When it comes to its comics connections, Fox’s pre-Batman drama Gotham has always been a mixed bag. But what it lacks in direct fan service, it can occasionally make up for in gonzo style. Such was the case with tonight’s finale for Professor Pyg.
The show’s take on the “weird even for a Batman villain” character has differed in a number of ways from its four-color roots. For one, the serial killer goes simply by Pyg in the show as he’s apparently not yet applied to grad school, but more importantly his TV arc has made him more of a quirky butcher who cuts up cops and one-percenters with glee rather than the zombie-creating circus escapee that’s burned his way onto fan brains when created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert but fully revealed by the writer and Frank Quitely in 2009’s Batman & Robin series.
However, for his finale (for the moment) appearance on Gotham in tonight’s “Let Them Eat Pie” episode, the character took a decidedly Morrisonian twist on his way out the door. The hour revolved around Pyg’s last scheme – feeding the cooked remains of Gotham’s homeless population to an assemblage of upper crust types via grotesque meat pies. The move was typical Gotham in many ways: over the top gruesomeness wrapped in a basic revenge plot. But things lifted into the weird ever so slightly when Pyg broke out into song with his “Meat Pie Tango” in the final act.
Fans who know the Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne-focused Batman & Robin series well will recall Pyg’s introduction not just for the villain’s upsetting manner of turning young women into his mindless Dollotrons. where things got really weird was in issue #2 when Pyg ramped himself up for torturing Robin with a fetishized song-and-dance routine that may have included a neon sign saying, “You’re reading a Grant Morrison comic.”
Gotham’s musical number isn’t quite as disturbing as the comic book version (for all its gore, the show rarely explores the sexualized nature of violent criminals the way Morrison did with Pyg). But for a moment at least, the show transcended its slasher film status quo and offered up something genuinely weird for audiences. This Pyg even shared a look with Quitely’s buttoned up butcher. It’s the kind of tonal connection to comics the show could benefit from including more of.
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