As with most freshman shows, they need time to grow legs. “Gotham“, FOX’s new drama based on characters appearing in DC Comics, is no different. With the airing of tonight’s fifth episode entitled “Viper”, it’s safe to say that it grew wings!
While “Gotham” has been off to a solid start, most hardcore fans have been on the fence regarding this series. Unlike the series “Smallville” where we had 10 seasons of a young Clark Kent, exhibiting his powers from the pilot, “Gotham” focuses less on Bruce Wayne and more so on the fight for a dying city’s soul. With that said, over the past few episodes the character development of Bruce Wayne and his butler, Alfred has hit its stride. As promised by David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne) when What’cha Reading sat down with him, “You’ll see that they really start working together. He’ll start helping him with research. Alfred is going to help him with that and they are really going to work as one.” (Gotham’s David Mazouz Talks To What’cha Reading! October 6, 2014) In tonight’s episode, young Wayne develops a keen interest in the inner workings of his family’s company, Wayne Enterprises. Interested, bordering on obsession, Wayne goes to great lengths to learn of his family’s connections to the Arkham project. As seen in last week’s episode “Arkham”, the mob families of Falcone and Maroni are battling over the development of Arkham City. Those most powerful and with ties to Gotham City’s elite are seemingly prospering while the rest of the city is in a state of decay. A highlight for certainly many viewers is undoubtedly the beginning of young Bruce Wayne’s “good detective work” as noticed by Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Over the course of the first five episodes we are starting to see traces of the development of young Bruce to the world’s greatest detective we all know and love from DC Comics. By no means are we close to the cape and cowl; however, we are getting a worthy tease of one of comic’s greatest of characters. It is through the relationship that Bruce shares with Alfred that we are also treated to the dynamic acting flair that runs in the Pertwee family. Sean Pertwee as Alfred is consistently on point and a constant reminder that this is a version we have not seen before.
The plot of the episode is handled well and is promising enough for fans and newcomers as it revolves around the release of a drug on the streets called “Viper.” While Viper eats away at the calcium in your body, it temporarily grants the user a fantastical amount of strength. *SPOILER* We learn through a standard scene of exposition that Viper is an early form of the drug Venom. For those unfamiliar with the drug, Venom, it is the steroid Bane uses to enhance himself. And from what I understand an early form of the Joker’s laughing gas.
For many that are watching “Gotham”, episode five – “Viper”, could be the turning point that many were hoping for. It is the episode that reveals all it’s cards and tells you right from the start the kind of show it is. “Gotham” is a series based on a comic book; it’s depiction of the city is hyper stylized and for a series that is shot in New York City, it hardly bears any resemblance to those that know it well. With the great talent of Ben McKenzie (Gordon), the always welcome, Donal Logue (Bullock), and the firecracker appeal of Jada Pinkett-Smith (Fish Mooney) “Gotham” remains a show that people should be watching for the rest of this season!
Bat-Signal Moment of the episode: The intensity of all actors in the scene between Maroni (David Zayas), Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), and Gordon (McKenzie) brings to mind the heyday of pushing the envelope television FOX is known for. The threat of violence is real enough to intimidate without showing. The setup revolves around Gordon sitting down with Maroni and being asked to “tell a story.” The story Maroni wants to hear is of Cobblepot’s betrayal of Fish Mooney, and of Falcone’s orders to kill Cobbepot. If Gordon’s story differentiates from that of Cobblepot, then off to the meat grinders for both of them.
“Gotham” airs Monday nights on Fox at 8pm. Check your local listings.