Gotham: 105 “Viper” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
This week’s offering of Gotham was a strange one, on one hand the characters were significantly improved and storylines which had been previously established came back to the fore and had a large part to play this time out. On the other hand however, the story itself was the weakest offered so far meaning that the episode once more fell into the entertaining but nothing special category. We have now reached the stage where this is a major time for the show, as viewers are much more likely to switch off after giving it what they would consider a fair chance.
The theme for the story of the week, Bio Terrorism, should have had much more potential than was realised. The drug in question was one named Viper which gave those who took it super strength before eventually killing them due to hypocalcaemia. Whilst fundamentally a niche idea fitting in with the strange ways to kill established so far in the show, there was one thing that made it stick out like a sore thumb. To this point everything in show had been real and could easily have happened in the real world, and this is the first time that had been broken. As far as I am aware there are no drugs capable of doing this, so the show has sacrificed its realism in doing so. Perhaps the show intends to introduce superpowers to the narrative quite soon, and this was a manner of gently easing that in. What was good about this particular storyline however is that it was reference to Venom a drug which features heavily in the Batman Universe and was also a means of adding some depth to the Wayne storyline.
Speaking of the Waynes, young Bruce gets a lot more to do this week as we see him continue to try to piece together what happened to his parents. This time, his focus is centred on the Arkham Project, Wayne Industries, and their role in incident. His investigation sees him go to a charity night where he hopes to get the opportunity to talk to the board members. Instead he finds himself in grave danger, but in such a way that gives us one of the scenes of the episode. The moment where Alfred puts Bruce ahead of himself is indicative of future relationship the two will share.
There is also some significant development to the mob plotline this week as we see Fish Mooney conspire against Don Falcone with her lover. We are teased in the finale scene of the episode that her plans are already in motion as an undercover Liza approaches Don Falcone in the park. On the other side of the war, Cobblepot finds himself in hot water as he reveals his true past to Don Maroni who as you would expect is initially not pleased. This leads him to seek confirmation from Gordon that Penguin’s story is true in a rather tense scene which Jim navigates quite well. Convinced of Cobblepot’s allegiance and safe in the knowledge that he also has one up on Jim, Don Maroni uses his new found confidence to steal from Don Falcone.
In most aspects this week, Gotham was disappointing. Perhaps even more worrying is at times it was boring and actually struggled to hold my attention. Maybe this can be attributed to the weak story, however my worry would be that there is a deeper flaw ingrained in the show. I cannot shake the feeling that we aren’t as invested in the characters as we should be after around 225 minutes of screen time, and that real worry. If we aren’t invested in the characters it becomes difficult to enjoy the stories and the situations the characters find themselves in become less meaningful. At the moment the only characters I actually care for are Cobblepot, Gordon and Bruce Wayne. The rest leave a lot to be desired.
Next week’s episode does however look very good from the teaser provided. Let’s hope it is because it is about time the show proved itself for what it can be.