selina that she has to shut it down. The whole business was a front for Ra’s and without him, there’s no need. Selina thinks they can turn her arms business into what it was actually supposed to be – a way to gather intel on the underworld, but Barbara just wants to close up shop. Selina tells Tabitha she already followed a buyer to their stash – they can hit it and prove Barbara wrong. But Tabitha says it isn’t worth it.
The cops and Penguin’s crew head to a location in the Narrows where three officers went missing and a patrol car was abandoned. There’s blood all over the car and a cute pig bobblehead on the dash. Harvey starts to rally the troops and somebody starts hurling stuff from a third floor window, including a TV set. Headhunter shoots a lamp out of the air to prove he can. This guy is pretty great, but I only want him to be in scenes with Gordon. Gordon could not possibly hate him more. Like, Mad Hatter ruined his life and I still think Gordon would rather hang out with him than Headhunter. They bust in and just start beating on everybody they see, even people who are on the way to the place they’re trying to get and Gordon is the only person who seems to have a problem with it.
Back at the fundraiser, a young lady Bruce’s age tracks him down. Grace Blomdahl used to go to school with him and wanted to say hi. She’s bored and wonders if Bruce wants to go somewhere.
Gordon finds some witnesses while all hell is breaking loose and asks what they know about the cops. They’re terrified to talk but then Headhunter finds him and starts beating up a man who was on a ventilator. He drags him out into the street and announces he’ll die unless somebody talks. Gordon pulls his gun and it turns into a standoff. Bullock backs him up but finally the woman says she saw somebody take the cops and gives them a direction. Meanwhile, Headhunter explains his gimmick to some other cops who think he’s awesome. This character is amazing.
Everybody shows up at the next location and Gordon finds two cops in pig heads. One’s dead, the other is barely alive. Penguin watches the news report later at the orphanage and figures, technically, he’s the one who saved the cop. He gets frustrated with the orphans in his way and Sofia finally tells him that aligning with the GCPD reflects badly on him – they’re incompetent and they’ll fail and bring him down with them. He’s not willing to listen.
Selina sneaks into what must be the biker headquarters where they’re hiding their stash. She’s even wearing a mask to protect her identity. You know, homeless kid. She triggers a car alarm but still gets out of there with the stash. The bikers pick a guy to blame and grind his face off. Selina watches from her hiding place and looks pretty freaked out.
Gordon rides in the ambulance with the injured officer. They guy can’t tell him much and seems pretty badly traumatized. He manage to ask why Pyg’s doing it and Gordon talk about all the rot in Gotham pushing him to his breaking point. That isn’t comforting – you’re dying because you’re corrupt. Sorry, dude. Gordon admits that he’s done some things he’s not proud of, some of them for Penguin. And he asks this cop to help him turn things around. Catch Pyg and then bring down Penguin. The guy mentions that Pyg said something about an abandoned courthouse so Gordon gets out of the ambulance and heads over there.
Grace introduces Bruce to crappy rich kids. One of them is Tommy Elliott, the kid Bruce punched in the face back in Season One. And this is our confirmation that his last name is “Elliott” which means we’ve got teenage Hush! Tommy admits he deserved it and now they all want to hang with Bruce. There’s a butthole who makes fun of Bruce for not doing drugs and I hate him. Bruce imagines beating the hell out of him but holds his temper. They all head out to a club. I don’t understand young people.
Gordon reaches the courthouse and finds a trail of blood. He also finds Headhunter – Harvey told him where Gordon was headed. Then a whole mess of cops show up, sirens blaring. And then Penguin arrives, insisting that he’ll take it from here.
Barbara counts out a stack of money while Tabitha waits. Looks like she’s settling debts. Selina calls Tabitha to tell her she’s trapped in a biker hideout and they’re out for blood. Barbara doesn’t want to bother with helping her, but Tabitha is ready to go and grabs some guns off the walls. I just want them to be friends again!
Penguin gives a press conference about how they have Professor Pyg trapped and this just proves what a good job he’s doing. Bullock pull Gordon aside to suggest letting Penguin’s guys go in first since Pyg probably has a plan and they need cannon fodder. And then Gordon gets a call from Professor Pyg who starts by saying that he spells his name with a “y”. Hee! He explains that it’s because it’s short for Pygmalion, which was Grant Morrison’s original idea when creating him and we talked about that in the special edition last week.
Also, where that tied in to comic Pyg’s obsession with physical perfection, here it speaks to his desire to create a better Gotham. I hadn’t made that connection, but it works. The gimmick is different but it still hearkens back to the same inspiration. Good job, Gotham!
Anyway, Pyg tells him they’ll die if they go in the courthouse. And then he says “you’re one of the good ones, Jim” the same way the dying cop did, and it’s getting wild.
Bruce and his jerk friends can’t get into a club, so Bruce buys the place. But then he still won’t let the one guy who sucks more than the others in. Hee!
Gordon tells Bullock that Pyg was actually the cop they found and he isn’t in the courthouse – it has to be a trap. Penguin insists that Gordon’s wrong and Pyg has to be inside. Bullock says they’ve got a visual on him and sides with Penguin. Gordon is pissed. Harvey, you need to rethink some things.
