Who Is Reggie On 'Gotham'? Alfred's War Buddy May Become A Very Important Figure
We didn't exactly need a mysterious, grizzled, hard-drinking, tough guy type to arrive and prove that Gotham's Alfred has a sketchier and more exciting past than the average DC Comics butler. Regardless, Reggie Payne showed up in the Gotham episode "Red Hood" to get close to Bruce, lightly threaten Alfred, and meet with the towering examples of humanity who make up the board of Wayne Enterprises. In other words, the group of well-heeled men and women who are plotting to wrest control of the company from a recently orphaned little boy (classy). The episode's synopsis indicates that Reggie will return Monday night in "Beasts of Prey," Gotham's first episode back after a hiatus that, to be honest, has really been stressing me out.
I assume we'll learn more about Reggie's connection to Wayne Enterprises and exactly how far back that relationship goes. That brief boardroom scene at the end of "Red Hood" hinted that Payne is the company hitman, which is even more sinister when you consider his relationship to Thomas and Martha Wayne's most trusted friend. If Reggie was chosen because of his familiarity with Alfred and the family, is it that much of a leap to theorize that his hitman duties included taking out Bruce's parents himself? Also, am I supposed to believe that it's a coincidence that Payne and Wayne RHYME? Wake up, America.
OK, fine. If that little observation won't support my theory, then maybe the DC Comics universe can help. The problem is, Reggie Wayne doesn't show up at all in that Batman mythology, at least not by that name. Gotham the series seems quite determined to connect the threads of all of their characters to denizens of the world of grown-up Bruce. Maybe Reggie becomes one of those canon villains somewhere down the line. But who?
Redditors are hard at work in the "Who is Reggie Payne?" thread. But so far, all attempts at linking Payne to a comic counterpart have hit major snags. User rewdog22 points out that a Preston Payne takes on the identity of "Clayface" in certain books. But nothing about the disfigured villain's origin story lines up with the beginnings of Reggie. And he looks perfectly normal to me, face-wise. With a little work at the gym, Reggie could develop that Bane bulk, but again, the backgrounds don't connect. A major, major piece of Bane's super villain development is the decades he spent in a South American prison. There's no indication that Reggie shares that experience.
One of the places where Gotham is sure to deviate from its comic book roots is in the identity of the Waynes' killer. The entire first season so far has put a heavy amount of story emphasis on that murder, and on it being so more indicative of the corruption of the people who run the city, rather than the trickle-down effect to Gotham's petty criminals, which is the usual story. The Waynes' murders are often linked in Batman mythology to desperate mugger Joe Chill, but Gotham is building to something much bigger than that. I'm putting my money on Reggie, who I believe is working on behalf of a group at Wayne Enterprises that is seeking a coup. That would make the seemingly senseless, random murder of Bruce's parents more of a targeted execution, and put Reggie in the middle of Gotham's big mystery.