"Gotham" 1.5 – Viper (8 out of 10) – Directed by Danny Cannon; Written by Bruno Heller; Based on characters created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Howard Chaykin, Frank Miller, Greg Rucka, et al; Starring Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sean Pertwee…; Rated TV14” Aired on Fox 10/20/14.
“Gotham” keeps gaining traction with each new episode. Although there was more of the same this week, “Viper” brought something new to the show that was desperately needed. Lets start with the weak points.
This week's episode started off with a standard plot of a new drug that has hit the street and is going to cause chaos if it isn't stopped. It has a very in the box feel to the story although seeing a green chemical that gives the user super strength was a nice tip of the hat to fans. That’s where the good with this weekly villain ends. I’m happy they introduced some super natural stuff into the show because Batman’s rouge gallery is full of them but once again I didn’t care about the villain or his motive. Gordon finds a giant clue, which leads him to the baddie. Rinse and repeat.
It still feels that cases we get every week are just the filler in between the important scenes. I would love to see the show break from showing us every character every week and what they’re doing and just focus on a few a week at a time. That might come later down the road and I hope it does because mixing in the cases almost feels like a different show all together.
What worked extremely well this week was Cobblepot’s plan to get in deeper with the criminal elite of Gotham. He confessed who he was to Maroni and promised he could help him overthrow Falcone. Of course Maroni doesn’t believe him so he sends one of his goons to fetch Gordon. I just want to point out how corrupt the police in Gotham are. A known member of one of the city’s biggest gangs walks into a police station and then walks out with a police officer in tow and no one bats an eye. This wasn’t over done or thrown in our face it just happened and it was great.
Gordon is taken to Maroni and confirms everything Cobblepot has said putting himself under the gang leaders thumb because if anyone finds out he didn’t kill Penguin then Gordon is a dead man. Moving over to Falcone’s camp Fish sends out her secret weapon Liza to throw Falcone off balance and it works in a big way.
I assumed a young attractive woman would be used to seduce him and I was fully prepared to be annoyed at the obviousness of it. But Liza is an embodiment of Falcone’s mother. She meets him while he’s feeding pigeons and from the moment he sees her he looses control. Almost becoming a different person who struggles to speak and is not very gangster like at all. So far the gang war has been the most interesting part of the show and while I’m excited to see where it goes from here this still wasn’t the best part of the episode.
The best part this week was what happened with Bruce. I was not expecting it to happen but when it did I got excited. Bruce continues to dig into his parents murder and he discovers that part of Arkham was given to the leaders of the gangs. This doesn’t sit right with him at all because the entire Arkham plan started out with his parents. Bruce even says to Alfred that he knew City Hall was corrupt but he didn’t think that was how his parents did business. Determined to find out more he goes to a charity event where the board of Wayne Enterprises will be so he can ask them some questions.
He meets with a woman named Mathis who brushes him off and without meaning to confirms his suspicions that the company his parents built has become corrupt. This leads him to explaining to Alfred that he thinks his parents were killed because of the Arkham deal and what’s going on inside the company. His parents were good people and that wasn’t going to work for the company so they had them killed. Alfred certainly seems to agree with Bruce because he even starts to help him research his theory. This was a great nod to the relationship Bruce and Alfred will have one day without being over the top.
This part of the story intrigues me the most. Not only does it open up a reason for Bruce to stay in the show and stay relevant to the plot but I can believe that Bruce would want to make sure his parents good name stayed good; and that the company they built didn’t get overrun by criminals. It also would be very interesting if Wayne Enterprises were the overall evil of the show. What if they had Thomas and Martha killed for getting in the way? I hope this is the path the show takes because it got me invested in the show, which hadn’t happened until this episode.
Overall it was a strong episode, it had more of the same from previous episodes but what was different worked so well I can’t wait for next week. All I want to see now is more focus and depth on fewer characters each week instead of the broad strokes we’re getting now. Gotham is on it’s way to being an amazing show, it’s just not there yet.