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TV Review: Gotham Season 1 Episode 5 "Viper"

10.21.2014

Episode 5: "Viper"

Synopsis: Gordon and Bullock search for the source of a new street drug that causes euphoria then death. Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot works his way deeper into Maroni’s inner circle and Fish Mooney continues to plot against Falcone.

Recap: Opening this week's episode, we have Bruce Wayne assembling the stereotypical pinboard of crime scene photos with yarn connecting disparate events and characters much in the same way we have seen on countless shows about vigliantes in development.  Oddly, as much as he tells Bruce it is not healthy, Alfred doesn't seem to do a very good job of discouraging his young ward.  Much like the series itself, Bruce doesn't quite seem to know what is good for him but he keeps trying to figure it out anyway.

At Moroni's restaurant, Oswald listens to the crime boss' plan to go against Carmine Falcone.  At the same time, a busker is playing his guitar when a strange man leaves him a vial of a green liquid emblazoned with the words "Breathe Me".  Of course he does, which immediately gets him so high that his skill crackles with the drug.  He enters a convenient store and begins downing milk.  When the shopkeeper tries to stop him, the busker shatters his bat.  Across the street, Selina Kyle approaches Jim Gordon and his partner as they get a bite to eat.  Barely missing Selina, Gordon and Bullock hear an alarm and run into the shop where the busker just attacked.  The shopkeeper tells the cops that the busker stole his ATM and we see him running away with the incredibly heavy machine over his shoulder.

At Fish Mooney's, the new girl is learning to sing while FIsh continues to spout to her that she is the secret weapon she needs and is not her mother.  Bullock and Gordon find the vial and say Nygma is analyzing the drug for leads.  Going through town with a security camera photo of the suspect, Gordon and Bullock find a lead that takes them to an underpass littered with empty milk jugs.  The busker begs for more of the drug, spouting about a man with a mangled ear.  As he lifts the ATM in anger, the man's bones buckle and he crushes himself to death.  We then see the man with the mangled ear handing vials out to dozens of people on the streets of Gotham.

Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred wakes up Bruce and recommends he visit a charity luncheon.  Bruce agrees to go in order to ask the Wayne Industries board questions about how the Falcone and Moroni families got their stock in the new Arkham development plan.  Bruce thens sees a news report about the new street drug, nicknamed VIper.  At the station, Edward Nygma explains the drug activates DNA which forces calcium to be produced which is why their bones buckle.  Back at the restaurant, Oswald approaches Moroni and his associate, offering a janitor connection he has to help him rob a casino.  Moroni is intrigued and offers Oswald a drink.  When Cobblepot reveals his true identity and connection to Fish and Falcione, Moroni slams his head into the table.

Bullock and Gordon meet with Wayne Enterprises subsidiary WelllZyn and learn the man with the mangled ear is a former employee of theirs who disagreed with the company.  They let him go but he disappeared.  As they prepare an APB, Moroni's associate arrives and tells Gordon to come with him to deal with the Cobblepot situation.  There is a surprising lack of tension as once again Gordon tries to disassociate himself from Cobblepot, sending the future villain on his own to rob the casino and save his own life.

On the trail of Stan Patolski, Bullock and Gordon trail the chemist to the same Wayne Enterprises charity function being attended by Bruce Wayne and Alfred.  Having learned that WellZyn designed Viper as well as the more advanced formula called Venom, Bullock and Gordon confront Patolski on the rooftop the charity where he has a tank of the drug ready to be unleashed.  They instead shoot him (after a long rambling about setting things right, very similar to the prior episode "The Balloonman") and he tells the cops to check Warehouse 39, which proves to be empty.

Rating: 5/10 Gotham PD Badges

Five episodes in, GOTHAM's focus has begun to slightly shift from just being the development of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon to being a true look into the criminal underworld of Batman's hometown.  The focus of the rogue's gallery is still primarily on Oswald Cobblepot with all of the other bad guys serving as window dressing thus far.  Even the appearance of Selina Kyle this week was a throwaway moment.

Still, the show seems very confused about what it wants to be.  The vigilante villain seems to already be a copy of prior episodes this season and Cobblepot's rise feels very by the numbers.  I want to like the show, but each episode continues to seem like an attempt at a revised pilot with a slightly reworked tone and focus.  The cast is actually pretty good, especially Donal Logue, so it would be a damn shame if they couldn't find a consistent style going forward.

Next Episode: "Spirit of the Goat" airs October 27th. When a killer begins targeting the first born of Gotham's elite, Bullock is forced to confront traumatic memories from a nearly identical case he worked in the past. Later, Gordon is confronted by past decisions.

Source: JoBlo.com

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