Who Is Aaron Danzig on 'Gotham'? Amygdala May Be A Better Name For Jack Gruber's Sidekick

When Jack Gruber escaped from Arkham Asylum, the electrical genius was smart enough that he knew he couldn't do it all on his own, so he brought along a fellow inmate. But the Electrocutioner's sidekick, Aaron Danzig may not be just any mental patient. He seems to be a version of Batman villain Amygdala, an incredibly strong, aggressive bad guy with limited brain function. As we saw in last week's episode, Gruber experimented on Danzig with applied electricity in the halls of Arkham Asylum, and his experimentation turned him from a mentally damaged man with a single past violent outburst into a raging maniac who helped him kill Gerry Lang and Nurse Dorothy Duncan in order to facilitate their escape. Now the once nonviolent inmate is at the beck and call of a psychopath who intends to wreck his revenge on all of Gotham City.

In the comics, Amygdala is the victim of a different type of botched brain surgery. Aaron Helzinger, which sounds a lot like Aaron Danzig, was a violent criminal who underwent an experimental removal of his amygdala, the piece of the brain that controls emotions, in the hopes that it would stop him from going into homicidal rages. Instead, the procedure went horribly wrong, and only succeeded in putting Helzinger into a constant, violent rage. That, combined with his huge stature, makes him almost impossible to physically restrain.

Amygdala usually joins up with another, more intelligent villain who uses him for muscle. That's what Gruber is doing on Gotham, but if Danzig really is Amygdala, in later episodes we could see him at the behest of the Ventriloquist, the mobster with Dissociative Identity Disorder (otherwise known as a split personality), who expresses his criminal activity through a small dummy. Even a guy with a dummy can be a well-respected criminal mastermind if he has a rageaholic giant by his side. Amygdala has also been pitted against Batman, who was able to defeat him with his quick reflexes.

But Amygdala's not always all bad — in some comics, he's able to counteract the effects of the botched surgery and take enough medication that he can become a kind, gentle person who even partners with Nightwing, the alias of the adult Dick Grayson, the first Robin. In the comics, Amygdala eventually turned back to crime, but out of desperation, not because of uncontrollable rage. So there's hope for Danzig, even if he does take up this mantle. He could end up a useful piece of muscle for the young Batman, or, at the very least, live a peaceful life in the hopefully more secure Arkham Asylum. The future may still be bright for this Electrocutioner acolyte.

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