Things just took a grim turn in Gotham. By Fire was an episode that turned out to be a bit rough on the female members of the juvenile criminal community. Things also turned deadly for another female character who probably should have thought before freaking out in front of Mr. Nygma. Before the end credits roll things are very bleak and a particular bird-man is getting ready to take his troops out to rescue mommy.
Bruno Heller once agains teases us with his tendency to usher in characters that appear to be related to the DC Gotham verse. A female firefly was introduced and then, seemingly, discarded almost as quickly as Jerome “The Joker.” Although Bridgit Pike is not dead, the gender swap firefly has been sent to Indian Hill, a Wayne Enterprise facility where invasive testing, aka torture, of “monsters” is the rule of the day.
Poor Pike has been abused not just by her arsonist “family” but by Gotham’s finest as well. The kid looked to be ready to take on all those who bully and threaten the helpless only to get caught by Captain Barnes and the GCPD who wanted payback for the death of new Strike Force member Garrett.
The storyline for Pike (Michelle Veintimilla) was good. An abused and downtrodden girl whose adoptive family are a group of fire-bugs that bully her into submission. A little taste of power transforms the shy and awkward child into a homicidal human flame thrower. Turns out the kid likes the power of the fire and the fear it induces and death it deals by her hand.
Kudos to Veintimilla who pulls off the switch from timid victim to vengeful fire-starter effortlessly. Her expressions give the viewer her thoughts and feelings, just as that one eye tells us that Firefly is terrified as she is being wheeled into Indian Hills. This poor kid just cannot get a break. Just as she starts a little well-deserved payback to all those bullies, she is incarcerated with a fire proof body and destroyed visage.
Jim Gordon learns that his alliance with Captain Barnes is going to be an uncomfortable one. Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is a “black and white” cop. There is no grey in his view of the law, but as Gordon tells his new boss, “This is Gotham” if one were to look up grey in the dictionary, there would be a picture of the city in the definition.
Selena Kyle (Camren Bicondova) goes off the deep end when her friend Bridgit is kidnapped by her brothers. Getting tooled up she is approached by Gordon who promises her that if she lets the GCPD take care of things the girl will be protected. Sadly, Jim has made a promise he cannot keep, Barnes does not honor grey pledges.
When the Strike Force head down to the meat market where Firefly is torching the owner/auctioneer and releasing the caged female captives, things go wrong. A stray shot, an angry youngster with fire at her disposal and an exploding police car means that Jim’s promise to Cat cannot be kept, even without Barnes’ insistence that Gordon was out of line.
The female Firefly goes up in flames and later Gordon will tell Kyle that the girl is not expected to “make it.” Selena swears off making friends with cops and this presumably pushes her over the edge into full villainy. Bicondova kills it in her scenes with Bridgit and her slow tears in the scene with Ben MacKenzie as Gordon was an emotionally underplayed powerhouse performance.
As expected, Mr. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) blows it pretty spectacularly with Kristen Kringle and he ends up killing the woman, even as he swears his love for her. This was a doomed relationship from the start, Nygma was too socially inept to carry on a relationship with anyone, let alone the woman he killed for. This was heavy in the irony department and one felt sorry for Kringle, who really was a bad judge of character all around.
Kringle really was an odd one, seems her admission to Lee (Morena Baccarin) that she really liked a bit of rough, was not true after all. Once Ed confesses he murdered the abusive cop Dougherty poor Kris freaks out, despite that fact that she and Nygma just had sex in his bed. Cue one short exit for the woman who had very poor taste in men.
Butch manages to get into the employ of Galavan and becomes the plaything of Tabitha and Barbara. Later, sporting a mallet for a right hand, Butch is caught looking for Penguin’s mother. After being punished by Tabitha, the “Tiger Lady” locks him up. Gilzean (Drew Powell) escapes and reveals where Gertrude Kapelput is being held and Penguin rounds up his troops for a rescue.
One does wonder if Butch has been turned by Theo’s sister as the big man stands in front of the fireplace while Penguin ratchets a shell into his shotgun and gestures for his men to go. By the end of the episode, before we see poor Bridgit being wheeled into a room surrounded by screaming “monsters” and the city of Gotham is full of some very unhappy people. Selena and Nygma (who is cradling the women he just murdered, screaming) are two characters whose destinies have been shaped by this episode.
Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch the murder, madness and mayhem that Bruno Heller delivers on a regular basis. See just how Nygma’s killing of Kris Kringle turns out for the city and its denizens.