TV Review: Gotham 2×06 “By Fire”

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Tragedy is an underlying theme within the world of Batman. Not only was Batman himself born out of a tragic event, but so were some of his villains.  Batman: The Animated Series excelled at providing sympathetic motivations and origins for many members of the rogue’s gallery. Last night’s Gotham felt more in line with the former series than it did with its own universe. It wasn’t entirely successful with providing a character arc for Bridgit Pike/Firefly. Her transition from helpless servant to driven vigilante was a little too quick for my liking. Given that she wasn’t killed off by the end of the episode, I am willing to forgive her rushed origin.

Her penultimate fate at the end of the episode was effectively brutal. Gotham has matured with its depiction of violence throughout the second season. Gone is the cartoonish overtone in favor of darkened consequence. Seeing something as horrible as a full body scorch happen to a tortured young girl was genuinely unsettling. I wasn’t as invested in her road to confronting the GCPD. Bridgit murders her “brothers” and then decides to become a costumed avenger. She talks about her desire to “burn bullies” but it felt like an erratic shift for her character. While she survived her incineration, both Gordon and Selina believe her to be dead. Selina’s reaction to Gordon’s confession at the end of the episode was a well-executed scene for Selina. I haven’t been crazy about how she’s been utilized during most of the show’s run. Now, she holds a legitimate grudge towards Gordon at least until Bridgit returns.

Where does this leave Bridgit? I’m actually a little confused regarding her whereabouts. The final scene of this episode is Bridgit arriving at Indian Hill (which has been branded by Wayne Enterprises). I had to do some backpedaling to deduce exactly what this place is. It turns out that it was a building that Falcone had purchased from Maroni during some kind of deal. Now, it’s under the banner of Wayne Enterprises. I don’t know exactly why but it can’t be for good reasons. As Bridgit is being carted around the various corridors, little glimpses of other curious people are shown. We see someone with a reptilian complex (Killer Croc perhaps) and some woman who I have no clue about. My concern about this is there’s potential for yet more future villains to surface from. Having them all stored in an underground complex is a little too convenient for my liking.

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If you’ve been following my reviews of Gotham, you know then that I’m not a fan of how this show has depicted Edward Nygma. Somehow, they finally gave me something worth investing in. Ed’s relationship with Kringle reached a deadly finale with Ed unknowingly choking her to death. Once again, there was an underlying motif of tragedy to this occurrence. Ed was seemingly horrified by his actions as if he had no control over his body. Perhaps, it could be that his other side is taking over his body. I haven’t cared for the Tyler Durden-esque depiction of Nygma until now. It remains to be seen how this character evolves into the future Riddler. As of now, I am finally curious to see what happens when Gotham chooses to follow him.

Along the lines of Nygma, Bruce’s presence here was worthwhile. Watching him spar with Alfred with little reservation was a very fun scene. He also furthers his connection with Theo Galavan and Silver. Galavan is once again emphasized as the smartest and most cunning adversary thus far. He sees completely through Butch’s story of defecting from a paranoid Penguin. He even gets a mallet hand for his troubles. It’s a bit cartoonish but for some reason it didn’t bother me like I was initially expecting. Maybe I am just glad that we didn’t have to suffer through a lazy undercover plotline. Based on Butch’s return to Penguin towards the closing minutes, things may not bode well for Mrs. Cobblepot.

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After being somewhat derailed from my positivity towards this season, I feel like the show capitalized nicely on this two-part story. There were occasionally some poorly written moments and I didn’t fully buy Bridgit’s arc. Everything else has been firing on all cylinders (no pun intended) and I’m eagerly anticipating the evident showdown between Penguin and Galavan.

 

Rating: 9/10

Matt is a 21 year old film buff and recent graduate from The University of Rhode Island. Growing up in a small town in the smallest state, Matt began developing a taste in film and general geekdom at a young age. After years of watching various DC and Marvel animated television shows as a boy, Matt has become quite the afficinado in the realm of comic books. Towards the end of middle school, Matt began delving into the world of film by watching anything he could get his hands on. Nowadays, his tastes range from classic film noir and the mindbending works of David Cronenberg to the latest trends on the independent scene. Don't worry; he's still one for the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC animated adventure. Comics aren't the only source of literature Matt enjoys. He can sometimes be spotted reading the works of Stephen King or even the plays of William Shakespeare. As an aspiring film critic and screenwriter, Matt is always looking for inspiration and new ideas.