It’s another hot time in Gotham with the return of Firefly (a.k.a. Bridget Pike).
I stand by my remarks regarding the previous episode that I like Bridget as a character, mainly because she follows a very hero-esque evolution. However, she’s not intended to be a moral hero though I would argue she’s not 100% pure villainy. Proof of that comes through Bridget’s guilty conscience when she and Selena rob the flesh trade show. Because Bridget knows what it’s like to be kept captive, she feels for the girls who are being sold at auction there. So when Bridget opts not to do anything about it at the moment, I had a gut feeling what she might do something before the episode’s end, and I was glad she made the choice that she did to wreck havoc.
Selena admits that she see some of herself (her “doofus” side) in Bridget, who does seem to hesitate when it comes to committing actual crimes. Bridget alternates between her mousy self and her stronger identity as the Firefly (which she never actually calls herself), which is fun to watch. Granted, her actions reflect the new philosophy that Jim Gordon adheres to – Gotham possesses grey areas where sometimes in order to do something “good,” one must first do something “bad.”
Later, Bridget tells Selena, “I’m not myself anymore. I’m free.” She equates this freedom with being able to do as she wishes, not out of spite but out of a sense of vengeance, something she claims she feels “born to do.” In truth, Bridget isn’t really a villain, at least not in the true sense of the word. Instead, she’s more like a vigilante as she sees it as her aim to go after the city’s “pervs and bullies” and persons who target the lowest rungs on the social standing ladder (i.e. persons such as herself and Selena). In a study of contrasts, Selena seems to only look out for herself whereas Bridget cares about others. Though, contrary to what she might say, Selena does care deep down inside because if she truly possessed an utterly selfish heart, she wouldn’t have done anything to help Bridget.
In the end, I was disappointed to see that Bridget’s story line (for now) went up in literal flames. At first it appears that Bridget kills herself after a stray bullet punctures the fuel line on her suit and she inadvertently sets herself on flames. However, in the end we learn that she’s still alive, is being hailed as a fireproof gal, and taken to the ominous Indian Hill laboratory for “testing.” All I can say is I got a bad feelin’ ’bout this place. And I sense we haven’t seen the last of it either.
Bridget’s story arc, which filled up two episodes, reminded me a little bit of how Jerome’s plot was played – masterfully executed until the characters themselves were, well, executed (though technically Bridget is still alive). It seems to me that this season, the temporary characters are having more appeal to me than the old standbys, though I appreciate the development of Selena and Ed Nygma. Otherwise, characters such as Jim, Harvey, and even Penguin tend to bleed into the background without much to do other than deliver their usual performances, which haven’t seemed to progress much. While we’re not even close to this season’s halfway mark, there is still hope that something will come along to shake these characters up; otherwise, I worry that my favs might be reduced to scene-stealing soundbites.
As stated, Ed has been given a chance to shine this season and quite early on, I might add. His relationship with Kristen Kringle has taken off but there is trouble in nerdy paradise, it seems. In this episode, we learn a little bit of what makes Kristen tick. She admits to Lee (unaware that Ed is eavesdropping) that she really, really likes Ed but he seems a little too nice. Kristen admits she likes men to possess a little “fire,” a little danger. In other words, she likes “bad boys.” This might have explained part of the reason why she remained with her former boyfriend as he certainly qualified albeit it was to her detriment. Oddly enough, when most ladies confess they like a “bad boy,” what they really mean is that they like the head rush and forbidden quality of being with someone who is less than morally upright. But in reality these types of attractions fall apart, either when the sense of danger looses its appeal or the lass in question ends up hurt or worse because her “bad” beau truly was bad.
Thus, Ed is out to prove that he’s not Mr. Nice Guy and, in a very intimate moment, confesses to Kristen how he killed her abusive beau. At first, she scoffs and thinks it’s an act because Ed isn’t the type of guy who could stand on his own in a fight. However, when Ed produces her old boyfriend’s badge as proof, she changes her tune and calls him all sorts of names, “stalker” and “psychopath” among them. And, as it turns out, Ed is just a little too dangerous for even her.
In a desperate attempt to explain that he killed, not out of jealousy but out of love for her, Ed takes things too far and inadvertently kills Kristen. His response to her death at his hands (albeit by accident) showcases some of Cory Michael Smith’s best acting to date and I honestly didn’t figure Kristen would die. I always suspected that she and Ed never would make it as a couple, but Ed’s actions truly surprised me. He seems torn between wanting to believe that his past actions haven’t affected him and that they were morally okay, yet at the same time he can’t cope with his repressed subconscious memories. What I sense might be up the road for Ed is a questioning of who he really is as a person – can he still see himself as a “good guy” or has he finally gone “bad”? We know he is the future Riddler, but his progression towards this final aim shows how the best and most intriguing villains are the ones who make a series of bad choices and suffer or endure the consequences. Ed has done just that, so I’m eager to see how far down the proverbial rabbit hole he’ll go before this season’s end.
Elsewhere, we witness Galavan’s attempts to make nice to Bruce Wayne and prove to Penguin that he won’t be trifled with. The episode ends with a promise for an action-packed follow-up where it at least appears Penguin might gain an upper hand over Galavan, who holds his mother captive. However, I don’t have very high hopes that Mama Penguin will make it out this season unscathed, but we shall see.
In closing, a song that kept playing through my head while I was watching this week’s episode is, appropriately enough, Hozier’s “Arsonist’s Lullaby.” The song, on the surface, seems to be about a person who became an arsonist, starting with an early fascination with fire and the power it held as a destructive force. However, a deeper reading causes the song to carry a less restrictive meaning – it’s about a person who made choices that haven’t always been the right ones to make. The chorus depicts this when it states that all the speaker has is his fire (his outward means of control) and “the place you need to reach,” meaning the place, perhaps morally-speaking, the speaker really wants to be. However, his inner demons keep this attainment at bay. The chorus’ words of “advice” – that one can never tame the sinful/evil nature inside but one shouldn’t give it totally free reign – I thought are a perfect fit to not only some of the characters on “Gotham” but the show’s overall theme this season thus far. Gotham is full of folks who have inner demons, some of which will never be tamed, but because there is an underlying moral compass in play, the evil within just might be kept at bay.
Until next week, fellow Gothamites!