Gotham, Episode 5 “Viper” Broadcast October 20, 2014
Written by Rebecca Perry Cutter
Directed by Tim Hunter
In Wayne Manor, young Bruce is tacking up photos and data to a pushpin board chronicling the connections to those he believes are associated with his parents’ murder. Alfred suggests he go outside rather than deal with this “absolute waste of time. What if you don’t get…revenge?” he asks. Bruce replies, “I don’t want revenge. I want to understand how it all works. How Gotham works.” At Maroni’s restaurant, the gangster wants to hit Falcone, since he hit him last week. One goon sees Cobblepot, the new manager of the restaurant, watching. “What are you looking at? You got something to say?” “No, sir,” replies the devious bird. “Nothing at all.” Across town a young man plays his guitar for drug money. An odd man with a mangled ear drops a green vial in the junkie’s case as an offering. The player examines the green vial, noticing the green snake design on it, and inhales its fumes. His body goes rigid as he quickly stands, feeling the rush. He goes to a convenience store where he begins to guzzle gallons of milk. The clerk tells him he has to pay for what he’s drinking, but the drug abuser says, “Do not vex me, mortal.” This causes the clerk to swing a bat at the junkie, who stops it mid-swing with one hand. He then snaps the bat in half. Meanwhile, Gordon and Bullock are buying burgers from a street vendor, when Selina Kyle jumps onto a car to pickpocket a wealthy man. Gordon sees her, yells a warning, and she takes off empty handed. A building’s alarm sounds causing Gordon to rush to it, while Bullock says it can wait ’cause it’s lunch time. The claxon is coming from the convenience store where the clerk shows the detectives that his ATM has been stolen out of the wall. Cut to the junkie running down the street with the entire ATM on his back. Cue title logo and first commercial break.
There was a lot going on in this episode. For the first time, Bruce and Alfred were necessary to the plot. They weren’t directly tied into the drug story, but Wayne Enterprises was, and young Bruce is starting to flex his muscle to see that all his parents built isn’t corrupted. For the first time I wanted to see more of his story than that of Gordon and Bullock’s. The Penguin tells too much to the wrong people, prompting another character to be beholden to an entire different faction in the city. Fish is training her new student so she can take out Falcone. These sequences, though quick, were painful to sit through. Every possible cliché line in the world came from Fish’s contributions this week. The villain of the episode was good, and it teased a future villain who would use the next strain of the drug to become the man who broke the bat in the comics. There are two new characters who represent two different corrupt factions in Gotham and I look forward to seeing more of each. Edward Nygma also got some more screen time and his final line was the best of the episode.
The good: Alfred and Bruce uniting finally, Bruce being one smart little kid, Penguin’s name becoming well known, a fantastic death by ATM, great explanation of Viper’s workings, great Zorro cameo (if you look quickly!), “Fascinating!”, and “What’s ‘altruism’?”
The bad: Junkie’s hilarious panting as he runs down the street with the ATM on his back, an overly dramatic music cue in a kitchen during a reveal, and everything involving Fish Mooney.
The final line: Everybody got to do something this episode (save an absent Barbara) and each character got an added tweak or dimension. Solid, but not stunning. Overall grade: B
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.