A Look at Gotham- Season 3, Episode 2: “Mad City: Burn the Witch”

So Bruce got kidnapped, Ivy went for a fall, and Penguin pulled no punches as he railed against Gotham’s policy department in their failing to protect the city from monsters.  Well, time to see if the GCPD and Gotham’s citizens can prove themselves when they confront Fish Mooney and her monster squad.


The episode begins with Bruce unmasked and brought before a woman who removes her mask- the same woman from before.  Bruce recognizes her from Wayne Enterprises.  This is Kathryn, played by Leslie Hendrix, and she represents the group, but does not give that up that group’s name.

She asks what Bruce has found, but he bluffs instead.  The more Bruce studied, the more could only be explained by this group’s existence.  He hasn’t changed his mind about his investigation, but he does have to consider important factors like his safety.  So Bruce offers Wayne Enterprises since, if he dies, his shares go to the government.  In turn, the feds will comb through it all.

A tad unfortunate, but Kathryn is confident that her group will endure, but she’d weather the storm.  However, the Wayne name is a symbol of light and hope.  That could be a useful distraction for this group.  Still, Kathryn doesn’t accept the offer.  She wants Bruce to stop investigating both this group and his parents’ murder.  Break it and the deal is void.


And Kathryn needs an answer now.  After weighing his options, Bruce agrees. Kathryn promises Bruce that the two will not meet again.  With that, Bruce’s world goes dark.


Valerie visits Jim with a proposition: she can help him get Penguin’s bounty by bringing in Fish Mooney.  In exchange, she gets one hell of a story.  Jim points out that Valerie could just go get Fish herself, but she doesn’t know how to find her and Selina is the one who finds Valerie, not the other way around.  Jim doesn’t know where Selina lives, but guess who does?


Yup.  Barbara does, for some reason.  After reminding us of her previous engagement to Gordon, Barbara tells a skeptical Valerie that a piece of paper declaring her sane is why she’s not locked up in Arkham.  Such is life in Gotham City.

Barbara offers information in exchange for a kiss.  Jim refuses, and yet Barbara coughs up a location anyway.  She then tells Jim that she had a dream about him being in a horrible accident where he lost both of his legs.  This led to Barbara pushing him around in a baby carriage.  Valerie wants to give this exclusive information to GCPD and doesn’t give Jim much of a say before driving off and leaving him.


Elsewhere, at the shore, an older Ivy Pepper, now played by Maggie Geha, slowly makes her way to land.  She eyes her new look in a rearview mirror and tells a nearby truck driver that her name is indeed Ivy.


After giving up her information, Valerie follows GCPD to the location.  Bullock instructs the officers to keep an eye out for Ethel Peabody.  They enter and engage Fish and her band of not-mutants.


Meanwhile, Penguin talks to the press and the public about GCPD’s failure to stop Fish Mooney and her monsters from invading the city.  He riles the public into a frenzy, calling the citizens to kill every monster they see.  The public is all too eager to answer Penguin’s call for action.


Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred wakes up Bruce, who is unaware of how he got back to the mansion.  He tells Alfred that the group agreed to his terms, though he had to promise to stop his investigation.  From Bruce’s fear, Alfred realizes that this group threatened more than just him.  Bruce intends to keep his word, but he can’t know whether this group will keep theirs.


At GCPD, Alvarez tells Jim about the bust, while Valerie takes an opportunity to gloat about getting even with him.  In the medical examiner’s lab, Lucius Fox shows Jim the now aged, decomposed body of Ethel Peabody.  The results of her death mirror that of another case.  Fox figures that Peabody couldn’t help Fish, so she’s still looking for the cure from the one person who can help her.


Two of Fish’s monsters pick up Bullock, who drops his badge in the process.  He’s brought before Fish, who tells Harvey that she needs to find Hugo Strange.  Bullock refuses to help, but Fish, with her ability, knows that Harvey will indeed comply.


