Gotham (2013) season 2, episode 6
WRITER: REBECCA PERRY CUTTER
DIRECTOR: TJ SCOTT
AIR DATE: October 26 2015
"By Fire" concludes the arsonist storyline on Gotham in a dramatic way, while carrying on with moving plot lines forward. First we have Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), who has Butch (Drew Powell) inserted into the Galavan circle in an unlikely (and painful) way, all in the endeavours to save his captive mother. It’s a mistake, one thinks, to back the Penguin into a corner (unless you’re a Dark Knight, in which case, pound the little cretin into next week).
Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) has been moving forward in his relationship with Kristen (Chelsea Spack) as of late - the Riddler gets lucky! And yet we see him moving towards a point he shouldn’t be moving towards; there are occasions when honesty is not a good idea. It ends in a rather shocking way, perhaps also driving Edward even further over the edge.
The story of the Pikes continues to play out this time out. The brothers are abusive to the point where the audience feels nothing but sympathy for their sister Bridget (Michelle Veintimilla). Even if she did commit a horrible crime last time out, she’s utterly trapped, a victim in her own right, and we can see her for the terrible situation she’s in. Certainly Selina (Camren Bicondova) is more than sympathetic to her friend, which is a good thing to see.
There’s a conflict of sorts that arises between Selina and Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as a result. She wants to help her friend escape the abuse she’s under, and Gordon is understanding of that, even sympathetic. And yet as a cop, he’s trapped in the job - he can make her a promise, but if his superior doesn’t back him up, his word doesn’t matter. By episode’s end, the two are in a place where whatever trust there was is broken, and it feels permanent.
Two performances really make the episode flow. First, Veintimilla’s role as Bridget is tragic, and gains our sympathy, even as she goes over the edge. Abused and terrorized by her family - people she’s supposed to be able to trust - where she goes through this is completely understandable, and so she even retains the sympathy of the audience after she’s done terrible things. Incidentally, the design for what’s basically a costume - the Firefly uniform - really looks good.
Camren Bicondova’s played Selina from the beginning of this series, and the actress plays the role as tough, street smart, independent, and trusting of next to no one. Every once in awhile, we see the heart of the character, a rare thing, but it is there. Here she acts selflessly, to help a friend, one of the rough and tumble girls of Gotham, and in the end her pain and hurt is exposed bare. As rare as it is, it’s refreshing to see out of her.