In this episode of Gotham, “Rise of the Villains: Scarification,” Oswald searches for a way to defeat Theo Galavan, Selina reunites with an old friend and a new villain is born.
Penguin kept up his end of the bargain and disposed of Theo’s fellow mayoral candidates, but Penguin has yet to be reunited with his mommy, and Theo continues to get Penguin to do his dirty work for him.
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Penguin Pleads with Theo
Penguin’s latest errand involves delivering Mr. Bumderslaw to Theo. Penguin tries to negotiate with Theo but gets shot down. Theo doesn’t want to work with Penguin; he wants Penguin to work for him. And Theo refuses to release Gertrude, even though Penguin swears complete allegiance and subservience to Theo. So Penguin waddles away with nothing to show for his trouble and instructions from Theo to stay by the phone.
The Strike Force Strikes Again
In another part of Gotham, Captain Barnes, Gordon and the “strike force” lead a raid on a money-laundering operation, costing Penguin a cool $2 million. This is just not Oswald’s day.
The bust goes pretty smoothly, with the exception of the guy who shoots a rocket launcher at the cops. Barnes is gobsmacked, but ever the pragmatist, Bullock tells his captain, “Welcome to Gotham.”
Theo Asks for a Favor
Theo continues to play the role of upstanding citizen when not behind closed doors. He goes to see Gordon at the precinct and puts on a convincing show of being traumatized at having killed Jerome. An attempt to bond with Gordon and perhaps trying to gauge how unflappable Gordon really is.
After firmly applying his lips to Gordon’s ass, Theo asks for Gordon’s endorsement. He is, after all, the president of the Policeman’s Union. Gordon doesn’t have anything against Theo; he just doesn’t have anything for the guy either. “Police and politics don’t mix.” Gordon tells Theo.
Penguin isn’t one to remain under anyone’s thumb for long, so he’s working out a plan. In the meantime, Tabitha comes to see him with his next task. She gives him a list of places he needs to burn to the ground. Not sure if arson is a step up or down at this point.
Butch pays a visit to Selina, who has found a dingy little spot to hole up in, complete with a litter box. Butch needs her to vouch for him with a couple of fire bugs known as the Pike brothers, who reside in the narrows.
The Pike brothers are still loyal to Fish, convinced the ex-Gotham underboss will one day return. They have no love for Penguin or Butch, but everyone knows how much Fish liked Selina, so her face can open an otherwise closed door. Selina gets some milk money for her troubles. Or should I say cream?
Business is business, so the Pike brothers agree to do the deeds. While there, Selina can’t help but notice how the Pikes love to verbally abuse their younger sister, Bridgit. Bridgit and Selina used to hang out, you know, when they were kids.
After a tongue lashing and a literal kick in the ass, Bridgit steps outside to compose herself. Selina follows her and makes some small talk. It’s clear Selina wants to provide some sort of comfort, so she just advises her old friend to stay strong.. We’re looking at a new villain in the making.
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A Pike Goes Up in Flames
Next on the strike force’s to do list is the Merc. It’s where all the cost-conscious criminals go to stock up on supplies. The place sells everything from machetes to night-vision goggles to muzzle guards. Their tagline is “The one-stop shop for all your personal defense needs.”
Even though the proprietor of this fine establishment is arming criminals, he bribes members of the city council, which enables him to stay in business. But the days of looking the other way are over now that Nathaniel Barnes is in town.
The strike force comes down hard and fast on the Merc. One of the Pike brothers happens to be stocking up and has just shoved some kind of explosive down his pants when the cops arrive. He takes off, and Gordon corners him and the fire bug draws a gun. Gordon shoots and this particular Pike gets blown to smithereens.
And in Other News
In an odd subplot, new couple Kristen Kringle and Edward Nygma are in the market for another couple to hang out with. Nygma hones in on Lee and Gordon. Lee invites Nygma and Kringle over for fondue. It’s hard to tell which idea Gordon hates more, spending an evening with Nygma or eating melted cheese out of a pot.
A New Villain Begins Her Ascent
The remaining Pikes aren’t exactly mourning the death of their brother. Their main concern is the inconvenience his demise is causing. They need an entry man, someone skinny who can climb through air vents and up fire escapes.
They get the brilliant idea to use Bridgit. She begs them not to involve her, reminding them she’s scared of fire. But this is the family business, they remind her. It puts bread on the table.
Bridgit argues that she’s not family. She starts to mention her mom, but the eldest Pike, Joe, cuts her off, saying Bridgit’s mother was nothing but a “ho.”
He gives Bridgit a choice. She can help them out or, since she’s not “family,” he can sell her to the highest bidder. Bridgit begrudgingly agrees to step in.
