This article consists of nothing but Gotham Season 4 Episode 1 spoilers.
For those of you who don’t know, every season we dig into every episode of Gotham, hunting for Batman and DC Comics easter eggs. Let’s get right down to business…
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– This episode sees the debut of Peyton List as Poison Ivy. Yes, Ivy keeps getting older and older as the show continues. At this rate, Betty White will have to play the part by the time Gotham wraps. All that said, it’s kind of amazing that before Gotham hit the airwaves there was only one live action Poison Ivy, Uma Thurman, from the much reviled Batman and Robin movie, but now there’s four.
This is Peyton List’s third foray into the DC Universe. She previously played Lucy Lane on Smallville and Lisa Snart aka The Golden Glider on The Flash. Does List now hold the record for the most DC characters played by one actor? I think she’s tied with David Dastmalchian who played Abra Kadabra on The Flash, Dwight Pollard on Gotham, and one of Joker’s thugs in 2008’s The Dark Knight. C’mon List, get a role as a mermaid in Aquaman or something and you’ll rule this game!
– “Pieces of a Broken Mirror” saw the debut of Griffin Krank aka The Toymaker and his son Cosmo Krank, and boy, is the history of this DC baddie confusing. The first Toy Maker appeared in Master Comics #27 way back in 1942. Master Comics was published by Fawcett Comics and featured Captain Marvel Jr. as a cover feature. The Toy Maker was a villain who took on the heroic and all but forgotten patriotic hero known as Minute Man. A second Toy Maker debuted in The Batman animated series, you know, that not as cool as Batman: The Animated Series Batman cartoon.
In this episode, Cosmo Krank tries to take down Bruce Wayne after the billionaire shut down Cosmo’s toy company for producing unsafe products. Toy Maker was voiced by Patton Oswalt of all people. I kind of get the feeling the brain trust behind Gotham maybe wanted to use perennial Superman villain Toyman in this episode, but of course, that toy-centric evildoer is taken by Supergirl. As we all know, Toyman is the father of the lovable Winn Schott. So there you have it, a history of toy themed DC villains stretching back to 1940. Don’t say we never did anything for you.
– Does anyone else get the feeling that perhaps Gotham is trying to set up Lee Thompkins as a version of obscure Batman baddie The Crime Doctor?
– It’s cool to see the new Ivy with plant based powers rather than just her pheromone powers. We are indeed watching Ivy grow up in a lot of ways.
And as for the rest of the season…
– Ah yes, we start with an iconic shot of Bruce Wayne prowling the rooftops. Things seem to be getting really Bat-centric as we began the new season.
You know, it’s funny. With all the success that DC had with Superboy in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, you would think someone somewhere would have suggested Batboy, the adventures of Bruce Wayne before he was Batman. Heck, the same production company that did Adventures of Superman in the 1950s even produced an Adventures of Superboy pilot in 1961 showing that the idea of a young hero was all the rage back in the day. I guess we can consider this season of Gotham the premiere adventures of Batboy? I know in my head I will.
Do we even need to point out the shape of Bruce Wayne’s mask? It sure looks Batman-y.
– The ending of the episode saw Bruce Wayne’s first skylight crash. Of course, Bruce plunging through the skylight echoes the famous skylight rescue in 1989’s Batman and Batman’s attack on the GCPD in Batman Begins (which itself was a homage to a similar skylight jump in Batman: Year One). So it was a nice touch for Brue Wayne to botch his first experience with a skylight.
– Speaking of Batman: Year One, Bruce Wayne crashing to the ground during one of his first vigilante excursions is similar to his disastrous first pre-Batman outing in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic, where Bruce ended up getting his ass handed to him.
– Points awarded to Gotham for finally doing the Bruce Wayne disappearing on Jim Gordon gimmick that has been in the comics for generations.
– In my recent article on the history of the Scarecrow (which you can read here) I commented on how Steve Buscemi was connected to role of Scarecrow for an unrealized fifth Batman film in the film series that began with Batman in 1989. I commented how awesome Buscemi could have been as Jonathan Crane, but alas, it was not meant to be. But this week on Gotham we get to see Steve’s brother Michael as Merton, the leader of the fear gas gang during Scarecrow’s live action TV debut! How almost prescient of me.
