Gotham Review: “Viper”

ATM Beggar

– Spoiler Review –

“Viper” sets Gotham back on a path I can enjoy, introducing a very familiar drug, moves players about in interesting ways, and has some guy crushed by an ATM. Can’t usually go wrong with that, which is unfortunate that the show still continues to stumble.

Ending Gotham TV Show Reviews (9/26/15)

I probably should’ve done this more formally back when I called it quits with the show after its umpteenth break during the first season, but I won’t be reviewing this series anymore. I had been holding out hope the show would get better for the second season and the creative team behind it were saying all the right things, but the S2 premiere was just more of the same. Sure, there’s some promise for better things ahead in it so I’ll be tuning in, but this is more in regards to my own personal time constraints and my sanity. Sorry and thanks for checking out Mynock Manor for details on Gotham and I seriously hope the show hits its stride soon. We still have plenty of content on the site so browse around before heading somewhere else!

Even the beggars are corrupt in Gotham City, but at least they are honest and upfront about it. “Viper” starts when a creepy guy with a mangled ear drops a green vial in a guitar playing beggar’s case. I don’t think I was the only one to immediately think, “Bane-serum” or “Venom” the moment that vial was on screen, plus it was basically being obviously screamed about through the title and the episode’s description.

Gordon and Bullock Stopping PotolskyThe viper-ed beggar strikes a nearby convenience store for some milk, breaking the shopkeeper’s bat in two when he confronts the beggar. Luckily, but also a moment which convinces me Gordon and Bullock are the only two cops in the city, they’re nearby to respond to the shop’s alarm. And of course just moments before, Gordon and Bullock’s lunch-time bonding was interrupted by a quick, “Don’t forget she’s in the show” appearance from Selina Kyle.

Bullock continues his lazy streak by telling the shopkeeper to call the police, but both he and Gordon have to take the case when it’s revealed the beggar ripped and carried away the ATM inside the store. Honestly though, at this point should/would homicide detectives even take this case? Either way they end up doing the most police work, without beating anyone up, that I’ve seen them do since the pilot, going street dweller to street dweller with a picture of the beggar.

More OuchThey get a hit, finding the beggar chilling with the torn open ATM, begging them for more milk. Pissing the beggar off, he picks up the ATM, only for the Viper to wear off. In the one of more gruesome moments in the show, the effects of the beggar going pale white, and his bones snapping, was disgustingly good. The ATM crushes the beggar and finally our homicide detectives should really be on the case.

However, mangled ear guy decides to hand out tons of the Viper vials, but not everyone who receives one is crazy enough to do a drug handed to them by a complete stranger, right? Right? This is Gotham City, as Bullock points out at the end of the episode, so I guess that means everyone’s stupid enough to try the free Viper. On the flip side, we finally see the rest of the police force as they deal with a flood of Viper junkies.

Creepy NygmaNygma gets his longest screen time, telling Gordon and Bullock how the drug burns calcium (hence the milk overdose by the beggar) and just how exciting and cool such a crazy drug was even invented. And when another Viper taker receives the gruesome bone breaking death, Nygma gets creepily excited. So far, he has come off as more creepy loner/serial killer seeming than some eventual diabolical riddling mastermind.

Detective WayneIn the meantime, young Master Bruce has been ignoring Alfred to put his budding detective skills to the test, trying to solve how the crime families got involved with the Wayne Enterprises’ Arkham deal. Honestly, it seems like Bruce is doing more, and better, detective work than Gordon and Bullock here and is actually uncovering corruption amongst the board members. And surprisingly, with all the mentions of Wayne Enterprises (WE) around Gordon, I’m shocked he didn’t visit Bruce at all this week. When there’s practically no reason for him to visit, he does, but when he really should, Gordon never makes the trek.

The obviously malevolent subsidiary of WE, WelZyn, sends out their lawyer to be defensive about the insinuations that they are the only ones who can make a drug of Viper’s caliber, though they do reveal the mangled ear man’s name: Stan Potolsky. Just as Gordon is going to chase down the lead, Cobblepot’s storyline interrupts, as Maroni’s man Jackie requests (with a blackmail threat) for Gordon to accompany him.

