Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “Gotham” episode 205, titled “Scarification.”
“Gotham” offered a new twist on DC Comics villain Firefly in its Oct. 19 episode, reimagining the traditionally male pyromaniac as Bridgit Pike (Michelle Veintimilla), the sister of a gang of arsonists who are enlisted to do a dangerous job for Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) — and by extension, Theo Galavan (James Frain).
At first unwillingly roped into helping her brothers, Bridgit soon comes to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with her dangerous mission, which makes for a steep learning curve, Veintimilla tells Variety: “She’s doing all of these things for the first time — she’s seen her brothers do it but she’s never actually handled fire… [so] she is scared. Because she’s testing her limits and she’s learning, she doesn’t really know her strengths yet and what the limits are, so she makes mistakes, and some of them end up being destructive.”
That’s evident in her accidental murder of one of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Captain Barnes’ (Michael Chiklis) new GCPD recruits, which will put Bridgit in the crosshairs of the GCPD strike force going forward. Despite that fatal mistake, Veintimilla thinks that deep down, Bridgit has good intentions: “She has this flamethrower and she has these resources and she sees the injustices happening in Gotham so she decides to take things into her own hands. There’s a lot of goodness in Bridgit — she’s actually trying to do good, so I think that’s where the aggression begins.. I think it comes from a real passion to right the wrongs in Gotham.”
Bridgit’s friendship with Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) is another pivotal aspect of Firefly’s journey, and will affect both women in notable ways, according to Veintimilla. “It’s really important because they both knew each other when they were very young, as orphans in the Narrows, and they know each other’s history. I know her mother’s story and she knows my story … there isn’t really anything to hide from each other,” she notes. “I think we’re both really surprised where the other’s ended up — I’m so taken by how incredibly independent and strong Selina is and she’s so shocked that I’ve ended up as this defeated young woman because she knows better; she knew me when I was young and she knows that there’s more to me than that. We can’t hide anything from each other and I think that’s what makes it so special and real and honest.”
Bridgit’s mission to recover an ancient knife also ties into Theo’s mysterious vendetta against the Wayne family — a rivalry that apparently stretches back centuries, when five families, the Wayne, Elliot, Dumas, Kane and Crowne clans, ruled Gotham. Things apparently got messy when Bruce Wayne’s ancestor, Celestine Wayne was found in an illicit embrace with Caleb Dumas, despite being promised to the heir of the Elliot family. Celestine insisted that Caleb forced himself on her, resulting in the Wayne family seizing the Dumas family’s holdings and destroying their reputation, forcing them to change their name to Galavan.
Caleb had his hand cut off by the stolen blade as punishment, before being exiled overseas, where he entered a religious sect “founded by his family’s patron saint” — best known to DC Comics fans as The Order of St. Dumas. In comics canon, the sect was established as an offshoot of the Knights Templar, which was responsible for creating the warrior known as Azrael, a champion who served as the order’s assassin. One version of Azrael is known to comic fans as Jean-Paul Valley, a vigilante who temporarily replaced Bruce Wayne as Batman in the ’90s, but the name can be bestowed upon any champion belonging to the sect — and since “Gotham” executive producer Danny Cannon recently told Den of Geek that Azrael is “a really good long, slow-burning origin story” that will be introduced in season two, it’s not too much of a stretch to suspect that Theo Galavan could become another version of Azrael in “Gotham” this season.
Executive producer John Stephens expanded on the role of The Order of St. Dumas with ComicBook.com: “We will be going deeper into the Order of St. Dumas over the next run of episodes, and it will continue to play an evolving role for the rest of the season… And yes, we wouldn’t be telling an Order of St. Dumas story without also intending to tell an Azrael story. Just keep watching.”
Many Batman fans have speculated that Theo and his sister could be tied to the comics’ recent Court of Owls storyline, which also involves a secret society comprised of Gotham’s wealthiest families, and the introduction of the Order of St. Dumas doesn’t necessarily negate that speculation, with “Gotham” showrunner Bruno Heller telling ComicBook.com that he plans to utilize the Court of Owls at some point during “Gotham’s” run:
“The Court of Owls is deep, deep, deep Gotham mythology. The comic book fans know about it, but I would suspect the larger audience is not so familiar,” he noted. “We are absolutely going to explore that world down the line. Looking at the longevity of the show, we have to hold some cards back, we can’t just throw all of the elements, all of the story at once … The long arc of the show is Bruce Wayne’s journey of discovery down into the depths of the physical and meta-physical world of Gotham. The Court of Owls is a brilliant conceit that will absolutely be part of our storytelling. I just won’t tell you when.”
Whether Theo becomes Azrael or another Batman villain, it’s safe to say that his intentions for Bruce aren’t particularly friendly, with “warriors like this city has never known” currently heading to Gotham to exact their revenge against the Wayne family. Jim Gordon will have his work cut out for him as the rise of the villains continues.
Will Theo Galavan become Azrael? Do you think we’ll see the Court of Owls this season? Weigh in below.
“Gotham” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.