[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Gotham season 2 ahead.]
Since Gotham played fast and loose with its (non-)Joker character, Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) earlier in season 2, it leaves you to wonder how the show plans on playing with audience expectations for other famed super villains from DC lore. Well, starting tonight (with the episode titled "Scarification"), we’ll get our next example of the show’s love for messing with the Batman comic book mythology.
FOX has confirmed that tonight's Gotham episode will mark the beginning of a two-week origin story for the pyrotechnic villain of the DC Comics known as Firefly. In addition, Gotham showrunner/creator weighed in on the decision to craft a gender-swapped version of the character for the TV series (as played by Michelle Veintimilla).
Here is the official synopsis for said two-part Gotham story:
In the episodes, “Bridgit Pike” (Veintimilla) is enslaved by her brothers, a notorious gang of arsonists, and forced into the family business. When she catches the eye of Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), the young Catwoman and the soon-to-be-Firefly team up to put Bridgit’s fire-starting skills to good use. But after a deadly encounter with the Pike Brothers, the weak, quiet girl is transformed into a vengeful Super-Villain, hell-bent on destroying those who have wronged her.
Here is the statement from Heller, regarding the Gotham version of Firefly:
“We decided to make Firefly a woman because we wanted to describe how even a warm, loving and compassionate person can turn to the dark side when life pushes him or her that way. She's not driven by testosterone-fueled aggression, but by a burning sense of injustice. Michelle Veintimilla brings warmth and vulnerability to the role that conceals a steely core of strength and courage.”
Gender swapping villains, as a practice, is nothing new for DC series. In fact, it was just during the first season for The CW's The Flash that The Walking Dead’s Emily Kinney was hired to portray a gender-switched version of DC Comics villain Bug-Eyed Bandit on screen. However, after the Jerome arc, one’s left to wonder if this Firefly is the Firefly in the Gotham universe... or just a precursor to the real thing.
The biggest problem for Gotham has always been the fact that many of Batman’s rogues gallery come into being because Batman exists. The criminals of the city need to counter the seemingly unstoppable force of The Dark Knight by taking things one step further – sometimes that’s with flame throwers, and other times it’s with riddles. So, while it’s cool to be getting a female Firefly, there’s no longer a promise that this is actually Firefly, just as Jerome ended up not actually being The Joker - but rather the man that would one day inspire the person that will become him.
Overall, Gotham needs to start deciding if its villains are actually villains, or just the first step in a long series of events that lead to the ones we know. Sure, the Riddler of the show is the Riddler we know. Same for Catwoman. But how many other villains can that be said of? After everything that’s happened, it may be less than we thought.
Gotham season 2 continues with 'Scarification', tonight on 9/8c on FOX