Last week on Gotham, Galavan was causing all sorts of problems for The Penguin and he, in turn, was causing all sorts of problems for the city. At the same time, our favorite Cobblepot was trying to figure out a way to rescue his mother and take his enemy down once and for all. Gordon was running about with his new team trying to clean up the mess, including the arrival of a new villain named Bridget, AKA Firefly. And in the background, Galavan was busy running for mayor, securing a sacred knife, inviting some of his estranged family members to Gotham and planning the murder of Bruce Wayne. This week, ‘By Fire’ promises a lot more Firefly, along with some serious darkness. Scroll on for all the spoiler-y goodness.
We begin with Butch having his job interview with Theo Galavan. He does a good enough job of convincing the wanna-be mayor that he gets invited into the household. Unfortunately, Galavan just isn’t that stupid. He figures out that The Penguin is behind Butch’s defection and then uses his sister’s unique talents to convince him to switch sides. Then Butch runs right back to The Penguin with news of where his (former?) boss’s mother is located. Cobblepot prepares for war, but what he’ll really end up running into is likely a trap. We have to wait until next week for that one.
While this is going on, Gordon and his new team hunt around in an attempt to figure out who the girl with the flamethrower is. Lucky for them, Firefly and Selina make a raid on a sex trafficking warehouse in an effort to get some quick cash so that Bridget can get the hell out of town. In the process of throwing fire around, the pair of misfit young ladies get caught on video – video that goes right back to the GCPD.
After a bit of footwork and a talk with Selina, Gordon finds our wayward firebug. Unfortunately, Bridget’s brothers have grabbed her up first. They’re pissed at her and ready to put her back into slave mode, but she has other plans. Bridget suits up and lights her asshole siblings on fire. Good riddance, I say.
Gordon shows up just in time to find the aftermath but not quick enough to find Bridget. So again it’s a talk with Selina to find out where the little firebug has wandered off to. As it turns out, Firefly’s conscience is killing her and she’s gone right back to the sex trafficking place, only this time she’s there to light people on fire. When Gordon and team show up to stop her, things go bad. The end result is that Gordon is forced to break his promise to Selina about keeping Bridget safe from harm. The firebug lights herself on fire and is presumed dead.
So it’s left to Gordon to tell Selina what happened. She’s none-too-pleased, naturally. But she does let it slip that it was The Penguin who hired the firebugs in the first place. The truth of Bridget’s fate is worse than Selina could ever imagine, however. The girl, now permanently fused to her fireproof suit, has been shipped off to Indian Hill, a Wayne Enterprises genetic testing facility.
In the meanwhile, Bruce and Alfred train a bit. Galavan kisses Bruce’s ass even more, offering to help little Batman clean up the corruption in Wayne Enterprises. And, perhaps the biggest mind-fuck of Gotham thus far, Nygma finally reveals to his new girlfriend, Miss Kringle, the truth about her former boyfriend. Needless to say, she doesn’t take the admission well and things get out of hand…
This episode was pretty much back-to-back awesome for its entire 42 minute run. It was great to see the moral dilemmas of Selina and Bridget. The decisions they make today will determine the people they become tomorrow and it’s cool to see the process and how it differs from one girl to the other.
Gordon has a similar issue, although his has more to do with his acceptance of the fact that the city of Gotham is one big grey area and the subsequent resolution of that belief with the strict up-and-up policies of his new boss. One can’t help but imagine Harvey Bullock snickering at the karmic retribution here, being as how Gordon is now forced to deal with a meaner, higher ranking version of the self-righteous butthead he used to be in season 1.
But the highlight of this week was by far the final meeting and departure of the Nygma and Kringle affair. This was one of the darkest things to ever take place on Gotham and it paints the future Riddler as a terribly tragic figure who you can’t help but sympathize with. The entire scene was acted to near-perfection by Cory Michael Smith, a man who will surely leave future audiences and actors with a benchmark for Riddler performances to come.
My only beef with this week was that the Butch infiltration story arc played out more like an excuse to get him a mallet hand (which was wonderful, btw) than anything else. They could have easily manipulated The Penguin into falling into Galavan’s trap in a number of more believable ways, but they chose to have us buy in to Butch being counter-brainwashed by Galavan’s sister in the span of like 10 hours or so. Then again, this could all be a ploy and Butch could still be loyal to The Penguin… we can always hope that the writers were a little more far-sighted than they appear to have been.
Next week, the shit really hits the fan. ‘Mommy’s Little Monster’ promises a war of Penguin vs. Galavan vs. Gordon and, if they do it right, plenty of dead bodies. If we’re even luckier, Gordon might finally figure out Galavan’s true motives and we won’t have to deal with his flat, generic villain performance for much longer… Check out the trailer for next week below.