A few weeks before its premiere, the CW released this teaser poster for The Flash:
Someone on Twitter made a joke about how the Flash runs like an idiot (the show is great, by the way, but the joke is still funny). You know, going back and forth across the street. THAT is how I feel about Gotham. The show won’t stop bouncing me back and forth between episodes that really give the show direction, and ones that have me shaking my head. I will let you decide what I think THIS episode is. Here is the recap/review of “Viper.”
Bruce is in the Wayne Manor study, once again going over files about the Arkham Project. He begins to make one of those “Mob Bulletin Boards” that you see in almost every police show/movie. Alfred comes in and tries to get Bruce to go outside and take a walk. Bruce says he will go later, and continues with his obsession.
Maroni is having lunch at his restaurant, and is arguing with Frankie, one of his lieutenants. Maroni wants to knock off one of Falcone’s casinos to send him a message. Despite Frankie’s trepidations, Maroni’s word is final. All the while, Oswald tends to the restaurant, listening intently.
A junkie is sitting on a stoop in a part of Gotham (I almost said BAD part of Gotham, but that doesn’t narrow anything down) playing guitar for change. A man with a mangled ear walks up to him, but rather than give him money, drops a vial into his case. The junkie picks up the vial and inhales its contents. The drug takes an unknown effect, but it definitely causes some sort of high. The junkie heads to a convenience store and starts chugging milk right out of the carton. The shop owner threatens him with a ball bat, but the drug seems to give the junkie super strength, as he catches the bat mid swing.
Nearby, Jim and Harvey are grabbing some lunch. For once, they seem to be having an actual moment of bonding. That quickly comes to and end when Jim sees Selina Kyle attempt to steal a man’s wallet. She gives Jim the slip, but the alarm at the convenience store starts ringing, so Jim doesn’t have time to be angry about it. Jim and Harvey arrive at the store, which is completely trashed. The owner comes out from his hiding place and relays the story of the junkie going crazy, result in him stealing the stores ATM. Jim asks if the owner got a licence number. That’s the weird part. The junkie didn’t have a car. He pulled the ATM out with his bare hands. The scene switches to a side street where the junkie, still with a crazed look on his face, quickly gets away, the ATM hoisted on his back.
At Mooney’s club, Fish is having Liza memorize and sing an opera song. She strongly disciplines her when Liza starts getting frustrated with doing this work. Fish has something big planned and Liza’s part is important.
At GCPD, Jim and Harvey show Captain Essen the security cam footage of the ATM “removal.” They found the drug cannister in the junkie’s guitar case. While Edward is examines the cannister for what the drug is, Jim and Harvey head out to attempt to locate the suspect.
Falcone holds a short meeting with the families under his control at an abandoned warehouse (This was their second warehouse. The first one was already booked for a drug deal gone bad). Nikolai, who couldn’t be more of a Russian Mobster template if you tried, is worried about Maroni’s current actions. After an argument with Fish, Falcone does his best to make peace among his “employees.”
After canvassing the neighborhood, Jim and Harvey are able to track the junkie, Benny, down. He’s a complete mess, covered in empty milk bottles. He pleads with them to help him find “the man with the mangled ear” so he can get more of the drug. When they try to arrest him, Benny goes into a rage and almost throws the ATM at them. I say almost, because Benny’s bones disintegrate and he is crushed by the machine. Both partners are scared of what might happen if the drug spreads throughout the city.
That night, as if on queue, we see the man with the mangled ear walking the streets of Gotham, handing out vials of the drug as if they were flyers for Subway.
Alfred wakes Bruce up, who had fallen asleep still studying files. Alfred tells him that they are going to a charity luncheon the next day at Wayne Enterprises. Bruce is pleased, as he has some questions for the board as to how Maroni and Falcone received shares of Arkham. Still troubled by Bruce’s current direction, Alfred walks off to prepare him breakfast. Bruce then turns the news on to hear the first news report about the new drug hitting Gotham, Viper.
GCPD is being overrun with criminals being brought in, high on Viper. Edward arrives with his report. The drug grants the user strength and a sense of euphoria for a limited time. The drug uses calcium to power the user’s body, hence the craving for milk. Their bones disintegrate before the user can replenish the right amount of calcium. Only a high tech lab could produce such a drug. The best in the city belongs to WelZyn, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises.
Maroni is still trying to plan his casino heist when Oswald approaches. He knows a janitor at the casino and can get Maroni’s crew in with no problem. Maroni questions how he knows so much, and, still not sure what the plan was here, Oswald, now called Penguin by Maroni, tells him EVERYTHING. Not surprisingly, Maroni’s reaction to learning of Penguins former employer is to bash Penguin’s head into the table.
