“Burn the Witch”
Original Airdate: September 26, 2016
PLAYING THE GAME
We immediately pick up right after Bruce was kidnapped by the Court of Owls (they’re never really given a name on the show, but all signs pretty much point to this group). Bruce then notices the mysterious woman that we’ve seen the last couple of episodes and recognizes her as someone within Wayne Enterprises. But who exactly she is remains to be discovered. All we know is her name is Kathryn.
One of the best things about this show is how far Bruce has come as the character. He’s no longer the scared, angry little boy from season one, and is slowly becoming the cool, confident hero we know him to be. David Mazouz plays this role with ease, and this is evidenced by what happens next: Bruce, quite calmly, tells Kathryn that if he dies, he unleashes everything he has on them and exposes the Court to the outside world. Kathryn seems unfazed by this, but agrees to let him live on one condition: Bruce halts his investigation into them, permanently. Bruce agrees, and is taken back by the assassin, Talon.
We then get a smaller scene where Bruce admits to Alfred what he had to do. Alfred, while dismayed by the actions Bruce took, understands why he did. It’s in this small moment we see Alfred and Bruce’s relationship in one scene. Alfred, in this case, is much more fatherly than we’ve ever seen him. He cares for the well-being of Bruce and vice versa.
It won’t be until much later in the episode that we will run into Bruce again. But until then, we got some brief catching up to do with young Ivy (or is it older Ivy?)
DON’T FORGET TO HUG THE TREES
One of the nicer elements of this season so far is we don’t spend too much time dragging out plotlines over the course of X amount of episodes. Bruce’s kidnapping was wrapped up quickly, and now we find out immediately what happened to Ivy. After being touched by Reverse Benjamin Button, Ivy washes up on shore — only to see that she’s aged into a young adult.
This sees the debut of Maggie Geha as the older Ivy. While the character does only appear in a handful of scenes, Geha does a fine job of balancing the sweetness of the younger version with something newer... something darker. In this, we see hints of the Ivy we know come to light.
After washing ashore, Ivy is found by a man named Nick, who takes her to his home in order to help her get back on her feet. Once she arrives at Nick’s home, she discovers that he treats the plants horribly, something she can’t stand for. Off-screen, she murders Nick in brutal fashion and, as a replacement for her rags, takes a rather sultry dress that belonged to Nick’s ex-wife.
It was interesting to see the beginnings of Ivy, though it’s unclear if this version will become evil right away or even at all. We know she hates injustice toward plants — and that’s prevalent here — but it’ll be interesting to see where the season takes her.
Speaking of the other villains and heroes, we take a look at what Jim, Cobblepot, and the rest of the merry band had to deal with this week.
TAKING BACK THE STREETS
Valerie visits Gordon, and suggests a team up in order to track down Mooney. Gordon, albeit reluctantly, agrees and takes her to the only person (even though there are HUNDREDS of other possible people to talk to), who might know where Mooney is: his ex-fiancé, Barbara.
I want to take this time to point out that I have genuinely enjoyed Barbara’s complete 180 degree arc on this show. No longer is she the doting, dedicated fiancé of Gordon, instead fully doing the complete opposite and embracing her maniac side. It’s a transformation that’s been beyond entertaining to watch, and Erin Richards has pulled it off beautifully.
As Vale and Gordon go get information from Barbara, she refuses to give it up with the exception of one thing: Gordon must give her a kiss, for old time’s sake. Gordon immediately refuses, and begins to leave. Barbara then says she had a dream about him losing his legs, and she was pushing him around a giant carriage. Good ol' Barb.
Afterward, Gordon finds Peabody’s body and realizes Mooney’s next target is Hugo Strange. According to Barnes, Hugo Strange is currently being held in a maximum security facility (because, let’s be honest, where else are you going to put a supervillain?) It is also discovered that Harvey has been kidnapped by Mooney’s forces, and that Mooney has hypnotized him (knew that “friendship” would bite him someday).
PENGUIN, PENGUIN, HE’S OUR MAN
This season shows Penguin in a light that is eerily reminiscent of the character’s portrayal in the much-underappreciated Batman Returns: as a politician. Penguin is taking much more of a political role in Gotham, and the catalyst for that begins with this episode. In the wake of superhumans running around Gotham, Penguin criticizes the GCPD for not doing their jobs in a press conference. This soon gains the support of the public, and Penguin begins to find himself popular among Gothamites.
After learning of Mooney and her merry band of freaks’ location, Mooney leads a mob with the intent of destroying the monsters. Gordon, wanting to save Bullock’s life, makes a deal with Penguin: if Penguin can distract the police so that Gordon can get inside, Gordon will let Penguin have his true prize: Fish Mooney.
(Small side note but, if we are going to lead to these characters being the characters we know, then is something going to happen to these two somewhere down the line? I love how the show can make you hypothesize on what may or may not happen).
This leads to what is perhaps the strongest moment of the episode. After cornering Mooney, Cobblepot demands to know why Mooney spared him. Mooney’s response is powerful: it’s because of their history. Cobblepot used to be her umbrella holder, her faithful servant. She claims all of this was to make him the Penguin, and she couldn’t bear to destroy that image.
It’s a powerful reminder to how far Mooney and Penguin have both come. While Penguin hates that Mooney is alive (which means competition), he knows that he can’t kill her, and neither can she. Eventually, one of them is going to face their destiny. Both Jada Pinkett Smith and Robin Lord Taylor do an excellent job at conveying that realization, and later, sadness at their history.
ALL ABOARD THE AWKWARD TRAIN
Two major things happen at the end of the episode. The first revelation is that Bruce and Alfred find an intruder within the house, only to discover it’s the other Bruce doppelgänger. This only further hints that the other Bruce might be this version of Hush, as we’ve had a couple of hints leading up to this point.
The OTHER big moment that happened is that Lee returned to Gotham at THE WORST possible time! She returns right as Gordon decides to sleep with Vale for... reasons? Because he’s lonely? It’s never explained fully, nor will it probably have anything to do with the season as a whole.
But regardless, a whole lot of awkwardness happened this week on Gotham. It will be interesting to see how the show handles that in the next episode.