Gotham Review: Episode 5, “Viper”

Gotham took a trip back to the 90s this week; with the TV in Essen’s office, the Walkman, the 40s hairstyles and rhinestone bustiers, the excellent use of a Morphine song, but also brought along the slacker ethic in the writing this week. The themes of this week’s episode of Gotham was bad influences. The theme from the writer’s room of Gotham this week was a complete lack of motivation for the characters and plot. This episode had a lot more in common with Baywatch Nights than Homicide: Life on the Streets.

Can we please have more junkies running around carrying ATM machines on their backs, and less meaningless philosophy-lite lessons?

So, Bruce is creating a Big Board of Wayne Industries. Alfred starts off wanting him to take his mind off, but then became complicit in Bruce’s investigation, risking the boy’s life in the process. Bruce is beginning to learn and grow up, but Alfred will always be a terrible, if loving, parent. At least this part of the show is consistent.

The difference in the ways Falcone and Moroni handle conflict and confusion was certainly a nice touch, but loses a lot when Moroni’s big plan is so mundane as to rob a bank. Let me say that again. His big plan to begin his takeover of Gotham is to rob a bank. And Falcone? Oh, Falcone.

Fish, of course, plays the role of loyal soldier to Falcone against generic, racist Russian mobster #1, who in reality she is shtupping to gain his support. Because a woman’s greatest weapon is sex appeal, am I right? In related news, it’s okay to use generic, racist Russians as nameless bad guys again.

Apparently it’s okay to use generic Italian mobster cliches again too. Something, something Puccini, something all work and no play makes Liza a dull patsy, something about Liza looking like Falcone’s mother despite not being chosen for her look, something something Fish vs Falcone plot I’m supposed to care about, but I can’t because we all know it’s going to fail anyway. One other thing. It might not be a good idea to have an “act-off” with two characters when the difference in level of talent is so extreme. Really, if there was any doubt in Jada Pinkett-Smith’s ability I think that scene went a long way to dispelling it.

Oh yeah, there was a Villain of the Week. The nervous man in a suit didn’t get a fancy nickname this week. He’s just Stan. Stan the brilliant biochemist who doesn’t want his work to be used to hurt people…unless he’s the one doing the hurting. And he loves philosophy because…just because they needed a mentor to sympathize with him and provide the exposition that is supposed to explain Stan’s activism. Except the professor’s actions cut Stan’s “big statement” action off at the heels, and made the whole thing pointless. Including the deaths of Stan and the professor. Even the big empty warehouse reveal didn’t offer anything that couldn’t have been handled easily without the plot convenience. But I suppose it did bring us, “What’s Altruism?” Oh, and I think Selina Kyle showed up at some point, but I don’t think there was a point to that either.

This show is starting to make my head hurt. But at least I had some Morphine.

Joker Watch: (no change*)

  • Butch Gilzean
  • Crispus Allan
  • Fish Mooney
  • Harold the landlord
  • Not yet seen

*No new interesting characters, so no change. But it was mentioned that a later version of the Viper drug was known as Venom. So Bane is out there somewhere.

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