Gotham: Burn The Witch Review – A Poisonous Plot

The roller coaster ride continues in Gotham.



As I wrote last week, Gotham’s entire series has been a mixed bag of varying levels of inconsistency. Sometimes, it’s an incredible show that takes the origins of the Dark Knight and his greatest enemies and makes it its own. Other times, it falls flat.

Thankfully, the roller coaster ride continues as this week’s episode was a pure joy ride.

The episode begins right where last week’s left off. Bruce finally gets to meet with the Court of Owls face to face, or at least some of them. He makes a deal for his life that I have a very good feeling either Bruce or Alfred won’t let him keep. Still, you have to admire Bruce’s unwavering integrity.

Pick up Gotham Season 1 on Blu-ray/DVD

One of the best (and oddest) parts of the episode was the emergence of Poison Ivy. Teased last week as Ivy took a little tumble, she awakens on the side of a creek, covered in greens. Oh, and she has aged 3-4 years (that’s a good thing). Ivy had been a background character that we rarely saw, nearly only showing up when Selena was on screen. The show’s writers made an interesting choice and took this opportunity in Ivy’s transformation to bring in a different actress, a more mature one, if you will. This allowed them to write some bigger storylines and get Ivy involved in the action. It also screams “we may not make it out of this season alive, we need more villains!” And that’s fine. I look forward to some Ivy-centric stories in the coming weeks. Hopefully, she doesn’t just disappear to the shadows.

The overall plot brings a few minor subplots together and cuts out the annoying, irrelevant side stories we saw last week. Fish Mooney is seeking Hugo Strange in an attempt to preserve her life. Harvey Bullock is taken hostage. Jim Gordon is still a bounty hunter (sigh). Commissioner Barnes is still around and I genuinely like his character. Barbara is still pawning noobs and the club. Penguin (don’t call him “Cobblepot”) smells an opportunity to make Mooney a dead Fish. All of this results in a superb climax that features minor action, lots of wheeling and dealing, and a satisfying conclusion to the episode.

Penguin is given an extraordinary opportunity to get his revenge on Fish, and I was disappointed that he didn’t take it. Fish’s false flattery and smooth talking have let her live another day, as she tells Penguin that she was proud of his transformation from Cobblepot to Penguin. It was a very motherly-like conversation. Because Fish let Penguin live, he decided to let her live. And so the obnoxious Mooney storyline continues. I was very much hoping that this was the end of Mooney, and possibly Strange. Alas, my hopes were too high. I can’t decide if I like that side of Penguin. In essence, he was reverting back to the old, weak Cobblepot in this instance by not killing Mooney.

Valeri (not Vicki) Vale is a good addition to the show, but predictably has filled the role of Jim’s love interest. Do we need that? Nope, we don’t. I do love the wrench it throws into the questions about Jim’s relationship with Lee. The end scene that shows her getting off of a train and presumably returning to Gotham is visually stunning. After an exciting episode, this was a nice finishing touch to add some spice and get us pining for next week’s episode.



I think I can confidently say that despite Gotham’s fantastic week 2 performance, the show’s newfound momentum can’t last. There were a lot of ideas introduced that I believe will greatly benefit the show, should the writers decide to stick with them.

Gotham aires weekly on Monday at 8:00 ET on Fox.

+ Overall plot brings out the best in the characters.

+ Poison Ivy has arrived!

+ Penguin.

– Another new romance for Jim. What is this, the OC?

– Fish lives to fight another day.

Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s Gotham guru. Chat with him about the show’s excitement and disappointment on Twitter.

Check out last week’s review below:
Gotham Season 3 Premiere Review

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