Gotham: By Fire – Killing Kris Kringle (Review)

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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.

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Cat tries to save her friend Bridgit.

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.

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Chelsea Spack as Kristen Kringle, sic transit Kris mundi…

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 Powellescapes 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.

 

Gotham: Strike Force – Ruffling Penguin’s Feathers

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Last week in Gotham, Penguin watched the antics of Jerome (who is apparently deceased after Theo Galavan shoved a knife in his throat) from afar and is now embroiled with the soon to be only mayoral candidate of Gotham City.   After Galavan turned up the heat by terrifying the local citizenry of the city with his Maniax, and winning the hearts of the locals as the hero of the hour, he now wants to officially  run the city.

There is a new captain in town, who is running GCPD,  Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis chewing up great chunks of scenery as the ex-marine bent on straightening out the police department) and he makes Jim Gordon his second-in-command. This move may actually come back to plague the detective when the department moves against the ruffled Penguin.

The new “king of Gotham” has his feathers majorly ruffled  now that his dear mother (Carol Kanehas been kidnapped by Theo and his sister.  Cobblepot “Call me Penguin,” is being forced to kill off the mayoral race competition. This move by Galavan may spell the beginning of his effort to rule the city but it could also mean the beginning of his own end. Penguin is, if nothing else, excellent at scheming and getting his way, not to mention getting rid of his own competition.

The little crime lord (king) is going mad with rage and,  despite Butch’s attempts to find Gertrude, the final scene of Strike Force shows that Penguin is close to breaking point.  Taking his mother hostage and threatening the only woman in Oswald’s life that means anything to him, has left Theo in a bad position, he just does not realize it yet.

In terms of women and love, Nygma has finally made his move on Kristen Kringle.  It turns out that the demur Kringle loves a man who takes charge, like her old, and dead, boyfriend cop.  Nygma just has not really made that connection yet. While his more forceful personality suggested he “take” her,  which led to his ordering Kringle to have dinner with him. it remains to be seen if the more mild mannered Nygma “has what it takes” to keep the lady enthralled.

Love gets a slap in the face when Selina (Camren Bicondova) drops by the prep school to greet Bruce after his day has finished. Alfred smacks the criminally bent street urchin (“That was for Reggie.”) and then tells her that his charge will be better off without her hanging around.

Later, when Bruce takes Theo to dinner as a thank you gesture, the young millionaire meets Galavan’s niece Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) and she looks set to replace Selina as potential love interest. (Especially since the character is a “recurring” squeeze of  Wayne’s in the DC verse.)   It is unclear at this point whether Silver shares her uncle’s interests in Gotham but it seems unlikely.

Oswald’s forced assassination of Claiborne, and his interaction with the Galavan’s  allows Butch (Drew Powellto shine in this episode. The two times  he stands out are firstly,  the scene where  Tabitha introduces herself to Penguin:

Tabitha: “My brother would very much like to talk to you…Alone.”

Butch: “Why you looking at me like that? You don’t know me.”

Penguin: “Relax, Butch. (to Tabitha)  He has issues. Bipolar.

Butch; (Explaining to his boss) She don’t know me, I’m just saying.”

The second “standout moment” for Butch is during the murder of Claiborne:

Butch: (Holding his arms around two volunteers) “Steady now, folks. Just think of blue skies and cornfields. That’s what I do.”

Female volunteer: ” Why are you doing this?”

Butch: (Sincerely) “Darling, I got no freaking idea. We’ve been doing crazy stuff all day long.

Later Butch consoles his boss and promises that they will find his mother, patting Penguin’s leg to comfort the tortured King of Gotham.  Gordon goes to confront the upset Cobblepot and gets threats from his “benefactor.”  While this is clearly not what James wants to hear, the truth of what Penguin says is clear.

When Captain Barnes learns of Gordon’s collusion with the criminal, things will not go well at all.

Barnes and Gordon go to the Gotham City Police Academy to recruit some special rookies for a special task force, aka Strike Force.  These new cops, untainted by any outside influence, will be used to clean up Gotham.  The “new kids” are good, they manage to stop Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) in his tracks, while he attempts to kill the remaining opposition candidate for mayor. 

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Selina given her marching orders from Alfred.

By the end of the episode Nygma has “got the girl” (another highlight of the episode was the future Riddler playing the David Lee Roth song Just a Gigolo while preparing his meal of love), Selina is not too happy with Alfred’s actions and Bruce seems to have a new infatuation at school. Jim Gordon is in a tight spot and Penguin is screaming out  his frustration and rage.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX, tune in and revel in the DC darkness…

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