This week's episode of Gotham, "Mommy's Little Monster," brought with it major changes to characters, with significant acceleration in storylines for Penguin, Galavan, Gordon, Selina, Bruce, and most of all, Edward Nygma.
SPOILERS ahead for the episode!
In addition to Nygma's big change and Penguin being brought way down, there were a lot of nods, easter eggs, and references in the episode. Here are the biggest ones we caught.
Gotham likes to repeat injuries and tie them thematically together. In this episode, Theo Galavan gets cut in the neck on the mirrored side to that which he stabbed Jerome in the neck. We've also had too eye removals, and Kristen's hand was severed, mirroring Butch's injury from a few weeks ago (he even leaves his hand behind, just as Dark Nygma left the hand behind for his other to find, furthering the metaphor). Of course, she won't miss it much.
Because she's dead.
This one might be reaching, but a marquee-style poster for a "Zelda" was in the background in Nygma's apartment. This might be a reference to "Zelda the Great," an escape artist-turned villain in two episodes of the Batman 1966 series.
The Riddler Question Mark Envelope
You didn't miss this one. While Edward Nygma has had an affinity for riddles in the first season and change, this is his first actual riddle clue.
As actor Cory Michael Smith pointed out to us, there's a beauty to the fact that his first time using riddles/clues to torture someone is to torture himself.
The Riddler's clues almost always come in some combination of green and purple, and they stayed true to that here with clue #1 appearing in a purple envelope with a green question mark on it.
Judge Turnbull issued the warrant for Penguin and his goons, and also extended the Marshal Law powers to new Mayor Theo Galavan.
As we've posited before, Turnbull may be of the Turnbull family, whose ancestor Quentin was a villain who consistently bumped heads with Jonah Hex. Could this be a backdoor to have a time-traveling Jonah Hex come to the show? Well, probably not, but it did happen in the comics. In fact, Hex in the New 52 spent time in the old newly-settled Gotham, so this Turnbull could be revealed to have ties to the Dumas (see: Galavan) family.
Mott Haven Grill
The place that Butch and his oh-so-temporary new crew go to hold up?
Well, that's actually the name of a real restaurant in New York. The Mott Haven Bar and Grill is in the Bronx and has 4.1 stars out of five on Google reviews, 4 out of 5 on Yelp, and 5 out of 5 on Seamless. We're assuming Gotham's production team didn't actually shoot up the joint, but they strangely only offer swiss cheese now.
Sorry for the cheesey joke. Oops, did it again.
"My Ancestors Were Swordsmiths/Trial by Fire"
Theo Galavan lies a lot, but his final speech to the press after the chaos at his Mayor induction gala had a couple fun little hints and nods to his true name: Dumas.
The Order of St. Dumas, as we've discussed at length, is a splinter of the Knights Templar - so it's completely conceivable that Galavan's ancestors actually were swordsmiths. Swords, and in particular swords wrapped in mystical flame, are also very important to the family, as they're the chosen weapons gifted to their Azrael, the Order's top warrior.
And remember, EP John Stephens told us that Azrael, in some way, shape, or form, is coming to Gotham. This little nod is what Gotham does so well.
The Riddler: Straight Outta Arkham
Dark Nygma’s conversation at the end of the episode is straight out of the Batman: Arkham series of video games, complete with jump-cuts, little echoes, and even a very game-like flashing in and out of his visage.
That was something we saw and heard the very first time he showed up. It's a nice nod to Rocksteady Studios and their work on the games, and the narcissistic manner of the Riddler. More than anything, the Riddler sees himself as above other people, meaning he wants to appear godly or otherworldly. In this case, as well, it was like the "Dark Nygma" was being tuned on a TV or Radio antenna, eventually coming into perfect sync with his lighter half.
And thus, the new Nygma - and perhaps the Riddler - was born.
The Closer to the Bone
That jazzy tune playing while Nygma searched for his dead girlfriend's body was an interesting juxtaposition. It, after all, was incredibly upbeat for such a delicate situation, almost making it farsical.
The song was "The Closer to the Bone (The Sweeter is the Meat)" as recorded by Louis Prima. The lyrics don't make much contextual sense - the verses are actually about a man being told his girlfriend is too skinny, and him arguing he just likes 'em that way. The context of that chorus line (the titular one) when he grabs the saw at the end is... disturbing to say the least.
Ultimately, it's a "fun" song, and meant to demonstrate that Nygma feels his most alive when dealing with riddles and investigation. And it's delightfully creepy.