In the biker headquarters, there’s an explosion. That’s right, Tabitha showed up. But now they’re both stuck there and assume they’ll have to fight their way out. Until Barbara shows up. Walking in super casual, she just starts shooting and handles the problem. She takes her share of the money and gets ready to leave, but first she tells them to get back to work because they have a business to run. She acts like she wasn’t closing it down an hour ago. Man, I love Barbara. She is the best.
A mixture of cops and Penguin’s guys breach the building – they quickly see a guy who looks like Pyg standing over a cop. Harvey shoots Pyg and wraps things up. Except the cop was a dummy and Pyg was actually the abducted cop, gagged, forced into a pig mask and chained to the floor. Harvey just shot a cop. And all the activity sets off a trap as two mounted machine guns just start shooting. Good and bad guys get caught in the arc of bulllets and when Gordon hears the commotion, he takes a huge gun from one of Penguin’s bodyguard and rushes in. Headhunter takes a ricochet in the face, Harvey tries to save one of the injured. Gordon blow up one gun, helps Headhunter to safety, and blow up the second. A lot of people just died because Bullock wouldn’t listen to Gordon.
Penguin gives another press conference distancing himself from the colossal mistake and shifting the blame to Bullock. They’re more interested in talking about what a great hero Gordon is. So Gordon takes the opportunity to threaten Pyg through the media. He reports to Bullock that the cop is probably going to make it but Harvey is positively morose. Gordon gets a call – it’s Pyg.
And yes, he was disguised as the injured officer in the ambulance. And even knowing what the actor who plays Pyg looks like, I never realized it. He’s calling from the ambulance, and we see the body of the driver behind him. So Pyg is out of costume, but he’s talking in that sing-songy voice still, and it’s extra creepy. He assures Gordon that they have the same goals and that the next step in his plan is a spectacle and “Jimmy Gordon” is his muse.
Penguin and Headhunter return to the Iceberg Lounge. Headhunter starts to say that Gordon was right, so Oswald stabs him to death. He stabs him twice and says “second one’s my signature”, which really made me laugh. Bruce and his terrible friends hang out at a club. He makes out with Grace and seems to get drunk. Oh, Bruce.
At GCPD, Harper thanks Gordon for saving everybody’s lives. Then a uniformed officer brings in a licensed robber – Alvarez tears up the license and says they’re not accepting them anymore. Harvey stands there and drinks, because things are going great for him.
–It looks like Professor Pyg is sitting out next week (but he’s back the week after that), but the trailer shows that Firefly is back!
I have to say, Harvey is breaking my heart. They’re doing this interesting thing with him where he’s taking money from Penguin but it seemingly hasn’t affected his judgment – he’s being pressured from above to accept the licenses and work with Penguin, so the money is just lining his pockets while he does what he’s being forced to do anyway. But in that position, Gordon wouldn’t take the money. It’s not even that Harvey is corrupt, really. He’s just given up. It’s a really interesting approach because they rethought Harvey so early in the series and he’s been on pretty much one arc since then. With all the crazy ass stuff that’s happened, Bullock was redeemed early on and since then he’s been the guy who helps keep Gordon focused. It looks like they’re setting him up for a fall, or some dark times at the very least.
And I love Harvey and don’t want to see bad things happen, but Donal Logue is great and it’s nice that they’re giving him something different to do. He’s going to turn into his Terriers character before this is over.
So, this episode gave us Headhunter and Hush. Sort of. Tommy Elliott was in the episode, and he’s the character who eventually becomes Hush. But I kind of hate Hush, so I don’t want to talk about him unless I have to. So let’s get to Headhunter. He’s a very minor villain in the comics. We’re talking three appearances that I know of.
Comic Headhunter first appeared in Batman 487, back in 1992. His look is similar to the TV version, with the mohawk and the bandoliers, but comic Headhunter is white. The two shots gimmick comes straight from the comics, too. It wasn’t played as hilarious that he not only had a signature gimmick but kept telling people about it, so that’s a win for TV. After his first appearance, he popped up again less than a year later in the first chapter of Knightfall, which was the big Bane story that had just about every villain in it. He was part of the big Arkham breakout but that was the extent of his contributions.
And then he was forgotten outside of some crowd scenes until he turned up again in the main Batman title less than six months ago. It was a standout issue that had Swamp Thing seeking revenge for one of Headhunter’s kills. Batman doesn’t generally have a lot of guest stars (he is the guest star), but Swamp Thing made for a cool story. And it’s why I recognized him so quickly because even I would struggle to identify a fifth-tier villain with a generic name twenty-five years after his last appearance. He has to be the most obscure villain to appear on the show, and we’ve already seen Eduardo Flamingo, the Dollmaker, and the Electrocutioner.
We didn’t really get into it last week, mostly because we didn’t see his face. But Michael Cerveris is playing Professor Pyg. You may recognize him as the Observer from Fringe, and he just recently played crimelord Ramses IV on Amazon’s The Tick. Which is great and you should watch it. I like him a lot, and he’s a great choice for one of my favorite weirdo villains.
That’s it for this week! Riddler and Grundy are back next time!