Title: Gotham: “Burn The Witch”
Air Date: September 26, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
The first episode of season three offered us a mere taste of things to come. While that’s fine, Burn The Witch is… well, to be honest, more or less the same thing. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is on the hunt for Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong), hoping he can cure her condition, while Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is hot on her tail. Ivy’s (Clare Foley) encounter with an Indian Hill escapee transforms her into a young woman (Maggie Geha). All the while, Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) is trying to save Bullock (Donal Logue) and Bruce (David Mazouz) finally encounters The Court Of Owls and his Indian Hill doppelgänger.
Burn The Witch starts off immediately where the last one left off. With Alfred knocked unconscious, Bruce is kidnapped and brought before the head of The Court Of Owls. Unfortunately, this is where the first problem with Burn The Witch rears its ugly head. To the show-runners, what was Bruce’s plan in all of this? I mean, there was a great scene where he and Alfred intimidated the board members in the premiere. However, what was going to be his endgame? Stop or I’ll tell on you? Going up against The Court Of Owls is one thing. However, thinking they’ll be intimidated is another story. So, in the words of Tony Stark, “Not a great plan.”
The outcome is really the only one that could have come out of this scenario; Bruce must keep quiet and stop searching for answers about his parents. Failing to comply will cost Alfred and Selina their lives. This should leave the viewers wondering how he’ll get around this to make good on the promise he made to himself. Sadly, it only makes me contemplate what a moron Bruce is. I’m sorry but doing what he did was a pretty dumb move. However, the end of the episode finds Bruce meeting his doppelganger after the boy follows Selina to his mansion. So, I guess we’ll find out soon enough what they’ll be doing with that.
As we established in the premiere, Jim Gordon has become, more or less, a reckless jerk. That being said, you can’t say that James isn’t a good friend. To save Bullock (Donal Logue), Gordon gives up a million dollar bounty, causes a riot, gets people killed and turns over Fish Mooney to Penguin. I really don’t know what to make of this. Personally, I don’t see Gordon wearing a badge again anytime soon. I think the writers are having too much fun keeping him where he is as booze chugging loner. Hey, whatever gets you a kiss from Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) right? Just in time for Leslie (Morena Baccarin) to come back to town too.
Fish Mooney finds Hugo Strange stuck doing math problems in what I can only assume is Magneto’s prison from X2. Fish is still fighting for her life, searching for a cure for her condition, which evidently doesn’t exist. However, this isn’t where the emotional payoff lies. No, the emotional payoff comes when Penguin finally confronts Fish, ready to kill her. It’s here where Burn The Witch gives us a moment between these two characters that is quite poignant. A moment where hidden aspects and feelings of both characters come to light.
I know I said there would be spoilers earlier but I dare not spoil this conversation. It’s too beautiful a moment and should be witnessed if you are a fan of the show. When it’s over, Penguin, through his tears, tells Fish to leave and never come back. This moment was absolutely brilliant, showing sides of The Penguin and of Fish Mooney that we didn’t know existed. Just the reactions on both of their faces made for some of the best acting to ever air on the show. It’s the thing that makes Burn The Witch a good episode, as the payoff was long overdue.
As I said earlier, Burn The Witch is the episode that sees Ivy Pepper turn from a child to a full grown woman. So what does the episode do with her? Well, not much to be honest. I mean, Ivy’s picked up by a stranger and she kills him because he doesn’t water his plants and… what? Wait, so since when is Ivy a homicidal maniac on this show? It just comes out of nowhere. I don’t recall Ivy ever going psycho before this episode. However, I will admit that Maggie Geha does a good job playing this character. Geha acts the part and certainly looks the part in that green dress. So, despite the problems, I’m curious to see where they will go with this character down the line.
Overall, Burn The Witch has flaws as most episodes of Gotham usually do. In some ways, this has even more flaws than usual. However, thanks to some great acting from Robin Lord Taylor and Jada Pinkett Smith, in a scene that greatly pays off for both of their characters, the episode manages to save it from being a disappointment. I just wish more had been done with Ivy, Gordon wasn’t portrayed as such a reckless jerk, as it is the opposite of his character, and that the show would stop portraying Bruce as such an idiot. Burn The Witch isn’t a bad episode but it isn’t great either. Episode 3, please be better. I know this show can be better. I’ve seen it happen.
- A Beautiful Scene Between Penguin & Fish Mooney
- Great Acting
- Maggie Geha's Ivy
- Gordon Rescuing Bullock (Cool Sequence)
- Bruce Is Still An Idiot
- Ivy Is Underutilized
- Jim Gordon Doesn't Feel Like Jim Gordon Anymore
- Valerie Vale Is Useless
A graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing, Adam is a Writer and Film Critic, looking to make his mark on the world. When he isn’t at the movies, writing for The Nerd Stash, playing Duck Hunt (respect the classics) or delivering pizzas to his neighbors, he is back at school earning his Masters Degree in Film Production.