In just one of several dozen ways Gotham is like the 1984 film Gremlins, there are three hard and fast rules to living safely and successfully in this city: 1) Don’t work at the docks unless you want to witness a murder and/or be murdered, 2) If a high-school-aged billionaire offers to buy your nightclub you do it, that’s a great deal, and 3) Never, under any circumstance, RSVP “yes” to any gathering, ever. The chances of attending a fancy soiree in Gotham City without a vaguely themed criminal threatening you and your loved ones with bodily harm is zero. You can’t even throw a Sweet 16 without a guy wearing, I don’t know, an armored bear costume popping out of the cake and strangling the MC with the karaoke mic wire. It’s tragic, but it’s the rules, and it’s an well Gotham has gone to often over its four seasons.
But whoo boy, “Let Them Eat Pie” somehow topped the bonkers level of every charity-banquet-turned-slaughter that came before it, and that’s including the time a deranged man in a top hat gave everyone LCD because he wanted some of his sister’s magic blood. Honestly, it’s better if I just lay out Professor Pyg’s grand plan exactly how it happens. To demonstrate the injustices heaped upon Gotham City’s downtrodden, Pyg first rounds up a collection of Gotham City’s downtrodden and immediately murders them. He transports their corpses to one of the several abandoned factories that I assume make up 90% of Gotham’s land area and cooks them into pies. Then, using a series of elaborate costume mustaches, Pyg weasels his way into Sofia Falcone’s benefit for orphans and forces the assembled hodgepodge of wealthy citizens—Penguin included—to chow down on vagrant flesh.
The ensuing dinner table scene is Gotham at its most beautifully absurd; it’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd meets just so much cocaine. First and foremost, I have to once again praise the straight up balls-to-the-wall effort from Michael Cerveris (a Sweeney Todd on Broadway alum himself) as Pyg. The man performs a legitimate little musical number—the “Meat Pie Tango,” a great title for a Gotham fanfic, I call dibs—but manages to seamlessly switch gears (and voice pitch) into downright menace, threatening a small mute child with a butcher’s cleaver and driving a knife through Sofia Falcone’s hand.
Unfortunately, there are two things Pyg didn’t quite count on; the fact that most of Gotham City’s richest citizens have probably already eaten at least one homeless person before, and Jim Gordon quickly deciphering a series of clues based on French history and a Jonathan Swift essay that Jim Gordon would definitely, definitely not have ever read.
Now, I don’t love the fact that Jim stealth-crawled his way into the party instead of calling Sofia and saying, “the meat pies is people,” especially because the opening moments of the episode featured Jim and Sofia talking on cell phones. But I do find it funny whenever Gotham forgets Jim Gordon is just a regular dude and his rigid ass becomes a ninja warrior. And I definitely can’t fault the dinner-table-top brawl between Jim and Pyg, because it’s its own sort of ridiculous fun; Pyg crawling over the food on all fours like a, well, like a pig was some genuinely jarring horror film imagery.
In the end, Pyg is subdued and shipped off to Arkham—a place he will definitely not escape using a series of elaborate wigs and a song from Into The Woods—and Jim finally gets to hear the words “Hey, you’re an alright police captain” from someone other than his naked reflection. Unfortunately, he lets his guard down enough to once again kiss Sofia Falcone right in plain site of Penguin’s mute orphan spy. Right, Penguin recruits that mute orphan Martine as a spy. This was a busy episode.
What’s important is that Gotham only has two chapters left until its mid-season finale. We’ve already gotten pig-themed murder, Frankenstein’s monster competing in underground MMA, and a jaunty showtune about cannibalism. Hold on to your undercrackers, I cannot wait to see how Gotham closes this one out for the winter.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
-You know an episode is stacked when a hungover Bruce Wayne stranding Alfred in the woods doesn’t even make the main recap. But man, this was effective, emotional stuff from Sean Pertwee and David Mazouz. “Stop trying to be my father and start acting like my butler.”
-Shout-out to the rich asshole who, when faced with a homicidal man in a pig mask wielding a butcher knife, still found it within himself to laugh at an orphan in trouble. Pyg is like, “I will straight up gut this child in front of you” and that dude chortles. What a Herculean show of restraint from Gotham’s costume department to not give that man a monocle.
-I don’t buy that the assembled Gotham press would flip a switch on Gordon’s captaincy after one successful case. It’s not like the GCPD never caught anybody when Harvey was captain. Mad Hatter! Jerome! Hell, the guy who was captain before Harvey turned into a homicidal rage-monster and even he’s in Arkham right now.