– The Iceberg Lounge first appeared in DC Comics continuity in Detective Comics #683 (1995) by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan. The premiere of the Iceberg Lounge was a pretty important moment because it marked a transition for the Penguin as the corpulent criminal went from a semi-harmless gimmicky crook to a dangerous, noir laden figure of the Gotham underworld. With the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin was on his way to being taken seriously as a real Bat rogue. And no, in the comics, there was not a Riddler centerpiece jazzing up the Penguin’s digs.
– Man, the Scarecrow costume used in Gotham is freakin’ badass, isn’t it? When Scarecrow first appeared way back in World’s Finest Comics #3(1941), the future Master of Fear used mundane weapons to terrorize Gotham City. Jonathan Crane didn’t use his signature fear gas until Scarecrow reappeared in the Silver Age. But in Gotham, Scarecrow goes right for the iconic sweet spot and is gassing MFers left and right.
– How did I never notice that Barbara Keen called her club (the joint that is now Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge) the Siren Club? This week, the returned to life Barbara (and is this the work of Ra’s Al Ghul?) tried to ally herself with Selena and Tabitha. Of course, Ivy wanted in on the act as well so you can sort of declare that this impromptu gathering of fatales could be the first get together of the Gotham City Sirens. In the comics, the Sirens consist of Selena, Ivy, and Harley Quinn, but as Barbara’s former club’s name suggests, Barbara’s call to arms could have been the first meeting of the proto-sirens.
– The Arkham warden that gets gassed by Scarecrow this week has a fear of clowns. I mean, other than bats, is there a worse thing to be terrified of in Gotham City than clowns? I guess ‘ol Warden Ha-Ha did not enjoy Stephen King’s It, huh? He certainly donned some spot on Joker makeup to take on Gordon, though. I’ve really loved how Gotham has established the Joker more as a city wide curse rather than a single individual. I’m sure Jerome would argue with that take though.
– We do get to witness Bruce Wayne suit up in his first Lucius Fox original. Of course, when Bruce gets older, Lucius will supply all his gear and tech. The scenes this week were echoes of the Fox scenes in Batman Begins as Gotham continues to pull from all corners of the multimedia Bat empire.
Gotham Season 4 Episode 3: Those Who Hide Behind Masks
– Quite a rare treat to get a Ra’s Al Ghul flashback. Gotham is always very particular to its setting, so seeing a legit Ra’s Al Ghul flashback was really unexpected and welcome. Heck man, Gotham is leaning way more into the immortal thing than either the Dark Knight Trilogy or Arrow ever did. As good as the Dark Knight and Arrow versions of Ra’s al Ghul were, this use of flashback really bought the character closer to the original Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams version of the character.
– Sophia Falcone first appeared in Batman: The Long Halloween #6 (1997) by Jeff Loeb and Tim Sale. Gotham’s Sophia seems very eager to take over the Gotham City underworld and the comic book Sophia felt the same way. Sophia appeared in both Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory -and I really don’t want to spoil things here – but the comic version of Sophia was so much more than a power hungry femme fatale. Let’s just say for now that if Gotham’s Sophia is anything like the DC Universe’s Sophia, things should get very violent and interesting on Gotham very shortly.
– Things got pretty James Bond-y in this episode, huh? With Gordon journeying to an exotic local and wooing Carmine Falcone’s even more exotic daughter. Even some of the musical cues this week just screamed 007. All this is pretty appropriate since Ra’s Al Ghul has always been the DC Universe’s answer to a classic Bond villain.
We get to see Selina Kyle don a mask for the first time this week. Honestly, with that mask and leather outfit, young Selena looked like she just stepped off a Darwyn Cooke drawing.
– We also got to see Bruce Wayne step into his vapid billionaire disguise for the first time this week as the adventures of Bat Boy continues.
– Who else was wating for Bruce Wayne to introduce himself as Matches Malone when he donned the street kid disguise? Of course, Matches has long been Bruce’s faux criminal identity that he uses to infiltrate the Gotham underworld. Of course, a few seasons back, Bruce met a hitman named Matches Malone that may or may not have killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. I’m going with not, but it would be nice to revisit the Matches thread sometime.
