Ok, so I think I am starting to figure out where the show is going with this Rise of the Villains subtitle. I was a little skeptical after the loss of my “Joker”, Jerome Valeska, but now I can sort of see a pattern forming. I’ll get into the details of my theory a little later.
At Theo Galavan’s lair, Butch recites his lines in front of Tabitha, Theo, and Barbara. Butch displays his acting chops as he tries to convince the esteemed panel of judges that he is no longer working with Penguin. He explains to them that Cobblepot turned on him out of misplaced paranoia and chopped off his hand. The trio is skeptical of Butch’s story, but they can’t deny the fact that he is indeed missing a hand. Butch explains that none of Theo’s henchmen know the streets of Gotham like he does and he could be a really huge asset despite having only one hand. Theo, Tabitha, and Barbara deliberate briefly and come to a unanimous decision. Because Tabitha and Barbara really want to experiment on what’s left of Butch’s severed limb, the three agree to make him a member of the team. What a bizarre interview. Behind Butch, a congressman has been balancing atop a wobbly stack of books, trying desperately not to fall and be hung by the noose tied tightly around his neck. Apparently, Theo has left the congressman no choice but to support him in his campaign for Mayor or die. The congressman agrees to the terms and his life is spared while Theo gains another reluctant supporter
Jim and the GCPD Strikeforce have hit the streets looking for information on “Firefly”, the arsonist responsible for killing their fellow cop. Gordon has reverted back to his extreme interrogation tactic of using force to get the answers he desires. The two young members of the Strikeforce continuously warn Gordon about the officer conduct regulations he is clearly ignoring, but he’s made it clear that he doesn’t care. You can’t really blame Gordon for being upset, but he really should get a grip. It’s safe to say that Captain Barnes will not be pleased by his actions.
Bridgit Pike, Gotham’s newest arsonist, has been bunking with Selina Kyle ever since her run-in with the Gotham City Police Department. Bridgit would like to start her new life without the torment of her “brothers”, but being wanted for murdering a police officer will make that extremely difficult. Selina suggests that her friend leaves town to start fresh. The two quickly brainstorm and decide that they need to make some easy money fast. Bridgit is reluctant at first, but she really has no choice.
That night, the two pint-sized criminals attend what looks like an auction. Chained women are lead in front of a rowdy crowd of people and auctioned off as sex slaves or worse. Bridgit wants to save the women but Selina reminds her about the task at hand. They need to get inside, rob the merchants and get out quickly. Selina and Bridgit burst into the auction and demand all the money. Selina wielding a gun and Bridgit armed with her signature flamethrower easily get in and out with the money in hand.
Jim Gordon is in disbelief as he is written up for the excessive force he has been using to interrogate suspects. Nathaniel Barnes comes down on Jim like a disappointed parent. Barnes tells him that illegal activity is a line that definitely shouldn’t be crossed for any reason, but Jim still doesn’t agree. Gordon knows some lines just have to be crossed when dealing with the criminals of Gotham. Speaking of criminals, Barnes shows Gordon some footage picked up by a security camera last night. Much to Gordon’s disappointment, the film shows what looks like the Firefly has teamed up with his acquaintance Selina. Without explaining anything to Barnes, Gordon rushes off to find her.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred are sparring. Alfred is seeing some definite improvement in Bruce, but he still doesn’t feel like he’s ready to move to the next phase of his training. He tells Bruce that Silver, Theo Galavan’s niece has invited him to dinner. This completely catches Bruce off guard and Alfred is able to take advantage of the opening by socking him right in the face. He was just trying to prove that Bruce still isn’t ready.
Doctor Leslie Thompkins and Kristen Kringle are having what seems to be girl-talk inside of Dr. Thompkins’s office at the GCPD. Ed Nygma is just outside the door listening in on Kristen as she tells Leslie about her negative feelings about her ex-boyfriend. She says that she could care less if the Detective was dead in a ditch somewhere. Coincidentally, he is indeed dead at the hands of her new boyfriend Ed. Kristen wishes Ed could be a little more dangerous or at least open up some more. Ed hears this and you can see the lightbulb go off in his twisted head. He walks into the room and invites Kristen to supper at his place.
Return of the Pike Brothers
Harvey Bullock pays a visit to Ivy Pepper. Because she is friends with Selina Kyle, Harvey believes she may be able to give him the whereabouts of Selina and Bridgit. Ivy gives him the whereabouts and he relays the message to Gordon.
Selina and Bridgit get to the bus stop and share one last hug before Bridgit boards the bus to freedom. A familiar looking van speeds around the corner and screeches to a halt, feet away from where the two girls are standing. Selina encourages Bridgit to run away but it’s too late. The Pike Brothers jump out of the van and grab Bridgit. Selina puts up a fight but the two manage to get away with her friend.
Later that day, Jim Gordon bursts into Selina’s home but she’s waiting for him with a shotgun. After a brief stand-off. She reveals that Bridgit was an unwilling participant in the criminal activity around Gotham and it’s not her fault the cop was killed. Gordon can tell that Selina is invested in Bridgit’s safety and thinks she might do something stupid in an attempt to rescue her. He gives Selina his word that he will do anything in his power to keep Bridgit safe, but he needs her to trust him enough to tell him where she is located.
The Pike Brothers are elated to have Bridgit back in their home. They waste no time in getting back to their tormenting ways. After stealing the six thousand dollars Bridgit was going to use to skip town, the two bullies berate her for trying to ditch their criminal family. One brother promises that if Bridgit ever attempts to leave town again they will kill her and skin Selina alive too.
