WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Gotham, "Penguin, Our Hero," which aired Thursday on Fox.
For the past four seasons, Fox's Gotham has told its own version of the origin story of Batman and his greatest villains. In order to do its own thing, the series has opted not to adhere to a single comic book, instead picking and choosing a variety of elements, twisting them up to deliver an original, sometimes crazy take on the hero's mythology.
From Jerome Valeska stapling the skin of his face back on like the Joker did in Death of the Family, or Jeremiah shooting Selina Kyle in a scene lifted straight from The Killing Joke, there have been many scenes paying homage to the comics. And in Gotham's latest episode, we can add Frank Miller's seminal The Dark Knight Returns to that list.
Before the season debut, video and photos revealed that The Dark Knight Returns' Mutant Gang and the fearless Mutant Leader would appear as part of Gotham's epic No Man's Land storyarc. In "Penguin, Our Hero," the villainous gang finally made its return to live-action when Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle come across them in the middle of the lawless streets of Gotham City.
While Bruce takes the fight to the gang itself, it's Selina who has the honor of going up against the hulking Mutant Leader in a scene which offers up an overt nod to Miller's classic comic. As Selina tries to get Jeremiah's location out of the Mutant Leader, he answers with a line that was practically one of the gangs catch phrases in Miller's story: "Slice n' dice."
It's a small moment, but one that fans of The Dark Knight Returns will likely recognize. And while it went unnoticed for viewers who have yet to be introduced to Miller's epic, those who heard it knew nodded in agreement and simply said to them selves, "He nasty. Balls nasty."
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth. The fifth and final season premiered on Jan. 3, and will run for 12 episodes.