Viper was the strongest episode of Gotham yet, and despite it all I’m still not sold entirely on its staying power. The show is slowly beginning to find its pace, but as it is now it seems like nothing more than the Sopranos in Gotham. We do get some interesting twists and turns however, that could lead us to some really cool plot lines if they choose to follow. This episode’s strengths play on what we as viewers hope to expect from the series in the long run. We get some nice references here and there, Bruce gets some development, and we’ve got our first superpowered individuals.
With Viper we see the strongest use of territorial gang drama in Gotham to date. For me it’s what made the gangs and mob bosses seem more like mafiosos than silly goons. I love that Fish Mooney is attempting to make plays towards a power grab from Falcone, attempting to feign otherwise by getting into kerfuffles with lesser family heads. She is also training the perfect weapon to bring Falcone down. I just wish she had more reason to. Maroni is also trying to show Falcone that he’s no simple pushover. Why is everyone so upset with Falcone? He’s my favorite mob boss right now. He had a nice moment by the end of the episode, if not for it being staged.
I’m not a fan of Maroni’s violent eccentricities. When the Penguin is telling him his story he beats him, waits for Jim Gordon to confirm the story, and then he laughs it off. I don’t wanna watch that. And this is primarily why the show hasn’t stuck so well with me thus far. Mafia crime stories don’t appeal to me. The mafia isn’t why I’m a fan of the Batman comic book character, but it seems to be the crux of the premise so far for Gotham. But anyway, Penguin moves on up. And Maroni tells him he should be proud of the name Penguin – it suits him.
The menace this week is found in the form of a drug called viper. It looks like poison, has a creepy wonderland-esque label “Breathe Me” on the back, and people willingly take it after being given a dosage freely. Its effects on the body were very interesting. It gave you incredible strength, and godlike sensibilities, but it ate away at the calcium in your bones. After the drug wore off you’d immediately die – which was kind of a ridiculously horrific way to do so. Guess that’s one way to clean off the streets. But that begs the question of why the drug was even being distributed in the first place? Was the guy just crazy and wanted to see how many people he could kill, or was it for further testing purposes? Either way, it is mentioned in the past tense that the next stage of the drug, Venom, had already been created – so why not show us that? Why tease something that already exists and give us the lesser product? For those that didn’t catch the reference, Venom is the drug popularized by bat-villain Bane.
My favorite part of the episode is actually how ridiculous this one scene was. Gordon found an image of Stan, the viper dealer, and some old guy. Just by looking at the books on the bookshelf behind the old guy, he made the jump that it must’ve been a philosophy professor at a Gotham college. Excellent deduction my friend. But it’s really Harvey Bullock who steals the scene, yelling at the man “What’s altruism?!”
It looks as though WellZyn, a Wayne subsidiary was behind the manufacturing of viper. No problem. Bruce Wayne is on the case. When Batman first swung onto the scene in 1939 he was known as the world’s greatest detective. But in modern renditions of the story that title’s been all but forgotten. It appears that’s not so with Gotham. Despite my continued flabbergasty at their only being one room in the Wayne Manor, Bruce finally gets around to being proactive. He discovers the discrepancies in the company ledgers, realizes that they’re affiliated with gang payoffs, and actually goes out in search of answers. Brave kid. I love the actor too. Now that he’s not moping 24/7 there’s some real promise there. Glad that Pennyworth is finally helping him do research too.
What I really hope we get to see sometime in the near future is a purely Bruce centered episode. Or Selina Kyle, who only appeared very briefly this week. She’s a terrible pickpocket. If we can get Bruce and Selina to go on a detective mission, that would be fantastic. What do you want out of Gotham? Or is hitting all the right notes already? Let me know below.
Current ranked average of Gotham Season One: 7.76