Friendly DinnerIf I’ve never mentioned it before, the episodes can get to be rather busy. Cobblepot has been hovering over Maroni’s conversations about robbing a bank and sees his opportunity to help out. Insanely, Cobblepot reveals his whole story and pays with a swift beating. Gordon is brought in to corroborate the young Penguin’s rather outlandish story, with Maroni threatening to kill Penguin if Gordon’s story doesn’t add up. For trying to be uncorrupt, Gordon is both now in Maroni’s pocket and the Falcone camp’s pocket with blackmail. Good job so far, Jim.

Thankfully Gordon returns to pick up a box of Potolsky’s stuff and conveniently finds a lead, after Bullock’s been digging through the other boxes this whole time. The picture Gordon finds leads them to Potolsky’s associate, an older gentleman thinking he’s a Bond villain as he spills the beans about their entire plan and then tries to kill the two officers. He’s put down by Gordon, and in a hilarious bit with Bullock asking the dying man what the big word means ‘altruism’ means, actually helping them stop Potolsky’s plan.

PotolskyNow Bruce and Gordon’s storylines cross, as Bruce is interrogating a WE employee Mathis about the corruption within the company while at a charity event WE is hosting. Potolsky is on the roof, about to pump the perfected version of Viper, Venom, into the vents of the event. Bullock clears everyone out and Gordon stops the Venom from being pumped in, while Potolsky gets a dose of Venom, mentions a warehouse, and jumps off to his death.

The warehouse has been cleaned out, which Bullock tosses up to this “…being Gotham” instead of worrying about what happened. Mathis is watching them, revealing her to being part of whatever conspiracy is going on inside WE and mostly likely related to the Falcone/GCPD/Mayor’s office one Gordon spills to Maroni about. So he’s told both Maroni and Bruce, but he couldn’t tell Barbara? That whole relationship thing still bothers me from last week.

Mooney, Nikolai, and FalconeBut wait, there’s one (or two) more subplot(s) to discuss! Falcone is pleasantly feeding pigeons, because of course a mob boss does those things all alone in a city intent on killing him, and turns into a bumbling fool around a pretty lady (I can relate at least) singing the opera song “O Mio Babbino Caro” (which always makes me think of Grand Theft Auto, thus gangsters). This lady is Mooney’s secret weapon, who has a few scenes of training after the brawl last week. Mooney’s other subplot is her being in bed (literally) with another underling of Falcone, some Russian sounding guy, trying to back his takeover plan, but I’m pretty sure she’s just using him for the time being. Though Mooney doesn’t get tons of screen time, Jada Pinkett Smith continues to make it worth every second.

Joker Watch

While I noticed the extended focus on them, it seems I wasn’t the only one: Twitter user Anthony Collado is convinced the purple flowers were the only Joker reference we got this week. It would’ve been hard to fit anything bigger in this episode, what with everything going on of course. Don’t forgot to keep your eyes open and tweet using #JokerWatch or e-mail me at mynock.manor@gmail.com if you catch anything Joker related hidden in the latest Gotham episode!

Love Is Sweet

Gotham takes a few steps, with a stumble or two, in the right direction with “Viper.” The Venom storyline and the effects the drug takes on users was Gotham’s chance to have a little more fun with its world and it takes it. A lot of characters intertwined, leading to interesting new possibilities for nearly every one. But the ineptitude of our non-Bruce detectives, some questionable character choices, and being a little too busy with too many characters in an episode continues to plague the show.

+ Venom

+ Wayne Enterprises as the bad guys? Intriguing

+ Bruce Wayne’s detective skills

 Busy don’t always mean better

 Procedural elements remain weak

 Case solving is too conveniently easy

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

GOTHAM REVIEWS:
S1, Ep. 12: “What the Little Bird Told Him
S1, Ep. 11: “Rogues’ Gallery
S1, Ep. 10: “Lovecraft
S1, Ep. 9: “Harvey Dent
S1, Ep. 8: “The Mask
S1, Ep. 7: “Penguin’s Umbrella
S1, Ep. 6: “Spirit of the Goat
S1, Ep. 4: “Arkham
S1, Ep. 3: “The Balloonman
S1, Ep. 2: “Selina Kyle
S1, Ep. 1: “Pilot

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