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'Gotham' recap: Firefly lights up the show

Firefly may be gone (for now), but "Gotham" is just starting to heat up.

As unsatisfying as the second season has been, Monday's episode, "By Fire" was a captivating build-up for the Penguin and Gallavan showdown and the rise of the Riddler. More episodes like this, and it will soon be fun to watch again.

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But mixed with all the that high energy were three stories of victims of abuse. (Fun stuff, right?) The victims fought back, gave in or met their demise at the hands of their abusers. Sadly, none of them ended with a happy fate. Here's how it all played out.

Firefly

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Selina and Bridgit team up. They're not the girl power duo city needs, but one that the show was desperately lacking. (Especially since "Gotham" is now competing with "Supergirl" on CBS at the same time.)

Their first mission: Break into a sex slave auction (yeah, "Gotham" went there), and rob its lowlife attendees.

Bridgit, who has always been tormented by her brothers, sympathizes with the caged and shackled victims. But Selina's code for living "free" doesn't work like that.

"Rule No. 1: Always look after number one. That's you."

So rather than release the captives, the duo takes the money and runs. Just when Bridgit's about to head out of town, her brothers kidnap her and handcuff her to a radiator.

They light firecrackers right in front of her face and harass her about why she left the family. Gee, you'd think the way they abuse her is an obvious enough answer, but bullies never are that self-aware.

That taunting is what sparks her bad girl streak. Bridgit torches both of her brothers, and goes on a mission to go after all the "pervs and the bullies."

Like Batman, she comes from a painful past filled with injustice, and channels that pain to help those in need. Only difference is, she's out for blood and it nearly killed her.

I'm glad that they gave Firefly depth. It's easy to paint comic book villains as two-dimensional cardboard cutouts if they're not as famous, or infamous, as Catwoman or Penguin.

Instead, they gave her enough substance to bring her back for a third episode. We won't know when that will be — she'll probably take a while to recover from her full-body burn at Indian Hill, whatever it is they're doing over in that diabolic hospital/ laboratory — but with this much flare they've given her, it should be a red-hot return.

Butch

Butch, that sad state of a being, is so brainwashed that he knows he's brainwashed, yet he carries out orders from his master without blinking.

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And who's his master? It depends on which episode you're watching. In fact, his brain has been washed, bleached and tumble-dried so many times, it's amazing his mind is still malleable or functional.

Last week, he let Penguin chop off his hand and still did his bidding for him. He almost convinces Theo that he was no longer working for Penguin, until he was caught snooping around Theo's penthouse for signs of Penguin's mom.

Once Theo catches on, he sics Tabitha on him. After only an hour or so of torture from Tabitha, he's team Gallavan.

For now, Butch is still in victim mode and submissive to his abuser's every whim. Will he ever break free from the manipulation and think for himself?

Kris Kringle

Well, Kris certainly has a type. She went from the physically abusive om Dougherty to "murderer and soon-to-be criminal mastermind" Ed Nygma.

It was devastating to hear Ed say ,"I'd never do anything to hurt you!" as she's gasping for breath. Poor Kris. She's already dealt with enough jerks, and it looked like she finally met a decent one.

But lattes with coffee art hearts don't make up for murdering your boyfriend or choking you to death.

Killing Kris will push Ed over the edge. We saw him crack after killing Tom, but as long as he had Kris to keep him happy and relatively sane, he could keep his dark side in check.

With most Batman villains, they have to accept that they're "crazy" or "free" in order to assume their true and more sinister identity.

We saw this with Barbara and Bridgit when they both rejoiced that they were "free" after killing their oppressors. For Barbara it was her cold, WASP-y parents, and for Bridgit, her pyromaniac brothers.

Kris didn't oppress or abuse Ed. In fact, it was just the opposite, even if her murder wasn't intentional. But the guilt of killing Kris will amplify his insanity. How soon will it be until the Riddler debuts?

More highlights from "By Fire":

Best Harvey one-liner: "Oh yeah, my kicks did it? Maybe it's because he's fried like a taquito!" – Harvey to Jim after he scolds Harvey for kicking a wounded suspect. Speaking of…

Scariest moment: The burnt Pike brother grabbing Harvey's leg even though he looked dead. Gah!

Worst accessorizing: Butch's mallet on his new stump. What happened to the mini chainsaw Tabitha and Barbara were gushing over?

Corniest line: "You mean, like, crime?" – Bridgit to Selina after saying they'll find a way to get money.

"Man, you are a square!" – Selina. The kids are still saying "square" nowadays?

Worst line: "What are you gonna do? Kill us?" – Pike brother

"Yup." – Bridgit

Most awkward double date/family dinner: Bruce and Silver plus Theo and Tabitha. "Look how cute they are. Don't you just want to eat them?" Tabitha says right after saying Theo hopes Bruce thinks of them as family. Blegh.

Worst thing to say after having sex: "I killed your ex boyfriend." – Ed. Yikes.

Sweetest moment: Selina giving Bridgit a hug before she leaves. Aww, Cat can be so cute when she tries!

Funniest line: "You're cute … for a doctor." – Selina

"You're cute … for a gangster." – Leigh

Snitches get promotions: Good on the youngings in the Strike Force for reporting Jim to Captain Barnes about assaulting a suspect. Maybe those kids will inspire him get his act together. Speaking of…

Mistakes made, lessons learned: "This is war, but that doesn't give you or me the license to break the law. There's a line. I learned that the hard way." – Captain Barnes

"Respectfully, sir, this is Gotham. There are gray areas. I've learned that the hard way." – Jim to Captain Barnes.

We all know about Jim's skeletons, but what's the captain hiding in his closet? And how much longer can Jim keep his hidden? Not long, I'm guessing. Selina referred to the Penguin as Jim's friend in front of Leigh. It's only a matter of time before she starts asking questions.

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