As if arming explosives isn’t bad enough, Joe springs a last-minute task on Bridgit during her first job. Theo removed one of Bunderslaw’s eyeballs, and Bridgit has to take it out of a box and use it to access a safe. Once she gets it open, she grabs a knife that’s inside and flees the scene, leaving the eyeball behind. Bridgit cuts it close and suffers a minor burn on her leg.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and since every super villain needs a kick-ass outfit, Bridgit begins to design one of her own. She’s interrupted by Selina, who has come to pick up the knife for Penguin.
Selina isn’t pleased to find out Bridgit has joined her brothers. But crime agrees with Bridgit, and she’s bolder after setting five places ablaze in one night. She tells Selina that starting fires is exciting and she’s kind of enjoying it. Selina warns Bridgit that she’s going to become bacon.
Bridgit is basking in the glow of her brother’s approval and tells Selina that the Pikes told Bridget she did a good job. Selina reminds her that they aren’t her brothers; Bridgit’s mother just used to bang their old man. Selina urges Bridgit to go it alone, citing her own freedom as a success story.
Bridgit takes Selina down a peg when she reminisces about a younger, more vulnerable Selina, just a very young girl with snot and tears running down her face, searching high and low for her mother.
Bridgit questions the point of freedom if you’re alone, and Selina counters, what good is a family if you’re a slave?
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Edwige and the Incredible Knife
Penguin is befuddled by the knife. He recognizes the Wayne family crest on the handle and can’t figure out what Theo could possibly want with the artifact. Butch suggests Penguin pay a visit to a woman named Edwige. She’s an antique dealer in his old neighborhood, and she’s in the know.
Two-hundred years ago, the knife was used to commit a horrible crime. Back then, five families ruled Gotham high society: the Elliots, the Kanes, the Crownes, the Dumas and the Waynes. Celestine Wayne was the “crown jewel of Gotham.” She was promised to the eldest son of the Elliot family, but Caleb Dumas had his eye on Celestine as well.
One night, Caleb and Celestine went missing, and some of the Wayne men found the two in a compromising position. Caleb swore she was with him by choice, but Celestine claimed that Caleb forced himself on her. As punishment, the Waynes used the knife to cut off one of Caleb’s lower arms, seize the Dumas holdings and banish them socially.
The Waynes made sure building and street names were changed; remnants of the Dumas family were forced to change their name. The Waynes wiped the Dumas out of Gotham’s history. And what did those remaining members of the Dumas family change their name to? Galavan.
Penguin’s Plan A
Penguin, who is growing increasingly paranoid and reclusive, thinks he may finally have Theo by the short hairs. Even though Edwige warns him that he’s swimming in deep waters, Penguin tells her that’s where penguins thrive.
Penguin confides in the only person he thinka he can trust, Butch. Penguin says Theo’s actions are being fueled by the need to get revenge against the Waynes. Theo’s acting out of emotion and that can be manipulated.
Penguin orders Butch to go to Theo and tell him that Pengin has lost his mind and is accusing him of setting up the money-laundering raid. Penguin wants Butch to beg Theo for a job. Once Butch is on the inside, he can find Gertrude and rescue her. Pretty simplistic and hard to believe Theo would buy it. Butch points this out. Galavan will never buy that Butch turned traitor. Penguin points out Theo doesn’t have to believe it; he just has to believe that Penguin believes it.
Just to ensure that Theo buys what they’re selling, Penguin uses the knife to cut off Butch’s forearm.
It doesn’t take Gordon long to figure out that all of the buildings that were burned down belonged to Wayne Enterprises. Given the Pikes’ pattern, he also has a good idea where they’ll strike next.
A Female Firefly
His hunch is right on the money. The Pike brothers have upped the ante, and Bridgit has graduated to using a flamethrower. As soon as she steps out of the van, the jig is up. Her brothers take off, leaving Bridgit to fend for herself. She tries to use the flamethrower to defend herself and accidentally sets one of the strike force members, Garrett, on fire. In her defense, she did ask them politely to step back.
The chaos that ensues enables Bridgit the opportunity to escape. It also helps that Selina is on hand to help her friend out of a jam.
The strike force is dealt their first blow when Barnes informs them that Garrett died. But there’s no crying in police work. They’ll mourn Garrett later. Right now, there’s a cop killer on the loose.
Everything’s Coming Up Roses for Galavan
As luck would have it, Theo is in the building. Gordon has had a change of heart. The criminals in Gotham aren’t playing by the rules. The cops need to be more “creative,” and they need to have people in positions of power to back them up. Theo promises to be Gordon’s personal politico, his go-to guy. So Gordon agrees to endorse Galavan for mayor.
Theo arrives home and a shadowy figure awaits him. His name is Father Creel, and it becomes apparent that Theo has paved the way and his “brothers” are on the way. “Warriors like this city has never known.” Sounds like lots of new villains. And they’ve all got their eye on young Master Wayne, so here’s hoping Alfred is ready.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)