The man brings Ivy to his home, where she finds herself fascinated with his plants.  She doesn’t want to use the phone since there’s probably no one looking for her.  Ivy tells the man her story of how she was alone, abandoned, and recast, but then she changed.  Turned into a completely different person, in fact.  The man throws out one of his plants, saying he’s never been good at taking care of them, which disturbs Ivy.


Gordon tells Barnes about Bullock’s disappearance and presents his badge, indicating that Fish is looking for Harvey.  Strange was taken to a spot outside of the city, and Barnes can take the two there.


Bullock and Fish arrive at Strange’s location.  Bullock distracts the two guards long enough for the not-Quicksilver monster to kill them, allowing Fish to enter.  She soon comes face to face with Hugo Strange and tells him that he’s going to keep her from dying.  When that’s done, he will make her an army.


However, Strange claims he’s unable to fix her.  The monster squad leaves Strange just as GCPD arrives.  Barnes gets a call from Bullock, with Fish telling Barnes that Bullock will die if the cops gets too close.  Barnes orders the police to create a full perimeter, but then the press arrives.


At the same time, Penguin, watching news of that Fish has been cornered, decides that now is the time to attack.  He tells Butch that GCPD is not Gotham, and the people of Gotham listen to him.


Fish tells Strange all about her work as a former club owner and how she offered protection, even to those who needed more time to pay her.  Fish would squeeze and the cheapskates always had more.  Soon, one of the monsters tells Fish that there’s a problem outside, and it’s not the GCPD.


Instead, Penguin has brought a mob to the facility.  Barnes orders them to stand down, but Penguin vows that Fish Mooney will die tonight.  The police have had their chance, and now it’s time for the public to intervene.


Jim uses this distraction as an opportunity to slip into a back door of the facility.  He’s quickly caught by not-Quicksilver and another monster when Fish orders them to bring him to her.  So now Fish has two hostages, though Jim figures that his death would be a blessing for Barnes.  True enough.  Jim’s offer is to get Fish out in exchange for Bullock.  However, Fish also wants Hugo Strange, and Jim agrees.

As the mob grows more frantic, Jim calls Penguin and offers to give him Fish Mooney.  Penguin then calls his mob into action.  With the back now clear, Fish slips out with Hugo Strange.  The mob breaks in and engages the monsters, who manage to shoot some mob members, but are soon overtaken.


In the woods, Fish and Hugo run right into Penguin.  The night under the bridge stayed with Penguin, as he’s wondered why Fish didn’t just kill him.  After all, he would have killed her.  Fish maintains that Oswald is his.  But now, Penguin is the terror of Gotham City.  The best thing Fish Mooney did may have been turning Oswald Cobblepot into the Penguin.  She couldn’t destroy that.

And Hugo Strange knows what it’s like to bring something into being.  It’s a part of you forever.  With that, Penguin bids Fish farewell and orders her to never return.


The mob cheers as the monsters’ bodies are tossed onto a pyre.  Oswald Cobblepot is hailed as a hero.


Ivy, now decked out in a sexy green dress because sex sells, tells the man to water his plants.  Not sure he’ll respond, though, since he’s unconscious on the floor.


Alfred asks Bruce how he’ll spend his spare time, and Alfred figures dancing lessons are the ideal choice.  The conversation is interrupted by the sound of breaking glass.  When the two enter the main room, they come face-to-face with the Bruce clone, who begs the two to not hurt him.


Valerie shows up at Jim’s place again to say that tomorrow’s paper will talk about the crap story of Fish escaping.  However, Valerie read the episode’s script, because she saw Penguin get a call and pieces together that Jim made a deal with Penguin.

However, Fish isn’t dead since Penguin would have dragged her body in front of the mob.  Good point, I’ll admit.  No idea what happened in the woods, but Jim will have trouble collecting that reward.  Jim slips off Valerie’s coat and tells her to shut up for once as the two kiss.


