TV Review: Gotham - Season 2 Episode 6 "By Fire"
Season 2 Episode 6: "By Fire"
Synopsis: 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.
Recap: Gotham has many faults but there has been one that was absent this season...until tonight. Last year, plot threads and twists were introduced in one episode with expectations for a long running narrative only to have them neatly wrapped up the following week. Over the first five episodes this season, Gotham's writers managed to make things engaging and keep you on the edge of your seat for the next episode with cliffhangers and suspense sorely lacking in it's freshman run. Last week introduced Ed Nygma and Kristen Kringle as a couple, gave us the origin of the villain Firefly, and began Penguin's long con on Theo Galavan using Butch. I expected this week to continue the framework of all of those stories but, sadly, this week marked the abrupt conclusion of all three.
First up, we have Bruce Wayne investigating the arsons at Wayne Enterprises facilities as well as the death of his rookie Strike Force officer at the hands of Bridgit Pike. Gordon manhandles a suspect only to be brought into Captain Barnes' office for using excessive force. Michael Chiklis' character has seen reduced screentime the last couple of episodes, but his White Knight message of law and order has brought out a little bit of the Gotham in Jim Gordon who was squeaky clean last year (well, at least in his own mind). Gordon soon learns that Selina Kyle is involved and that Bridgit was acting under duress. Gordon promises to try and help Selina's friend, but we all know how that usually ends up.
Turns out that Bridgit is fed up with the abuse at her brother's hands. Selina teams with Bridgit to rob a sex club to get enough money for her friend to skip town, but her brothers find her and bring her home. Bridgit finally snaps and kills them both before vowing to Selina that she is going to kill the bullies and perverts in Gotham. Long story short, after some pretty cool fire scenes, Gordon and the GCPD show down with Bridgit only for the abused girl to accidentally set herself aflame. Back at his apartment, Gordon tells Selina what happened and the young Catwoman vows to never trust or speak with Gordon again. I am pretty sure she has promised this before and eventually came on back. Her parting gift to Gordon is to tell him that Penguin hired the Pikes which makes him question the reason why the King of Gotham would do such a thing.
With Selina's part of the tale done, we switch to Penguin who came up with the brilliant plan to send Butch undercover as Theo Galavan's new servant. He even chopped the guy's hand off to make it seem more realistic. But, Galavan sees right through Butch's orders to save Mrs. Cobblepot and has his sister Tabatha fix his brainwashing. Aside from getting a mallet to cover his stump, Butch returns to Penguin with false information that Galavan needs to be taken now, sending the paranoid gangster to rally his troops for what will surely be a fool's errand. Galavan is definitely the smartest villain on this series and, guess what, also an original character not based on a DC Comics creation. Imagine that. Galavan also continues to ingratiate himself with young Bruce Wayne and offers himself as surrogate family to the young millionaire. Galavan's plans are the most intriguing this season as we still don't have all the pieces to put together yet, but it seems that Bruce definitely trusts him which will likely drive a wedge between him and Alfred.
With Butch's mission also wrapped up a bit too quickly, we turn to the relationship between Edward Nygma and Kristen Kringle. The pair of geeky lovers finally had things going well last week during a double date with Gordon and Lee Thompkins, but Ed overhears his girlfriend telling Lee that she can tell he is holding something back and is a little too nice. Ed then shows a bit more force during their date which gets Kristen in the mood. After sleeping together, Kristen tells Ed she is still worried her ex will come around to hurt her which ends with Ed confessing that he killed him for her. Expecting her to be okay with it, Ed is shocked that Kristen calls him a psycho and a murdered before trying to leave his apartment. Ed grabs her by the throat and covers her mouth as he pleads with her that he loves her and would never hurt her. He is then shocked to find he just strangled her to death. Ed's mournful screams as he holds Kristen's body is one of the most striking scenes this series has ever had. What comes next is a mystery (or a riddle?), but I would expect the transformation from mild-mannered Edward Nygma to famous Batman villain to kick into overdrive in the next few weeks.
Despite a couple of good scenes with Harvey Bullock, including the return of Ivy Pepper, Donal Logue is still being underused this season. But, I will never look at taquitos or BBQ the same way after his lines this week. The biggest tease this week came at the very end of the hour with Bridgit Pike burned but still alive with the orderlies wheeling her down a hospital corridor calling her "fireproof". They also say that is why they are going to experiment on her. We then see several quick glimpses of people being tortured and operated on before a sign reveals that they are at Indian Hills, a division of Wayne Enterprises. Could this be the source of more villains in Gotham? Possibly even the Joker? It definitely piqued my interest for what is coming next. While I wish the series would stop wrapping up subplots so quickly, this hour definitely had more going for it than against it and continues to mark improvement since last year.
Episode Final Verdict:
Next Episode: "Mommy's Little Monster" airs November 2nd - Butch leads Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and his men to the warehouse where Gertrude (Carol Kane) is being held, as Penguin plots his revenge on Galavan (James Frain) for kidnapping his mother. Meanwhile, Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) deals with the aftermath of a deadly accident.