Episode 206 “By Fire”
[photos: Jessica Miglio/Fox]
A fascination with fire turns fatal, Nygma reveals a secret with less than positive results, and Penguin opens up a “Butch”er shop. One thing this show does not lack is crazy.
Butch is sent to Theo with a wild story of Cobblepot’s fury. His bloody stump bolsters his request for asylum and while Theo is skeptical, Tabitha’s eagerness to affix zany objects to him earns his approval. His infiltration is – ahem – cut short when Theo catches him searching for clues to the location of Cobblepot’s mother. I am actually saddened by this plotline; Butch had a lot of potential this season with his brainwashing likely coming undone. The comically bad prosthetic hammer is the first example that counters the show’s amazing aesthetic and design thus far.
Gordon is on the rampage and loses his cool, alarming members of the incorruptible Strike Force Alpha. Gordon is upset that Barnes is not fully supportive of his brash actions following the death of another officer. It’s a strange conflict between the two that makes it hard to tell who is the moral center of the show. Gordon is often in the gray areas, but Barnes’ lethal hit squad does not nominate him for captain of the year. We’ll have to see how these two characters influence each other over time.
On the run from her adoptive brothers, Bridgit shacks up with Selina and the two hatch a plan to earn some quick cash. This team up delves into the grey area of Gotham’s criminal underground where unscrupulous individuals rob and murder each other while climbing the ladder of survival. Bridgit is thrilled with her newfound power. Sadly, her brothers kidnap her, ending her attempted escape from the city. Tempted by the intoxicating power of she refuses to be stopped and shows the Pikes that fire is indiscriminate in whom it burns.
Selina later tries to convince Bridgit that she has options and that murder is not one of them. This scene caught me off guard, tugging at my heartstrings. It’s the unexpected emotional moments that can make characters relatable and is unfortunately limited and random in this series. If they could solidify moments like this the show might have a future.
Gordon identifies Selina in surveillance footage of the robbery and confronts her in an attempt to find Bridgit. The stand off is actually kind of intense and again delivers a spark that could light the fire under this series. Selina is hesitant to trust Gordon, revealing just enough for him to track her to her next target. Bridgit, now dubbed Firefly, manages to survive for two entire episodes before seemingly dying awash with flame. With a decent background developed one would hope we see more of her.
Nygma steps up his game, impressing Kristen. As the two get more comfortable exploring intimate avenues Nygma makes two fatal decisions. One: he reveals his involvement in Officer Doughetry’s disappearance. When she reacts with fear instead of gratitude he loses control and brings Kringle’s run on the show to an early and fatal stop. Chelsea Spack is wasted, as so many others have been in less than two seasons of this series. I would have delighted in seeing this relationship develop further.
Theo’s Machiavellian plot slowly churns forward as he manipulates Bruce’s emotions for his ultimate end game. Butch returns to Penguin with information about his mother’s location. He is wild eyed and frantic, urging Oswald to take action quickly before Theo learns of his deception. Not that anyone was fooled, but it’s clear that this last minute infiltration plot has turned against Cobblepot, but he is too focused on his mother’s rescue to notice.
The final scenes of this episode briefly explore a secretive operation called Indian Hill hinted at in season one. It is revealed to be a division of Wayne Enterprises and a testing ground for emerging metahumans. We catch a glimpse of several individuals that might be from Gotham’s rich history, including a fiery red head clad in black. Her identity and the remaining rogues are yet to come. Will the show grind through Batman’s villainous gallery each week until nothing is left? Only time will tell.