Bringing us up-to-date on our ‘Gotham’ reviews is 20th Octobers fifth episode ‘Viper‘. Checkout our review of previous episodes here.
Trailers for the episode made it look like your average, run-of-the-mill drug on the street drug gone wrong episode which would see Bullock and Gordon chasing after some seedy scientist in a lab somewhere cooking up some new trendy drug a la ‘Arrow‘ and it’s interpretation of Count Vertigo. The episode we got? A precursor to the story of Bane and a great chance to show some super powered forces on the streets of Gotham.
‘Viper‘ slows down the pace in terms of developing the city of Gotham and its corrupted nature but ramps up the Batman-lore by showing us a drug which only goes and turns out to be the first incarnation of the famous venom which will one day give birth to the villain Bane. That run-of-the-mill street drug detective story takes on a pretty big twist when the results are creating grandaddy and grandmummy Bane’s who run around the streets causing havoc and ripping ATM machine out of corner stores.
There’s no pre-requisite to say that any villains can’t become super before the invention of Batman.
The story isn’t quite as exciting as last weeks ‘Arkham‘ but when you are dealing with a lesser known area of the Bat-verse that’s expected to happen. What is great to see is that even when ‘Gotham‘ is dialling back on the big plot developments it still doesn’t revert back to a bog standard crime procedural.
The ensemble nature of the show continues to bring a level of uniqueness to the show which elevates it above its network brothers and sisters and it’s still Jada Pinkett Smith and Robin Lord Taylor who make this ensemble really shine. After recruiting her new weapon in last week episode Fish Mooney’s motives become clear this week and it’s a clever ploy to advance her standing with Falcone meanwhile Cobblepot is rising through the ranks at Maroni until his past finally catches up with him.
With the recent announcement that series episode order is being bumped up from 16 to 22 it’s going to be interesting to see if slower episode like this become more of the norm for ‘Gotham‘ as originally it seemed the intention was to go a full pace for the season run. What also remains to be seen is if a overarching story is going to come to fruition beyond the search for the Wayne murderer.
Bruce continues to appear in each episode of the series and finally this week gets to leave the manor and have some involvement with his fathers company. It’s really beginning to gripe with me that we only see one room of the manor. Even in the Nolan movies we didn’t see a huge amount of the house but it felt like more of a real locale than it does here, Alfred enters and exits the room on multiple occasions but we never go with him to see anywhere but that drawing room which seems to have a roaring fire at all times.
Note to the writers & set builders: take us somewhere else in the house, PLEASE!
Don’t let that ruin the fun of the show though. It knows very well not to take itself too seriously even with its downbeat nature and that’s a good thing. I don’t think the show would work if it was to take itself any more seriously, it’s not indie enough to be that cool and on too early in the evening to take the violence to more extreme measures. Perhaps if it were a cable network show then it could push those boundaries but for now ‘Gotham‘ has to remain a fairly serious show on a very mainstream network.
There’s a feeling that events with the crime families are building towards a turning point and the will hopefully come before the show takes a midseason break.