TV REVIEW: Gotham S4E6 ‘Hog Day Afternoon’ (Spoilers)

Gotham delivered a bleak yet surprisingly poignant episode this week with ‘Hog Day Afternoon,’ which saw the return of Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) for a crucial storyline alongside his partner Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie). Meanwhile, Sofia (Crystal Reed) and Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) continued their dance for dominance, with only one party aware of the true stakes, and Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) finally came back to the fold in full force as well, and the results were pretty great to watch.

‘Hog Day Afternoon’ introduced Professor Pyg (guest star Michael Cerveris in a truly chilling performance) to Gotham‘s world for the first time, but with a very unique take. While the one we know from the comics has an obsession with making people perfect, this strange man instead has an obsession with perfecting only a specific type of person – cops, AKA pigs. When various dirty cops start turning up murdered and with pig’s heads covering them, Jim and Harvey make it their mission to uncover who is behind it and stop them. It was a relief to see a detailed interplay between the two characters after so long of Harvey being a minimal presence, and this time around it worked to show much grayer Jim’s view of morality has gotten. From previous episodes, we know Harvey was allowing the licensing law under Penguin and of course Jim strongly disapproved. But once those tactics could put his friend’s life on the line, Gordon immediately pinpointed which evils were more immediate and why. It didn’t hurt that Cobblepot himself actually proved useful in the investigation.

The downside to Professor Pyg’s first appearance in ‘Hog Day Afternoon’ was simply that it became increasingly frustrating to watch GCPD fail – especially when they were on the right side of things for once. Every other episode of Gotham deals with how much corruption there is in the department, so their failures are purposeful. But for once Jim and Harvey were shown doing good detective work that still didn’t produce positive results for the most part. Of course, this established how formidable Pyg was as an opponents and paved the way for his inevitable future appearances, but it would have had more impact if the cops were more competent otherwise. Nevertheless, the friendship between the two police detectives shone as brightly as ever and I will certainly have pig-related nightmares just in time for Halloween.

When Penguin wasn’t collaborating with cops, he was agonizing over what Sofia’s plans may or may not be in a very Othello-like fashion. With Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) playing his Iago to perfection, Oswald is on the verge of tearing himself apart and murdering Sofia too… Which of course played right into her hands. The power struggle between these two has been an incredibly slow burn this season, with Sofia rarely showing her hand even to the audience. And while we still don’t know how she plans to take Oswald down, we see easily that she’s a woman who keeps her promises. He promised Jim to have Penguin eating out of her hand in a matter of days, and that’s exactly what she did. The weapon of choice, involving secret real estate deals and shady meetings with the mayor, was unconventional yet perfect for a man like Penguin. Now all that’s left is to see what she does with the power she’s amassed, and whether she makes it out alive.

The final plot in ‘Hog’s Day Afternoon’ was oddly the most heartwarming, as Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Grundy (Drew Powell) began their moneymaking scheme of participating in fight club. Grundy had some standout moments, wowing both the crowds and the audience with his impressive strength in the face of such naivete. But it was the developing bond between Ed and Lee that became especially intriguing, given how much she rightfully hated him for his past actions. He wanted her to fix his head, which she hysterically pointed out she couldn’t do since she’s not a neurologist – and then he attempted and failed to blackmail her, because that’s how poor his brain function has become. But the secret reason Lee stayed in Gotham despite promising to leave was actually incredibly moving, and opened up a whole new host of story lines for her and the show itself. And while it didn’t exactly melt Nygma’s heart, it did create a new understanding between them and suggest that the upcoming interaction between these three characters will be something to watch.

Overall, ‘Hog’s Day Afternoon’ was a strong and solid episode that happened to be a little bit of a downer. At this point, my largest frustration is that the Sirens storyline is nowhere to be found since Selina, Babs and Tabitha decided to start working together. But hopefully the show will remedy that shortly.

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Tatiana Hullender (@myrcellasear)

Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox at 8/7c in the US.

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: