Last Monday's episode of Gotham ended with a peak into a facility even more corrupt and horrific than Arkham Asylum, the follow-up to a verbal reference that was dropped back in Season 1. Nearly an entire year ago, Sal Maroni handed over a Gotham warehouse called "Indian Hill" to Carmine Falcone in exchange for Penguin's life. And the gone-but-not-forgotten Fish Mooney provided some context, calling that square of the Arkham grounds "a toxic waste dump" that sits over "an Indian burial ground." Any allusion to "Indian" curses should be met with a strong eye roll, but fans know now that what happens at the secret site has nothing to do with mystical stereotypes and everything to do with human-initiated mad science. ComicBook.com reported that Gotham cast B.D. Wong as Dr. Hugo Strange, a notorious DC villain, and I have to predict he'll have a strong hand in Indian Hill's experiments. But who is Hugo Strange working for, and why?
Gotham gave me little to go on with that short glimpse of the facility. But what I do know is that Firefly, aka Bridgit Pike, as scarred as she may be, is of value to the project. Most of the city assumes her dead, but the Indian Hill orderlies refer to her as "fireproof," since her skin and her suit melded together. Fox told ComicBook.com that Hugo Strange "harbors a dark secret" though he "appears altruistic," and that the cover for his monster-building experiments will be an attempt at "rehabilitating" the city's most dangerous criminals. The official word from the network is also that Indian Hill is owned by no other company than Wayne Enterprises, and may be part of the board's morally corrupt agenda that Bruce's father likely died for meddling in. But if I know Batman lore like I think I do, there has to be an archvillain who's pulling the strings here. Evil boards of directors just don't make for great TV.
In the DC Comics universe, Hugo Strange is often depicted as having an unhealthy obsession with Batman, to the degree that he even dons his own batsuit on his days off. With Bruce still navigating puberty, the villain/hero fixation won't look the same on Gotham. But I wonder if Strange could be another friend to the Galavan dynasty. What better revenge on the Wayne family than to destroy the city under their own banner?
The Observer asked Gotham producer Rebecca Perry Cutter for some hints on what future havoc the Indian Hill lab will bring, and she hinted at a destructive presence to come.
Well, we learn Indian Hill a freaky, top secret underground lab where weird experiments are happening. And there’s going to be a big character coming down the road that is going to be associated with it. But I can’t tell you who. This is the first hint of it, but there will be a lot more to come.
This interview hit the internet four days before the addition of Hugo Strange was announced, but I still doubt that Cutter is talking about the doctor. Another guess can be supported by the "toxic waste" element of the Indian Hill origin story: is this where Gotham will finally create the Joker? And if the Joker is on the Galavans' side, how can Jim Gordon and the splintered GCPD be an even match?
Images: Nicole Rivelli/FOX; Giphy