Episode 5: “Viper”
by Dan Tomasik
A new drug circulating the streets grants godlike power, at a terrible cost.
“Viper” is the prototype for “Venom”, the signature compound of Gotham rogue Bane. Yes, that Bane. The muscular guy in the mask. The one who broke the Batman. Bane himself makes no appearance, but the groundwork for the compound is established.
This week featured Gotham’s biggest success and biggest failure. On the positive end was the breakthrough between Bruce and Alfred. The relationship between these two has been rocky at times, but this time it’s struck gold. Master Wayne is investigating corruption between big businesses and mob bosses; starting with Wayne Enterprises itself. He’s filling his home with police reports and research for some old-school detective work. Alfred is simultaneously impressed and worried for the boy, a feeling that will become the foundation of their relationship in the future. Bruce is picking up some of the best attributes of James Gordon, which will later become the best attributes of Batman. Resolve, determination, and resilience. On the other end was a dramatic misfire that completely went against everything Gotham is supposed to stand for.
What separates DC from Marvel? In a nutshell, it’s the tone we expect. When it comes to Marvel, superpowers are the norm. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD explores a world of human agents and extraordinary individuals. Freeze powers, gravity manipulation, invulnerability, weather machines, cyborgs; this is the subject matter, we see Agent Coulson dealing with on a regular basis. So why is it on Gordon’s desk? Bright-green inhalants that cause CGI skin tremors, superhuman strength, god complexes, ordinary people carrying ATMs on their backs, then being crushed under them when the drug wears off? Have we walked through a wormhole? Is this a crossover? Does this mean we might get to see Nygma working with Fitz/Simmons?!
Know your tone, Gotham. Stick to the realism and scary criminals, leave the superhumans to the people who understand them.
Fish Mooney is making a strong movement for relevancy as she puts her plan to overthrow Falcone into action. Her methods remain a tad over-dramatic, but there’s genuine promise for her young starlet.
Episode Score: 8.0