When Butch touches base with his master, The Penguin, we find out he has been equipped with a large mallet where is hand was formerly attached to his arm. This is no doubt the work of Barbara and Tabitha who were very eager to see what kind of weapons they could attach to Butch’s “stump”. Butch reports that the plan has worked thus far and that he has been welcomed into Theo Galavan’s operation. Penguin is still not pleased because Butch hasn’t gotten any information on the location of Oswald’s mother. He orders Butch to stop making excuses and do whatever it takes to find his mother.
Meanwhile, the Pike Brothers have made the fatal error of underestimating Bridgit. The two men are startled to see her standing in their living room aiming her flamethrower directly at them. Bridgit, fed up with all the bullying, takes action, burning the Pike Brothers to a crisp. When Gordon and Bullock arrive at the scene it’s too late. Barbecued Pike Brothers are found on the floor and Bridgit is nowhere to be seen.
Butch is at Theo Galavan’s lair trying to gather information when Theo walks in and catches him. Theo quickly realizes that Butch was brainwashed by Penguin and he can’t resist following his every order. Tabitha thinks she has the remedy for Butch’s condition. Theo reminds her that they have to attend dinner in an hour before leaving Butch at his sister’s mercy.
Gordon goes to Captain Barnes to try to make good on his promise to Selena. He tells Barnes that Bridgit was an unwilling participant in the crimes and he hopes they can bring her in safely. Barnes isn’t having it. He wants Gordon to find Bridgit and take her down by any means necessary.
Selina finds Bridgit sitting on a rooftop the top frequented at a young age. Selina attempts to make small talk, but her friend is fixated on making adjustments to her trusty flamethrower. Bridgit seems to be reveling in the murder of her brothers and it’s clear she has snapped. She wants to use her flamethrower to go after all the bullies who pick on people weaker than them. Selina begs her friend not to do anything crazy, but Bridgit already has her mind made up. With one last hug, Selina tells Bridgit goodbye and leaves her to make the decision on her own.
After finishing her business with Butch, Tabitha joins Bruce, Theo and Silver for dinner. Once Tabitha wipes what we can only assume is a drop of blood from her cheek, the four continue their dinner. Silver tells Bruce that he should come over more often to hang out.
Wining and Dining
At Ed Nygma’s apartment, Ed is once again wining and dining his girlfriend Kristen. He has taken note of Kristen’s desire for him to be edgier by being a little bit more aggressive with his flirting. Kristen is definitely pleased by the sudden change and she allows him to lead her over to his bedroom.
Back at the police station Gordon receives a call from Selina. She tells him she knows where to find Bridgit. She has returned to the scene of the auction her and Selina robbed days ago to free the enslaved women and punish the men behind the men in charge. The Strikeforce arrives and Gordon attempts to negotiate with Bridgit, but she refuses to go quietly. She wildly sprays fire into the air, causing a nearby police car to explode and engulf her in the flames. The police can only watch as she screams in agony.
Theo and Bruce discuss the disappearance of Sid Bunderslaw back at his lair. Theo tells Bruce that people have corrupted Wayne Enterprises and he plans on helping Bruce once he becomes Mayor. Bruce is grateful for the offer and the two shake hands in agreement. Elsewhere at the Penguin’s lair, Butch arrives, battered and bruised with the location of Cobblepot’s mother. He tells his delighted boss that he escaped from Tabitha in order to give Penguin the information. Penguin promises that Butch’s loyalty will be rewarded and he hurries off to go gather his troops.
Leslie Thompkins finds herself looking down the barrel of Selina’s shotgun at her dining room table. She tries her best to make casual conversation with the young thug but Selina isn’t impressed. When Jim enters the residence Selina eagerly asks for the results of his attempt to apprehend Bridgit. Jim somberly tells her that Bridgit refused to go quietly and the altercation ended in her death. Selina angrily tells Jim that he doesn’t care about people like her and she never should’ve trusted a cop. She accidentally lets it slip that Penguin was the one who hired the Pike Brothers to set fire to all the buildings in the first place.
After their passionate moment, Kristen tells Ed she is scared for his safety. She thinks her ex-boyfriend, Detective Dougherty, might try to harm Ed if he finds out the two are a couple. Ed attempts to make Kristen feel better about his ability to handle himself by telling her about the altercation he had with Dougherty weeks ago. Kristen is horrified when she finds out that Ed killed Dougherty outside of her apartment. When it dawns on Kristen that she has been falling in love with a murderer she frantically gathers her things to leave the apartment. Ed is trying desperately to get Kristen to understand that he only killed the Detective for her well-being. So desperately, that he doesn’t even realize that he is choking the life out of her. Edward cries in agony and horror as he realizes that he has accidentally murdered his girlfriend.
In the last scene of the episode we find out that Bridgit was not killed in the fire. She is alive but her fire suit has melted to her body. Heavily bandaged and burned, she has been transferred to the medical facility for “monsters” at Wayne Enterprise’s Indian Hill for the scientists to run tests on her.
Rise of the Villains
Since the exit of Fish Moonye, Gotham has started to lay the groundwork for some of the most notorious villains that are known for terrorizing Gotham City in the Batman comic books and movies. The Penguin has climbed the ranks to lead the Gotham City Underground while Selina Kyle has started an evolution of her own. Not to mention Edward Nygma’s second murder and the reappearance of Ivy Pepper in this episode. Last but not least, the Jerome Valeska curse is still upon Gotham City and it’s only a matter of time before someone steps into his clown shoes and fills the role of the Joker. This explains the running tagline for this season, Rise of the Villains.