TV Recap: Gotham, ‘Scarification’

Gotham2

Scarification Plot Summary:

Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) strike force is tasked with catching a group of arsonists orchestrated by Galavan (James Frain) to take down buildings associated with Wayne Enterprises.  Meanwhile, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) tries to learn what Galavan is after in order to find his weakness.

All of the episodes of Gotham so far have been high octane, fast-paced.  This was a nice change of pace, as “Scarification” served merely as a set-up episode, or to be more accurate, a Gotham history lesson.  It also allowed us to have some good character interactions outside of the main storyline.  One of the worst aspects of the show last year was the revolving door of lame villains of the week.  This season has done a great job of building up villains, and keeping them around for a while.  This episode was no different as it developed its take on a quasi famous Batman foe.

Gotham Villains
Photo Credit: FOX

In the comics, Firefly dressed like a metallic firefly and burned things.  That’s it.  He was okay, but Gotham actually offered us something different, with the biggest change being the character’s gender.  Michelle Veintimilla plays Bridgit, an abused sister from a family of arsonists.  Her arc is pretty standard, but it was well executed.  I love that this character is bleeding into next week as we can really go full steam ahead with her as a villain.  What also makes her story compelling is her past relationship with Selina (Camren Bicondova), who was also great this week.

There wasn’t much of a presence from Selina the first few episodes, but the last two weeks have certainly given her the spotlight.  She was smart-alecky as ever, including some great scenes with Butch (Drew Powell), another character who’s been background material.  Butch had some great episodes last year, so I’m glad they haven’t forgotten this guy.  This episode made a point of reminding us about his loyalty to Fish Mooney, and his brain washed ways in allegiance to Penguin.  Unfortunately for Butch, Penguin does a not so nice thing to him by the end.  Let’s just say there was a lot of screaming and knife play in this episode.

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

Speaking of Penguin, he’s going a bit bonkers. He’s scared for his mother, but also mad as hell about being powerless against Galavan. It seems everything has gone wrong for poor Penguin this season, which means his rise will be that much sweeter by season’s end. The seeds have already been planted for this, as we learn more about Galavan’s overall plan.

The Gotham history lesson was interesting, but it shows that Galavan isn’t the standard “This city is evil, and I can do better by being more evil” type villain that we’ve seen a hundred times.  I was worried that would be the case here, but the fact this is a more personal vendetta fleshes out the plot and character.  I’m completely into this villain now, and he even swindles Gordon!

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

I’ve always enjoyed Gordon and Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) chemistry from the very beginning, and because this episode wasn’t so jam-packed, we finally got some nice scenes between them. Gordon is also forced to have a double date with Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Kringle (Chelsea Spack). That was amusing.  I’m not surprised Nygma would be a fan of fondue. More importantly though, Gordon goes through a nice arc by the end of this episode, setting up a major relationship to be sure.

While slow at times, this was a solid putting the chess pieces in play type episode, complimented by good character moments.  I even liked Galavan’s sister (Jessic Lucas) in this one, who I don’t think I’ve mentioned once in my reviews.  So there you go.  Tabitha Galavan did something.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good) 

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow’s fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.