– This isn’t the first time that good ol’ Ed Nygma has suffered a debilitating brain injury that caused a cognitive impairment. In DC’s classic crossover Infinite Crisis, the Riddler was beaned on the coconut by the Shining Knight’s mace (The Shining Knight is a time lost knight from Camelot and just awesome). At that point, Riddler suffered a brain injury and decided that villainy was just too dangerous.
But Nygma was still compelled to test his intellect against Batman, so Riddler opened his own detective agency in Gotham City and tried to solve crimes before Batman could. For real, Gotham can get a whole season out of this story direction. Think about it, Riddler P.I., I’d be all over that. The Riddler as a brain damaged detective storyline played out in a whole bunch of Paul Dini Batman comics stories in the mid-2000s, too.
Meanwhile, how has Shining Knight not appeared on Legends of Tomorrow yet?
– Victor Zsasz is consistently a high point on Gotham, and it’s amazing that he’s also one of the funniest characters on the show. I mean, in the comics Zsasz is a dead serious, horrific Hannibal Lecter riff that cuts himself for every victim he murders. Comic Zsasz really has no personality beyond his bloodlust which makes him terrifying. But TV Zsasz is a hoot and a half. You have to wonder if there is ever going to be a transition into the ice hearted Zsasz from the comics.
– Butch who we now know as Cyrus Gold, finally becomes Solomon Grundy this week.
Some fans might be surprised to learn that Solomon Grundy started out as a villain not of Batman, but of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott. The 1940s Green Lantern adventures took place in Gotham City (although it never crossed over with Batman), so having Grundy appear on TV’s Gotham is appropriate. Plus, Batman has kind of adopted Grundy into his rogues gallery pretty much since Batman: The Long Halloween.
Solomon Grundy first appeared in All-American Comics #61 (1944) and was created by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman. The classic Grundy origin is kind of similar to the one that played out on Gotham. In the comics, Cyrus Gold was a murdered gangster that was brought back to life in Slaughter Swamp. Taking the name Solomon Grundy, Gold became a persistent foe of the original Green Lantern and Lantern’s team the Justice Society of America. You see, the original GL’s weakness was wood and Grundy was made up of plant matter so Alan Scott’s ring was all but useless against the unstoppable swamp zombie.
When the JSA family of characters came back in the Silver Age, Grundy came with them, becoming a constant foe of the entire DC pantheon of heroes. Grundy has had many classic appearances in Swamp Thing and also appeared as member of the Legion of Doom on the 1970s classic Saturday morning animated staple – Challenge of the Super Friends. A Cyrus Gold also appeared on an early episode of Arrow but was never explicitly identified as Solomon Grundy.
– Speaking of Super Friends, The Riddler was also a member of the Legion of Doom, so seeing these two team up really appealed to my inner five year old.
– So is stabbing Ra’s Al Ghul the reason Bruce Wayne swears off killing?
– Professor Pyg first appeared in (suitably) Batman #666 (July 2007) and was created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert.
Pyg is one of Batman’s most horrific villains and would really feel right at home in a Blumhouse film. Other than being mind-numbingly horrific, there is also some classism in regards to Professor Pyg. Morrison’s inspiration for Pyg came from the classic Pygmalion, a play about transforming someone into an idealized state. Of course, Professor’s Pyg’s concept of an idealized state for his victims is a masked, genderless automaton called a Dollotron, so…yikes.
Pyg first encountered the Dick Grayson version of Batman and the Damien Wayne version of Robin, and has been a constant presence in the Bat first since his first bloody appearance. Gotham presents a scaled back version of Professor Pyg but it is still unsettling. In the comics, Pyg usually teams up with another murderous nightmare called Mister Toad, so maybe we have that froggy introduction to look forward to.
– In the pages of DC Comics, when Leslie Thompkins was first introduced into the world of Batman, she was running a clinic for Gotham City’s poor. Those clinics were funded by Bruce Wayne and became Lee Thompkins’ base of operations as she was eased into the world of Batman. The introduction of just such a clinic on Gotham brings TV’s Lee Thompkins one step closer to her comic book counterpart.
