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Clayface Just Gave Gotham Its Craziest Moment Yet

Gotham spoilers are below.

When viewers first entered the pre-Batman version of Gotham City that Fox was offering, they weren’t exactly treated to the most realistic show on TV, but it was still a less outlandish take on comic book mythos than some of its live-action counterparts like The Flash and (at the time) Constantine. But now that we’re traversing the final stretch of Season 2, Gotham is more distanced from real life as teenage Bruce Wayne is from cod pieces, as exquisitely evidenced by the final moments in “Legion of Horribles,” when the spooky new villain Clayface was basically transformed into Jim Gordon. So if you were holding out on watching Gotham until the batshit-crazy movie Face-Off served as an inspiration, now’s your time.

One of the small screen’s more ridiculous pleasures in recent months has been Gotham’s Dr. Hugo Strange, who injected some darkly tinged sci-fi and horror elements to the heightened crime drama by using the Indian Hills facility to raise dangerous criminals from the dead. And yeah, that was already seemingly the cream of the crop when it came to fantastical narrative elements, especially since the resurrected baddies had new personalities attached to their…brains or whatever. But then comes actor Brian McManamon as Caster Troy Basil Karlo, whose time in Strange’s care has turned his body stretchy and moldable, offering up a delightfully CGI-lite variant of the classic comic villain Clayface.

Rather than sending the shape-shifter quickly out into the wild as he did with Azrael and Firefly, the mad scientist has a different idea for Clayface’s first task as a revamped supervillain: become Jim Gordon. And all it takes is some kind of a big iron maiden-looking contraption that goes on his head and does some sorta-science mumbo jumbo and then ding, your pizza is ready. I mean, Basil Karlo’s new face is ready, and it looks exactly like Jim, who happens to be Strange’s current prisoner. It does take an entire five seconds or so for Clayface to perfect Jim’s growl-heavy vocal patterns, so obviously the technology isn’t perfect.

The reveal of Jim’s face beneath that machine was, in a single second, both shocking and hilarious, and it definitely stood up to this show’s weirdest and most left-field sequences. Sure, it wasn’t as gross as Fish Mooney spooning out her eyeball or as giddily maddening as Jerome’s proto-Joker, but in terms of driving the story forward, there has been nothing so freakishly odd as one character having his head morphed into Jim Gordon’s head for the purpose of criminal mischief. Even shows like Breaking Bad and The Sopranos never had someone’s head getting morphed into Jim Gordon’s head, and they’re considered modern classics.

The episode also featured Jada Pinkett Smith’s return as Fish Mooney, the first reborn villain that apparently retained past-life memories while also developing a new power. And we’re really hoping to get Mad Hatter by the time the season finale ends next week, along with a possible return from other past villains. But I can’t imagine anything else that Gotham can do in the immediate future that can out-bonkers Jim’s head getting Xeroxed onto another person’s body. That is, unless Other Jim has great luck on his conquests, making it so Clayface can stick around to do other face-swaps and body-morphs in Season 3 and beyond. This show can't have enough Donal Logue, so let's make that his follow-up project.

Gotham’s Season 2 finale will air on Fox on Monday, May 23, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.