At the same time, Leslie Thompkins returns to Gotham City.  I guess she won’t be giving Wade Wilson a call anytime soon.

A solid episode, but not without its issues, “Burn the Witch” advances several storylines, some faster than others, helped build Penguin’s character, and delivered one of the more touching scenes of the show so far.  As touching as you can be on Gotham, anyway.


Bruce’s ultimatum with the board brings him right to the Court of Owls, and we see how much it bothers him to give up his investigation.  Of course, I don’t expect him to stop looking into shady business at Wayne Enterprises, but Alfred brings up a good point: how can Bruce be sure that the Court will keep their word?  Chances are both will continue what they’re doing, but make some play to keep up appearances.


At the very least, Bruce has rattled the Court’s cage, so he knows that he’s making progress with his findings, even if he’s found very little.  But at least the Bruce clone has somehow made his way to Wayne Manor, so I’m sure Bruce and Alfred will have even more questions now.


Onto Ivy.  So Maggie Geha makes her first appearance as Ivy and I’m uncertain what to think of her so far.  She’s serviceable in the role, but what will she do now?  It’s too soon to say.  She has the memories of Clare Foley’s Ivy, but she seems to have changed since the fall.


She seems to be more in touch with plants than before, and that’s not out of character for Poison Ivy, but why at this point?  Is she going to keep trying to help Selina or will she now become a vigilante who strikes at those who don’t take care of their plants?  Either way, I’m intrigued by this new take on Ivy, but curious as to what the show will do with her, more so now that she’s a bit more sexualized.


But let’s move onto Jim, who still isn’t a cop anymore.  Given his actions, I can’t say that I disagree.  Yes, he does come up with a plan to save Bullock, but in the process, puts the mob and GCPD in harm’s way by getting Penguin to have them advance.  So they rush through the police and some get hurt while still managing to kill the not-mutants.

If Jim were a cop, this wouldn’t be a plan for a greater good.  He would be reprimanded for his actions.  Hell, Barnes would probably throw his ass in a cell.  Instead, Jim has Penguin throw the mob into a frenzy to give him a distraction so he can turn Fish over to Oswald. This isn’t Daredevil wanting to do things Frank Castle’s way one time when Frank is beyond the point of no return.  This is Jim endangering lives.


As far as his friendship with Valerie goes, it seems a bit fast for them to kiss after knowing each other for just two episodes.  Give them time to develop, like with Jim and Leslie.  The kiss seems to be here to create some pathos for Leslie, who makes a convenient return to Gotham City despite looking like she was fine living in suburbia.


Then there’s Penguin.  I do like watching Oswald’s development from the pilot to now, from being a lowly umbrella boy to a criminal king who now has the backing of Gotham City.  And he was at least right about the city being overrun by monsters.  Again, anyway. Again overrun by monsters.

There were some nice parallels in his confrontation with Fish: her seeing herself as the creator of a new, better product, like Strange and his fascination with her, for example.  In addition, Penguin letting Fish go reminded me a lot of Jim not killing Penguin back in the series premiere because he couldn’t bring himself to cross that line.


But…Penguin has crossed that line.  Hell, we just saw him kill a man in the previous episode and he has every reason to kill both Fish and Strange for what they’ve done to him.  Was it sentimentality that kept him from at least capping one of them in the knee? If he’s got Gotham on his side, it won’t be good if the citizens learn that he had an opportunity to kill Fish, but didn’t.  And where the hell was Butch?

Again, “Burn the Witch” was solid.  Nothing spectacular, but enjoyable to watch nonetheless.  It left the characters in interesting places by episode’s end: Jim and Valerie’s bond has taken off just as Leslie returns to Gotham, Ivy has resurfaced, Bruce, after calling off his investigation, meets his clone, the public is riled up against the police, and Penguin, despite letting his former boss live, is on top of the world.  For now.

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