SPOILER WARNING: The following story contains major spoilers for Gotham’s Season 3 finale.
Gotham closed out its third season with a bang – several in fact, as a number of longstanding characters found themselves irrevocably changed and/or dead.
And while the show’s stars and production crew had teased the debut of Harley Quinn during the course of the third season’s final chapter, the esteemed Ms. Quinzel was nowhere to be found. However, another, even more classic Batman villain’s arrival was openly teased — and it wasn’t the Scarecrow.
One of the aforementioned casualties of the episode was Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell), the long-suffering mob enforcer who over the past three seasons has pledged his loyalty to Fish Mooney, then Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin) and finally Tabitha Galavan, with whom he also happened to be completely in love. It was his emotional bond to Tabatha that led him to be shot point blank in the forehead by Barbara Keene, Tabitha’s partner-in-crime, who correctly believed Butch and Tabitha were set to betray her.
Though the initial indication was that Butch was dead, before the credits rolled we learned that not only did he survive, he may not be “Butch” at all. A quick scene showed the criminal heavy in a hospital, unconscious yet clinging to life with paperwork revealing that his real name is Cyrus Gold, a name longtime DC Comics fans will recognize as the true identity of Solomon Grundy.
Grundy is, essentially, a massive, super-strong zombie, albeit one with a penchant for beating up on Batman and other DC superheroes rather than for eating brains. He was originally introduced in 1944’s Action Comics #61 by creators Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman as a foe for Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, a zombie rising from the depth of Gotham City’s Slaughter Swamp. Grundy has endured over the decades as a recurring enemy for the Dark Knight as well as numerous other Justice Leaguers. In the ’90s, he was reborn as a gentle giant in James Robinson’s Starman series, working alongside the hero to help the citizens of Opal City rather than terrorizing them, and has also been revealed to have strong ties to another DC Comics hero, Swamp Thing.
As for how heavily Butch’s new persona will play into Season 4, or how close it will hew to its comic book swamp zombie origins remains to be seen. For now, though, fans can take some solace in knowing that Butch will return, and fittingly enough that his character was (re)born on a Monday night.