Gotham S1:E5 – Viper (another f***ing night in Gotham…)


The main problem of the week is the titular Viper; a drug which gives the user super strength and “delusions of ultimate power” with the sad side-effect of rapidly depleting the body’s calcium resulting in not-so-subtle fast-acting brittle bone disease. When it wears off, the user goes all Stretch Armstrong in the most ridiculous way before collapsing into a heap of human jello and suffocating.

The creator of the drug passes out tons of free samples to Gotham’s lower class (read: MOST of Gotham) and chaos ensues. Most notable uses are a drug-addled guitarist who uses it to single-handedly rip an ATM out of a wall and an old walker-using philosophy professor, a good friend of the drug’s creator who while being questioned by our favorite pair of dicks, inhales a vial of Viper and bends his walker into a mess before throwing Jim into the hallway through a wooden door and nearly choking him out.

We find out during the pre-old-man-Bane sequence that Viper was the first version of Venom – the drug used by Bane (that is, the REAL COMIC BOOK Bane, not the Tom Hardy born-in-the-darkness Bane) to give him the backbreaking strength he uses to take Bruce Wayne out of commission in the comics. I have to admit, I called the Venom thing at the beginning of the episode. I was pleasantly surprised to know they didn’t rename the actual drug for the sake of a television audience.

Needless to say, this was a horribly acted interrogation scene. I really want to blame the directors of these episodes for the horror. I feel I need to start blaming the actors just as much.

We also glean from the philosophy professor (again, in the most poorly acted way possible) that the creator of the drug, working for a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, blames his employers for the lives he took and is using the exposure of the drug to gain what he thinks is justice. He infiltrates a Wayne charity function (attended by Bruce and Alfred just for that extra “oh shit” angle that NONE OF US COULD EVER SEE COMING, AMIRITE?) and pulls a “somebody poisoned the waterhole” by letting his inhalant into the ventilation system.

This plan fails miserably after he delivers his missive to the assembled “middle management” and child-billionaire-in-chief. Bullock clears the ballroom quickly and Jim corners the perp on the roof, shooting the gas canister and giving him a huge dose of his own medicine before the perp turns and leaps to his death (body not seen, but the detectives don’t seem to care to investigate any further or clear that one up themselves). Just before he jumps, he tells our dicks to check out warehouse 39. Again, all of this using the poorest acting skills available.

They check this warehouse and find it empty. A Wayne rep (seen in a scene with Bruce, which we’ll get to) ominously warns a person on the opposite end of a cell phone that “we’ll deal with them if they get close”. End to the main story.

This week in subplots:

OMG SELENA KYLE SHOWS UP FOR LIKE A SPLIT SECOND I ALMOST FORGOT SHE WAS THERE THANKS FOR REMINDING ME!

Fish, now the proud owner of some pouty-lipped Lorde wannabe, is “training” her girl to become the weapon she is supposed to be by forcing her to learn to sing and appreciate opera. This, after a few more scenes foreshadowing the rather transparent plans she has in store for Don Falcone, culminates in the last 30 seconds of the episode where Lorde-girl shows up in a white dress with a new blonde doo humming an aria while Falcone sits on some park steps feeding the pigeons.

He goes to her in such a magnetic and insincere fashion that it almost looks like he’s faking it, like he knows what’s up. I kept waiting for him to shoot her while referencing Fish’s now-discovered and possibly thwarted takeover plans. Instead, fade to black. The acting was SO BAD by Falcone that for a minute I thought it was done on purpose!

Oswald comes clean with Maroni about his history. Jim gets called in to verify to Maroni that he, indeed, was told to kill Oswald for ratting but didn’t. Oswald helps Maroni rob Falcone’s casino. Boom done.

Bruce, from his one-room Wayne Manor, decides to continue investigating improprieties in the Arkham deal, wanting to talk to the board of directors regarding why the biggest crime families in Gotham got the biggest pieces of the deal. This leads to the aforementioned discussion with the Wayne rep who claims to be “just middle management”. Bruce, continuing to be made out as a child WELL beyond his years, gets continuously patronized by everyone including his own trusty butler because he’s just a kid. He freaks when the perp delivers his missive about the misdoings of Wayne Enterprises and is about to ask a few shocked questions aloud before Alfred covers his face with a suit jacket and ushers him out of the room to avoid the green smoke of Viper that infected no one.

This week in problems:

Stereotypical characters are stereotypical. This show leans heavily on this. Italian mobsters are overly Italian. Russian/Balkan mobsters are overly Eastern European. Old people are old people and like to feed pigeons. Young aspiring singers are really just sluts that will do whatever it takes to better themselves including luring known mafiosi into their ultimate demise with a display of tits and ass. Above all, EVERYONE IN GOTHAM IS BAD!!!

Stereotypes make this show horrible. They make it predictable. They make it look poorly acted. Wise up and throw us a curveball. I know the writers tried (TRIED) to do this with Fish, by making a “strong” black woman a capo of a major Italian crime family, but they just wound up giving us Eartha Kitt minus the purple spandex.

I continue to be disappointed.

OH! And, news out of the Gotham camp is that they have cast an actress as Dr. Leslie Thompson – one of the most trusted friends of the Wayne family and one of the few who knows Bruce is Batman – for a recurring role starting in early 2015. I would say this is cool but it only means that Gotham will be around UNTIL EARLY 2015. This may become a shame.

Bidula’s Last Word – 3.5/10

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

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