Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of Gotham season 4…
Apart from being a play on words which recalls the classic film with Al Pacino and John Cazale, ‘Hog Day Afternoon’ bears little resemblance to that heist movie. Focus is very much on dirty cops, femme fatales, murdered authority figures and one man in a hog head. There is the ongoing subplot of Solomon Grundy and Ed Nygma alongside a re-emerged Lee Thompkins, but the real story lays with our opera loving murder.
Double dealings and under the table negotiations go hand in hand as Penguin and Sofia Falcone continue their one-sided courtship dance, while Barbara, Bruce and Alfred are conspicuously absent. Once again this is a dirty, dark, seedy street level drama, all drifting manhole steam, soft focus killings and theatrical overtones. Whoever this new adversary is he has become an intriguing prospect early on, who seems unconcerned with spilling copious amounts of claret. What you get beyond the darkness is a real sense of character within this city as Gotham feeds into the narrative.
Talk of last season and the Tetch virus tip a hat and create lineage and legacy which gives this series breadth whilst moving it away from comic book territory. Character interaction also adds a realism to the show as Gordon and Bullock are drawn closer together, while Jim lays down the law on his croaked police beat buddy. Similarly uncomfortable allegiances are forged as circumstance dictates the course of action for Thompkins and Nygma. There is no drag, no unnecessary padding and plot threads move along at a noticeable clip without feeling rushed.
New comer to the game Sofia feels like a veteran cast member already and has grasped Gotham by its lapels, whilst also leading Penguin into murky water. Thankfully any suggestion of romantic entanglement between herself and Gordon has been laid to rest as it was superfluous and. Her role as manipulator, female temptress and backroom gangster suits proceedings far better and also feels more believable. Thompkins on the other hand may have the dark and dirty image which belies a kind and caring underbelly, but has been sold short.
Being relegated to a backroom slum doctor having grown into something approaching dangerous come the end of season three, this feels a touch disappointing. Dark and dangerous seemed like an intriguing modus operandi considering her contempt for Gordon and everything that went with it. What we get at the moment is Lee Thompkins in limbo with a guilty conscience which somehow lacks the punch of her previous persona. Beyond that though one would hope Nygma gets his noodle back, Grundy experiences an epiphany and that hog head wearing henchman gets to do more than turn Harvey into whispering Bob Harris. Only time will tell.