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Spoilers for Gotham’s latest episodes are below.
Having simultaneously jumped head- and feet-first into its post-realism comic storytelling in Season 2, Gotham is now at a level where just about anything can happen, with “raising criminals from the dead complete with personality implants” as just the tip of the iceberg. One of Hugo Strange’s upcoming “patients” will be Basil Karlo, better known to Batman fans as Clayface, and our first look at the character below immediately enters the running for creepiest Gotham visual.
How is this not part of a deleted scene from one of David Cronenberg’s late 1980s flicks? Nothing about the image looks like it belongs in reality. The first sign is obviously the putty cheeks being pulled away from the skull like that. Then there are those white-out eyeballs, where one clearly has no clue what’s going on, along with that awkward mouth shape that looks like it’s producing an eternal groan. And what’s up with those hands appearing to belong to a different human, except for that bulge on one of them?
Played by Brian McManamon in the episode “A Legion of Horribles,” Clayface seemed like he might be a difficult villain to bring into live-action, given his most non-human appearance and all the shape-shifting. But it was apparently only an issue of figuring out the most suitable CGI to use, and I’m sure there are some much weirder things that’ll happen to ol’ Basil’s face during the episode itself that wasn’t worth showing in promo images. I’m hoping he pulls his bottom lip over his head, or eats a dozen Warheads candies and his sour-face spontaneously combusts. It could be that I don’t understand how clay works.
Here’s another image from the episode that doesn’t have the stretchy skin, but has an even more unnerving gape-mouth from the inmate. Seriously, this is just behind Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Clayface was first announced for Season 2 last year in the same breath as the Mad Hatter. And the last episode of Gotham featured a huge clue that the Lewis Carroll-obsessed baddie is on the way. And we can also anticipate Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney returning in the same episode that Clayface shows up in. Throw in Azrael and Mr. Freeze and Riddler and everyone else in Gotham City’s underworld and there might not be a need to add any new rogues in Season 3. Not that it would stop anyone.
Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox, with Clayface’s debut coming in the penultimate episode on May 16.