Last week’s episode of Gotham season 5 contained a reference to one of the most seminal Batman graphic novels ever made, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. It’s typically a favorite of various screen adaptations of the hero – both The Dark Knight Rises and Batman V Superman owe it a debt – but we didn’t expect Gotham to draw inspiration from it.
After all, Returns stars an elderly, over-the-hill Bruce Wayne, while the prequel series focuses on young Master Wayne’s teen years. Yet, episode 5×03 “Penguin, Our Hero” did indeed pay homage to Miller’s magnum opus. When Bruce and Selina Kyle travel to the Dark Zone of the No Man’s Land that the quarantined Gotham City has become, they encounter a vicious criminal gang led by a gigantic man (Sid O’Connell) wearing a futuristic visor and metal headpiece. He isn’t named in the episode, but comic fans will recognize him as the Mutant Leader.
Check out a screenshot in the gallery below and see for yourself:
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In TDKR, the Mutants are a dangerous new gang that cause havoc in Gotham, forcing the retired Bruce to suit up and take on their leader. Though it took all of the mature Batman’s might to beat him in the comics, the Mutant Leader on Gotham was brought down by the teenage Selina. To be fair, she was desperate to find out where Jeremiah Valeska was, after he shot her last season.
The Mutant Leader isn’t the last comic book foe we’ll be seeing in the show’s fifth and final season, either, as soon Shane West will be joining the cast as Eduardo Dorrance, an old army buddy of Jim Gordon’s who – spoilers if you’ve managed to miss all the promotion about this – will end up becoming Bane. Or at least a version of the man who broke the Bat’s back, as he’ll look pretty different from the classic villain.
Suffice it to say, there’s much to look forward to this season on Gotham and it continues this Thursday on FOX.