Tommy Elliot last appeared on Gotham as a random Draco Malfoy like bully who gets his ass kicked by a young Bruce Wayne. This does not synch up with the comics because in the DC publishing universe, Elliot was close friends with Bruce during their childhoods. Now, it seems that Bruce and Tommy take their first steps on the road to friendship. Of course, when he gets older, Elliot will become Hush, the deformed and bandaged master of disguise that plagued Batman in the classic Jeff Loeb and Jim Lee Batman story arc “Hush.” I have to be honest, I was disappointed when Gotham wasted Elliot in the role of a generic bully in the first season, but I’m pretty thrilled to see Elliot back in the more traditional role of Bruce’s childhood pal. Do you think we could see ‘ol Tommy suffer a facial injury sometime soon?
– Headhunter made his debut and his exit this week. Headhunter first appeared in Batman #487 (1992) and was created by Doug Moench and Jim Aparo. In the comics, Headhunter is a killer for hire who first ran afoul of Batman when he tried to kill James Gordon. The comic book Headhunter does have a white mohawk so I really dug that bit of consistency. Recently, Headhunter appeared in the Rebirth era and was eviscerated by Swamp Thing in the already classic Batman #23 (2017). I guess the Gotham Universe version of Headhunter will never take on Batman or Swamp Thing because he was eviscerated by the Penguin. Hey, at least the comic version and TV version of Headhunter have disembowelment in common.
– I’m glad Gotham added the Pygmalion bit to TV’s Professor Pyg, otherwise, why would the porcine killer spell his name P-y-g? Pyg’s modus operandi is to transform people into their perfect selves, and I really dig the fact that Gotham’s Pyg wants to do the same to the entire city and police force.
– Another new costume for Selena. Her frequent wardrobe changes jibes with the comics because in Catwoman’s early days, she was constantly changing her looks.
– Was this the first time someone referred to Tabby as Tigress?
– This Fight Club stuff could be an interesting way to introduce a young Bane. If Bane wasn’t stuck in a third world prison. And, like, thirteen years old. You know what, forget I mentioned it.
– Doesn’t Penguin’s weasel like bow tied major domo/accountant/flunky look exactly like Arnold Wesker, the classic villain known as the Ventriloquist?
– In the comics, Solomon Grundy has taken out Superman and Green Lantern. But on Gotham, Grundy gets taken out by a heavy club. I guess ol’ Butch just isn’t as world beating as the old school Grundy.
– You have to love Edward Nygma’s Penguin impression. Riddler’s mock Penguin garb is more classic comic book than Cobblepot’s own wardrobe.
– So does anyone think that Penguin’s new little mute murder minion is an established villain? Hmm, lessee. Mute, psychotic? Onomatopoeia, maybe?
– It’s kind of cool that Grundy and Tigress are something of a romantic item. The original Tigress and Solomon Grundy were both Golden Age DC villains. The original Tigress took on DC’s resident magician Zatara (father of Zatanna) in Action Comics #1 (yup, the first appearance of Superman) while Grundy fought Green Lantern and the Justice Society. So yeah, Tabby and Butch’s romance might be really strange, but it has its roots in the most classic of comics.
There was a second Tigress that took on Wonder Woman in the Golden Age as well. None of these women were named Tabitha Galavan but the fact that Tigress and Grundy were OG DC villains gives this twisted love a layer of cool in the eyes of this DC fan.
– Is it me, or did Pyg look like a perfect Batman ’66 villain in his French chef disguise? Hey, in the 1960s Batman Filmation cartoon, there was a villain named Simon the Pieman. Simon tried to drown Robin in a vat of butter. I just thought you should know that. But hey, drowning a kid in butter, making people eat pies made of homeless people, it’s all good.
– I remain curious to see if Tommy Eliot is involved in the Bruce Wayne affluenza storyline for a reason other than to have a name comic character. Will this all end with a disfiguring accident that will lead into Tommy becoming Hush?
– This isn’t the only time in his life Gordon will bend the law to keep Gotham City safe. Technically, allowing a vigilante to operate is illegal, but as Gordon proves this week, anything to stop the monsters.
There’s nothing to report about episode 10, so let’s just get straight to…
In the comics, Carmine Falcone meets his demise at the hands of Two-Face in Batman: The Long Halloween. With the Professor Pyg going belly up this week along with Carmine, I guess Gotham is just killing major future players in Batman’s world very early. That does give the show an undercurrent of drama because I guess now any villain can die at any time.
Speaking of Two-Face, we haven’t seen Harvey Dent in a long time on Gotham, have we?
We’ll update this with more when Gotham returns in the spring!