The headline ‘Gotham Resurrects A Dead Villain To Play A Different Villain’ could have been used last season, when Penguin ex-henchman, Butch (played by Drew Powell), was resurrected in a chemical swamp to become Solomon Grundy. Astoundingly, it’s happened again. This time Penguin henchman, Mr. Penn (played by Andrew Sellon), will be resurrected to become The Ventriloquist! This marks a long history of death meaning nothing on the show.
The Ventriloquist is perhaps best known from his appearances in ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, although he is most recently hinted at with a brief glimpse of Scarface in DC Universe’s ‘Titans’. Scarface is The Ventriloquist’s dummy, which takes on the more violent persona of The Ventriloquist’s mind. Whereas The Ventriloquist is meek and passive, Scarface is mean, aggressive, and lives up to his name in being a formidable mob boss.
It’s unclear where another criminal leader fits into the show with so few episodes left or how Mr. Penn returns from the dead in the first place. One can assume his return has something to do with either a Lazarus pit or Dr. Hugo Strange who, I guess, is a walking resurrection machine. Whatever Mr. Penn’s role moving forward, it will certainly involve a clash with the Penguin, who he didn’t part with on the best of terms.
The most iconic version of The Ventriloquist is a man named Arnold Wesker, who Mr. Penn probably is not. As with the aforementioned Solomon Grundy and even the arc of Bane this season, ‘Gotham’ takes liberties mixing and matching Batman characters. In the comics, other people have also taken the name The Ventriloquist. The character was originally reported to not be appearing on the ‘Gotham’ when showrunner John Stephens implied that they were unable to fit him in, but they managed to make it work even with the majority of Batman’s rogues gallery making appearances.
‘Gotham’ airs Thursday nights on Fox at 8:00 p.m. The Ventriloquist and Scarface will make their debut on the February 28 episode, fittingly titled “Nothing’s Shocking.”