Five episodes into Gotham season two, and we finally know why Theo Galavan is so intent on getting revenge. Plus, we also learn exactly who his real target is: Bruce Wayne. “Rise of the Villains: Scarification” was a much-needed exposition hour filled with flashbacks to the beginnings of Gotham city, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t action-packed in the present day … because we also got to meet the first-ever female Firefly.
The hour started off with Penguin begging Theo to let his mother go. He offered to still do Theo’s bidding regardless but Theo, obviously, knows better, and refused. Before he left, Penguin also dropped off a trunk containing the “garbage man” for Wayne Enterprises, aka the man who knows all the company’s dirty secrets. This can’t be good.
Meanwhile, Unit Alpha of the GCPD strike force took out one of Penguin’s cash houses, and because one of the henchmen had a rocket launcher, Captain Barnes got inspired to take out a known weapons distributor next, the Merc. Think CostCo meets comic book villains, complete with deals read over the loudspeaker in a bored, monotone voice, and you’ve got the Merc.
At the GCPD, Nygma invited Lee and Gordon out for a double date with him and Kristen Kringle now that they’re going steady, and you know he was just waiting for the soonest possible moment to drop that piece of news on anyone who would listen. Lee is thrilled, but Gordon is … well, less than. But he’s saved from having to fake enthusiasm when Theo showed up and pulled him aside to talk about how he can’t stop reliving the moment when he killed Jerome. He asked for advice on how to get over it, but it’s clearly all an act, and it’s one that Gordon is eating up. And his stop is twofold: Theo also asked Gordon to endorse him for mayor. Gordon turns him down, hopefully because he can smell something fishy.
Tabitha dropped by Penguin’s home to give him a new job title: arsonist. He has to burn down a bunch of places, all in one night. So Penguin sent Butch to fetch Selina, since the best arsonists in town, the Pike brothers, are known Fish Mooney loyalists, and Selina was Fish’s pet. As Butch put it, “Your face will open doors.” Plus, she was besties with their younger sister Bridgit. The brothers agreed to do it, while also showing off how they abuse Bridgit and use her as their personal slave, which Selina is not too pleased to see.
While on a shopping trip at the Merc, one of the Pike brothers had the unfortunate timing to get caught when the GCPD timed their raid. He pulled for his gun while Gordon and Barnes had him at gunpoint, so they shot … and since he had C4 in his pants, he exploded. That left the Pike brothers one man short for their job, so they threaten Bridgit that they’ll turn her out on the street if she doesn’t agree to help them, and so she does – even though she hates fire. Ironic, since she’ll become the Firefly, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
After the raid, Gordon made it home just in time for his double date with Nygma and Kristen. And Lee is right to point out that “every pot has a lid,” although Nygma’s newfound confidence is more sinister than any of them realize. And since Lee worked in Arkham Asylum, shouldn’t she be able to recognize a pyschopath?!
At their first target, Bridgit lit the fuse, and her brothers make her use the eyeball that Tabitha cut out of the Wayne Enterprises “garbage man’s” head (from the beginning of the episode … callback!) to open the safe in the building. They told her to grab the old knife with the Wayne family crest in the safe, and on her way out of the building, her leg got badly burnt, but they still made her do the next four locations that same night. Ouch.
The next day, Bridgit found flame-resistant fabric at home, so she decided to make a whole suit so she won’t get burnt again. Selina came over as she was sewing, and warned Bridgit that if she keeps lighting the fires, she’s going to get herself killed, but Bridgit confessed that it was actually exciting for her. And thus, the Firefly is born!
Penguin was confused as to why Theo wanted the old Wayne family knife, so he brought in an old woman who runs an antique shop to figure out why it was so important. The woman, upon seeing the knife, was clearly afraid, and reveals it was used a long time ago to enact justice on a family who used to run Gotham city along with the Waynes. But after one of their sons was found with a Wayne woman, and she claimed it wasn’t consensual, the entire family was forced to change their name … to Galavan. And the man in question had his arm chopped off with that very same knife and sent away in exile to France.
So basically, now we know that Theo is focusing his revenge on the Wayne family and Wayne Enterprises. Poor Bruce has no idea what’s coming. Inspired by his new knowledge of Theo, Penguin ordered Butch to work his way inside Theo’s organization, so they can manipulate him now that they know what he wants. And in order to sell the fact that Penguin thinks Butch turned traitor for Galavan, Penguin chops off his arm using that very same knife! Whoa!
Gordon and Bullock figured out all the targets the arsonists hit were owned by Wayne Enterprises, so they caught the Pikes in action the next night. The brothers drove off, abandoning Bridgit, and she accidentally lit a member of the strike force on fire trying to escape. Selina helped her get away, while the burnt officer died from his injuries. His death lit a fire – sorry, too easy – under the rest of Unit Alpha, and they vowed to catch this “cop-killer” using every legal method at their disposal. That inspired Gordon to promise his endorsement for Theo’s mayoral campaign, as long as Theo promises to back the GCPD no matter what methods they use to get the job done. Gordon, you just made a deal with the devil.
Back at his loft, Theo was delighted to find Father Creel waiting for him, a member of his old family. He showed off his acquisition of the knife and promised to get Bruce soon too. They celebrate how their “day of redemption is almost at hand,” and Father Creel revealed that their “brothers” are crossing the sea and will be in Gotham soon, “redeeming” the city while Bruce will be dead.
Now that we know what Theo wants and what he’s willing to do to get it, should Bruce be worried (even though we all know he goes on to live a long life)? Or will Penguin be the unlikely hero in bringing down Theo and the rest of his family? How long do you think it will be before Nygma’s true side comes out? Hit the comments section below to weigh in with your theories now!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.