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Wrapping up Professor Pyg's arc results in a dull Gotham

Illustration for article titled Wrapping up Professor Pyg's arc results in a dull Gotham
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • This week’s cold open sees Professor Pyg dressed as a Rabbi and handing out food to the homeless of Gotham. Unfortunately for said homeless folks, he’s feeding them poison, using their organs to prepare a grand feast for later in the episode.
  • With Gordon now officially starting as Captain of the GCPD, it looks like we’re not getting any closer to some sort of resolution with Harvey Bullock. In fact, his old partner clearly feels betrayed, telling Gordon that he has no idea what he’s getting into as the new Captain. Bullock blames everything that’s happened in recent weeks and months on Jim’s inability to kill Penguin back in the day. It’s obviously a stretch, but it shows that the divide between their different approaches to fighting crime in Gotham has only widened over their time together.
  • Bullock and Gordon aren’t the only ones at odds. Penguin has grown suspicious of Sofia, thinking that she has to be the one that bribed the Mayor to get Gordon promoted.
  • I’m mostly enjoying Sofia’s storyline because I feel like it’s one of the rare times that a character is allowed to play right down the middle. While I’m certain Sofia is only in this for herself, and that she doesn’t much care for Gordon or Penguin, I’m conflicted about what her other motivations may be. Sofia is a character that acts as a necessary middle-ground between Gordon and Penguin, between the do-no-wrong hero and the dastardly villain. In essence, she’s been a good addition to the show.
  • For the most part, this episode is a significant step down from every that came before it. I think the fact that it’s the end of the Professor Pyg arc is the problem. Gotham has told its more compelling stories in the build-up to this episode, and “Let Them Eat Pie,” partly out of necessity, is focused solely on catching Pyg. There’s no Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina, nothing else with the fight club. Integral, entertaining pieces are missing.
  • At least we get the continued moral decay or Bruce Wayne. Not even a camping trip with Alfred to honor the late Thomas Wayne manages to get him out of his funk. While the story of a young vigilante struggling with his first kill is a little overdone at this point, the wedge it’s driving between Bruce and Alfred is fascinating. Their relationship is being tested in a new way, which is a welcome development.
  • I thought it was weird that Lucius Fox mentioned what “A Modest Proposal” is all about and yet didn’t outline that it’s satire. Jim’s just like, “oh cool, somebody proposed that people start eating each other.”
  • Bruce talking to Alfred like his butler rather than his friend breaks my heart. “Now clean this place up,” he says before storming out to meet with his horrendous friends.
  • Sofia’s charity dinner for the orphanage acts as the perfect place for Professor Pyg to execute his masterpiece. Once he’s holding the super rich partygoers hostage, his plans start to sink in. Penguin: “These pies are made with...” Pyg: “People. Yep. They’re people pies.”
  • That leads to some truly revolting shots of the partygoers eating the pies. It’s no The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, but it’s effective nonetheless.
  • Again, “Let Them Eat Pie” doesn’t really accomplish much in terms of storytelling. There’s a slight deepening of the conflicts already taking place, with one new development: Martin becoming a spy for Penguin. He sees Sofia kiss Gordon, and immediately reports back to Penguin. It’s a wrinkle in Sofia’s plan that’s been coming for awhile now. While “Let Them Eat Pie” does conclude the Professor Pyg arc, it also feels like a table-setting episode. Pieces are being moved around for the midseason finale. That’s all well and good; it’s just not that compelling.

Kyle Fowle is a freelance writer based out of Canada. He writes about TV and wrestling for The A.V. Club, Real Sport, EW, and Paste Magazine.