TV Review: Gotham - Season 2 Episode 5 "Scarification"
Season 2 Episode 5: "Scarification"
Synopsis: Galavan and Penguin join forces with a dangerous family in Gotham. Then, as the rivalry between the Waynes and the Galavans resurfaces, Gordon struggles to maintain order in the city.
Recap: Gotham takes another turn for the Burton with this week's outing which is absolutely not a bad thing. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and Arrow are all steeped in more serious universes, Gotham continues to stride a balance that blends the gritty elements of Christopher Nolan's DARK KNIGHT with Tim Burton's BATMAN. Once again, I am not saying that Gotham holds a candle to either of those big screen franchises, but it is definitely creating a mash-up of both of them. With this fifth episode, there are over the top moments that harken back to BATMAN RETURNS while exploring the criminal underworld hinted at in THE DARK KNIGHT.
Captain Barnes, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Bullock continue the GCPD Strike Force's attack on Penguin's assets this week which brings them face to face with a series of crimes instigated by Theo Galavan and The Penguin. Penguin continues to beg and plead for his mother's release but Galavan refuses, sending the crime boss off to do his bidding. Penguins sends Butch, still brainwashed into doing his bidding, along with Selina Kyle to hire the Pike Brothers, Fish Mooney loyalists and the best arsonists in Gotham. Giving them the eyeball of Wayne Enterprises executive Bunderslaugh, the Pikes stock up on explosives at a criminal Costco store called The Merc. This goofy setting is basically to setup Barnes and Gordon shooting at one of the Pikes who has C4 in his pants and proceeds to explode.
The death of the young Pike brother also sets up their adoptive sister, Bridgit Pike, to do their dirty work. Bridgit is meek and quiet but soon realizes she likes playing with fire. Pike will eventually become the Batman villain Firefly who was traditionally male in DC Comics. But, her introduction here is not as belabored as some bad guys last season and therefore works a lot better. The goal for the first arson spree, all Wayne Enterprises locations, yields an antique knife that Theo Galavan wants in his possession. Penguin is confused and anxious to find a way to stop Galavan and brings in Edwige, an antinques dealer, to explain why the knife is important.
In one of the biggest backstory developments to date, we learn that the knife belonged to the Wayne family and was more than 200 years old. Back in the 19th Century, there were five powerful families in Gotham: The Elliotts, The Kanes (nice not to Batman creator Bob Kane), The Crowns, The Dumas, and The Waynes. According to the tale, The Waynes were the most powerful of the five families with their beautiful daughter Celestine engaged to a member of the Elliotts. But, Celestine was in love with Caleb Dumas. One night, the two lovers were caught by Celestine's family and she claimed Caleb forced himself on her. The Waynes then used the ceremonial knife to cut off Caleb's hand. Then, using their power, The Waynes struck the Dumas family from every record in Gotham and shunned them from the city. Now, can you guess what the shamed Dumas clan changed their last name to? You guessed it, Galavan.
Armed with this knowledge, Penguin now puts his revenge plot into motion, cutting off the hand of Butch and sending him to Galavan as a spy to undermine the mayoral candidate. Gordon and his team get a call about another spate of arsons and catch Bridgit in her knew fireproof suit armed with a flamethrower. Earlier, Selina tried to convince Bridgit to leave the Pikes but she insisted that she was liking the life of crime. When the Strike Force arrives, the Pike brothers abandon their sister and she accidentally burns a GCPD officer alive before escaping with Selina. With a cop dead, you can imagine the hunt for Firefly will kick into gear next week.
Overall, this was another solid hour for Gotham's retooled second season. There was a lot less GCPD this week with the focus being on Penguin and Galavan. There was a continuation of Edward Nygma's plot as he and Ms. Kringle had a double date with Gordon and Leslie Thompkins. Everyone seemed surpised that Nygma was acting cool which can only mean his full split will be coming very soon. There was no Bruce Wayne or Alfred scenes this week, but with the closing scene between Theo Galavan and a mysterious priest indicating that the end game will be the death of the future Batman, I wouldn't expect his story to be dormant very long. My only quibble this season is the under-use of Donal Logue with his Harvey Bullock a highlight of last season. You can count his scenes and lines this season on one hand and I hope that doesn't last much longer.
Episode Final Verdict:
Next Episode: "By Fire" airs October 26th - After Bridgit Pike rejoins her brothers, a new spark of courage ignites within her, as she chooses to take control of her future. Meanwhile,Kringle and Nygma’s relationship will take a new step and Penguin andGalavan continue to battle for control of Gotham City’s underworld.