GOTHAM, Season 2, Episode5 "SCARIFICATION" Review!
By Jarrett Kruse
You may remember the Wayne Enterprises executive fixer that took out the companies trash by the name of Bunderslaw. We open with Penguin having kidnapped the executive for Galavan who has Cobblebot under his thumb now that he has his beloved mother held captive. Confused, Bunderslaw has no idea what the dashing Mayoral candidate Galavan You may remember the Wayne Enterprises executive fixer that took out the companies trash by the name of Bunderslaw. We open with Penguin having kidnapped the executive for Galavan who has Cobblebot under his thumb now that he has his beloved mother held captive. Confused, Bunderslaw has no idea what the dashing Mayoral candidate Galavan wants with him but his sister Tabitha steps in and says, "left or right" which is gruesomely explained later. Penguin is becoming unglued with his mother held captive, his sick symbiosis with his mom is starting to seep through and he is becoming psychotic using any gambit in his arsenal to get her back safely. He even tries to flatter Galavan and his sister to please show some mercy and set his mother free but Theo is to smart for that. He has an important chess piece and is not about to let it go.
One of Penguin's counting houses is raided with Gordon, Bullock & Barnes in tow along with the new, young Strike Force. They take the Penguin for some $2 million putting Cobblebot even more on edge. During the raid, the GCPD is attacked by a rocket launcher of all things and Bullock & Jim explain to Barnes about "The Merc," a Costco/Price Club of sorts for criminals to buy their supplies at bargain prices. Theo Galavan tries to appeal to Jim Gordon's sensibilities as head of the police union to endorse him for mayor but the boy scout is adamant to not making any endorsements. Still, you get the feeling that by episodes end, Galavan will have scooped up Gordon adding him to his roster of chess pieces.
Edward Nygma is smitten with Ms. Kringle and is actually pretty smooth with her at this point and in his awkward manner, asks Lee and Jim to join them on a double date of fondue fun night! You can't help but feel a little happy for Ed and it seems his schizophrenic tendencies are at bay for now. Still, it was nice to see the two couples, especially Jim, take two seconds for himself to actually relax.
In the meantime, Tabitha brings Penguin a list of addresses to burn down. Butch, still under the Penguin's mind control from last season goes to find Selina so she can set up a meet with the Pike Brothers and their sister Bridgit, the cities best arsonists. However, Butch needs someone to vouch for him before hiring this young crew of firebugs. While one of the Pike brothers is at the aforementioned "The Merc" getting supplies for the jobs, a raid ensues and the young criminal is killed and all of the merchandise he just purchased, including himself, blown to bits.
On the first arson job, down a man, the Pike brothers use their timid "sister" Bridgit who uses Bunderslaw's eyeball to access a safe with a giant knife with the Wane family crest. It occurred to me that all of this has to be about Galavan's obsession with regaining his birthright. Penguin has control of the giant historical knife and Butch suggests that he goes to see Edwidge, a Gotham historian from his old neighborhood. Clearly, Edwidge is riled by seeing this knife and knows more than she is letting on. After some not so veiled threats from Penguin, she reveals the history of the knife.
It goes back 200 years to the high society of old Gotham when five families ruled the city. They were the Elliots (Hush anyone?), the Dumas (Clever name, I'll let you figure out), the Kanes (Bob Kane, creator of Batman!), the Crownes and the city's most powerful family, the Waynes. Celestine Wayne, the beautiful grand dame of the Wayne Family was promised to an Elliot for marriage. However at a society party, Celestine and Caleb Dumas disappear in a romantic tryst. When found, Celestine cries that Caleb took advantage of her and the Wayne men used the giant knife to cut off Caleb's arms. The Dumas family name were then ousted from Gotham and the Waynes wiped their name from Gotham City existence. The name the Dumas family was changed to cover it all up? Galavan. The new name was Galavan.
Jim and Barnes find that all five of the first fires lie had one thing in common, they were all Wayne Enterprises property. The Pike's guide Bridgit who reluctantly has to do the arson jobs now that her "brother" blew up and she is skinny and lithe enough to be their designated contortionist to get in and out of tight spots on their arson jobs. While being guided by radio as to how to set the fires, Bridgit begins to get a taste for arson despite her hate of fire. While preparing for the next job, she designs a flame retardant suit that makes her look an awful lot like the villain FIREFLY. The Pike brothers abandon their "sister" at the first sign of Gordon and company but while wearing the suit, she haphazardly uses the flame gun she fashioned and severely burns newly minted GCPD Strike Force member Officer Garrett. He dies from the severe burn wounds while Selina assists Brdigit in her escape presumably back to the Narrows.
Penguin is at the end of his rope and knowing that he still has mind control over Butch (I was never sure how that worked in Season One), he insists that he keep taking shots of booze. Penguin wants Butch to get loaded enough to go to Galavan and say that Penguin went nuts and that the count shop job was an inside job and that Oswald has lost it. Hoping he buys this, Butch will be an inside man for Penguin in Galavan's camp. But how to do that with such an obvious plan? It is just then that Penguin takes a Bowie sized knife and cuts off Butch's hand. OK, that should sell the plan to Galavan without any doubt as far as his loyalty. I have to think that Butch's mind control, which seems to steadily weaken with each episode, is going to eventually turn him back to normal. When it does he will be none too happy with Oswald Cobblepot and seek some kind of vengeance.
After all that has transpired, Gordon decides to make that endorsement to Galavan. I called it! Sweet! Now Theo and company have the full weight of Jim Gordon and the full weight of the police union behind him and his blood feud to clear his families name and ruin the Wayne's. When Galavan arrives home, he is met by Father Creel (veteran actor Ron Rifkin), clearly Theo's superior. I did my research to find any traces of Creel in Batman lore and came up empty. The only thing I do know is that they are all after Master Bruce Wayne, that is their end game.
All in all, I think that the "FIREFLY" debut was an absolute dud. It was a nonstarter that took us nowhere and was more of a tease than anything. I thought, "hey at least we'll get an action figure out of it," but if you blink, you will miss FIREFLY's very brief screen time. As far as the rest of the episode, it was good and gave us some more tepid backstory that to be honest I am not really interested in. We get that Galavan feels owed for his family building Gotham, but we don't need to know every last detail from two centuries ago. I think it is a mistake to exclude Bruce and Alfred from any episodes. We should always know what is going on with them and at least get a status report on them, the cave, the training, something. But we got bupkis and that bummed me out. I don't want to watch a political battle and scheming to be Gotham's #1 criminal, I want to see some background on just who is going to save the day when the time comes.