The legal counsel for WelZyn arrives at GCPD and are interviewed by Jim and Harvey. The deny having anything to do with the drug, but do reveal that they used to employ the man with the mangled ear, Stanley Patalski. A brilliant scientist, he was let go almost a year ago after attempting to slice his ear off during a disagreement with his supervisor. After also denying that their facilities were being used, Jim and Harvey promise to get a warrant to search for themselves. As Harvey goes to get an APB out on Stanley, Jim is approached by Frankie, Maroni’s lieutenant. Jim is shoved into car and a bag placed over his head. He’s on his way to a meeting to discuss his “friend” Oswald.
Jim is taken to Maroni, who forces him to tell everything about the conspiracy. If Jim , and Penguin’s stories don’t match, they both die. Lucky for them, they both told Maroni the same thing. Pleased, Maroni welcomes Penguin back to the family, and sends Jim on his way, letting him know he may be calling on him again.
Mooney is still training Liza for…something. This time it’s how to speak. Every phrase Liza learns is taught to be more mother like. Mooney is a weird one.
Harvey questions where Jim has been the last few hours. Deflecting the question, they start going through the files WelZyn sent regarding Patalski. Jim finds a picture of him with another man, and determine by the background of the picture that the man is a professor at Gotham University (They’re detectives).
Jim and Harvey meet with Patalski’s philosophy professor from Gotham U. Patalski was working on chemical weapons for WelZyn to be sold to the government. The first try was Viper, being used to kill everyone. The second batch works, called VENOM. Having a change of heart, Patalski has Thomas and Martha shut the project down, but with their death, WelZyn started it back up again. So the professor and Patalski have planned a way to get revenge on everyone involved. The professor then takes Viper and attacks Jim and Harvey. Jim is able to shoot the professor, and listening to his dying words, determines Patalski is going to attack the charity luncheon at Wayne Enterprises.
Bruce and Alfred arrive at the luncheon, as well as Patalski. Disguised as a waiter, he takes a tank full of Viper on a dolly to the room of the building.
Bruce confronts Miss Mathis, a woman who worked for her father. He questions what happened with the Arkham deal, and she tries to avoid the questions. Suddenly, Patalski breaks into a video feed. Screaming rhetoric about how WelZyn and Wayne Enterprises need to be taken down, he begins to feed Viper through the air vent. Jim and Harvey are able to stop him, Patalski inhaling a dose of Viper as a result. Before leaping to his death, Patalski informs Jim there is a warehouse where proof against WelZyn can be found.
Jim goes to the warehouse Patalski told him about, and of course found nothing. As he and Harvey go to leave, Miss Mathis is spying on them from a nearby car. She advises whoever she is speaking with to leave them alone…for now. (I did the dramatics on purpose. Screw you.)
At Wayne Manor, Bruce continues his research. Alfred, to Bruce’s pleasant surprise, begins to help. Alfred lost two of his “family” already. He is going to help find out who caused the possible death of a third.
Outside the casino, Penguin is sitting in a car with Maroni. Penguin’s future depends on the success of the heist. Since we know that Penguin is one of Batman’s greatest foes, it is unsurprising that the theft goes off without a hitch.
Nikolai asks Mooney to untie him…from her bed. They are in cahoots to take down Falcone.
Falcone is in Gotham park feeding birds when he hears a woman humming opera. A young girl walks by and he strikes up a conversation with her. Falcone’s mother used to sing that song all the time. The episode ends with Falcone and the young lady, Liza is disguise, listening to opera together. Mooney’s plan is finally reveals.
- TOO MUCH BRUCE WAYNE. In the intro to Arrow, Oliver talks about having to become “something else” to save his city. With all this detective work Bruce is doing, there is nothing to show him that Gotham needs “something else.”
- “Do not vex me, mortal.” – WHAT?
- I saw the Fish-Liza training scenes as a somewhat distorted homage to Bruce training Dick to become Robin.
- “I bet your mother was a lousy cook.” – Good line. I appreciate a good burn when I hear it.
- Bruce was watching a Fairbanks movie on TV. The Mark of Zorro was the movie the Waynes saw the night of the murder.
- Once again, no riddles from Edward. This time they showed his complete lack of empathy as the victims of Viper were dying in front of him.
- I couldn’t tell if Oswald is a “super master mind” or if he just screwed up royally.
- I don’t know about this whole Falcone/Oedipus storyline that started tonight. I’ll have to reserve judgement.
The grade would have been higher if they had less Bruce Wayne. I DON’T think they are telling his story very well. I understand that this is a different world, and things are going to happen differently to start his course toward being the Dark Knight. They just keep giving him storylines that point him in the opposite direction. The show was picked up for a full season, so I am looking forward to seeing where they take him.