Skip to main content

'Gotham' Review (S1E5): "Viper"

Gotham has tip-toed the line between campy self-parody and hard boiled crime drama. Balloonman dipped its toe in those campy waters for a bit before going rated R with Arkham. In Viper, the show labored a little to achieve real resonance with its best assets - the villains. 

But first we return to the only room little Bruce Wayne spends his time, the study, as he's in full junior detective mode. The chemistry between he and Alfred is still awkward and unconvincing but David Mazouz as Wayne plays the determined and inquisitive orphan on a mission with intelligence and the necessary dryness. Who needs an X-Box when you have case files to go through? 

He's the only one really investigating the possible connections to his parents murder and as a result is also the only one whose character is developing. While the villains are the rockstars of the show their development is growing at a snail's pace. Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney and Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin are the draw here and help elevate the material they're given. Their plot lines should take center stage more than the 'crime of the week'. 

Smith has totally sunk her teeth into the Mooney role and it's obvious she relishes each and every line to the delight of most viewers. It's a performance that some find overplayed but it really brings the best of the material she's been given. In less capable hands it could appear campy but what she's doing is wringing every last drop of menace, attitude, and drama out of the script. She's rising above the material not the other way around. It's reasonable to understand that by comparison her 'weapon' of choice, the torch singer turned protege, seems bland and vapid. 

While she showed a lot of fight, literally taking out her competition, Liza is whiny and petulant while learning an aria to attract Don Falcone's attention. We know she'll get close to him but the final scene could have been more suspenseful and meaningful. A lost opportunity to heighten the episode from its doldrums. 

Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot is the most watchable character because his story is the most compelling. His climb in the mob business has been a bloody one and his maneuvering has made him especially dangerous. He finds himself in some hot water with Sal Maroni after telling him he worked for Fish and Jim Gordon has to corroborate his story to survive. Jim is getting in deeper with in the morass that is this mob war. David Zayas as Maroni puts Gordon on notice that his secrets are now currency to cash in later. In essence both Cobblepot and Gordon are indebted to the mob for survival. A nice turn that complicates things for the 'last honest cop in Gotham.'

Viper drug, a precursor to Bane's Venom, was introduced this week as it hit the streets making people super strong, capable of running away with an ATM machine on their back, but dying horribly a short time later. Little Bruce suspects some conspiracy involving the drug, Arkham gangs and Wayne Enterprises. He seems like the only one who's bothered to connect any of the dots. Bullock and Gordon are a few steps behind. 

Gotham has a full season order giving them time to add some dimensions to these characters before its too late. We should care a lot more about them than we do and something like flashbacks or character-centered episodes could work wonders. The stories are there for the taking.

Check out scenes from next week's episode, "Spirit of the Goat"

When a killer begins targeting the first born of Gotham's elite, Bullock is forced to confront traumatic memories from a nearly identical case he worked in the past. Later, Gordon is confronted by past decisions in the all-new 'Spirit of the Goat' episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, Oct. 27th on FOX.


Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Bonehead' #2 by Bryan Edward Hill, Rhoald Marcellius, and Sakti Yuwono

Bryan Hill pumps the brakes a little in the follow up to the fast-paced debut of 'Bonehead' with more great world building. The mystery surrounding Bonehead 56 deepens but we at least get some backstory and details about what his arrival means for a pair of brothers with opposing viewpoints.

Writer: Bryan Edward Hill Artist: Rhoald Marcellius, Sakti Yuwono Letterer: Jaka Ady Graphics: Comolo Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 31, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score:★★★★☆ (4/5)
After a thrilling video game-like first issue, issue two gives way to the brothers Kray. Aleph is a tech scientist examining the unconscious "56" and marveling at his abilities. He reminds him when his brother Hideki roamed the city as the vigilante Blackdeath. Hideki is a Gladiator (cop) now and he questions Aleph's methods with 56 and its legalities. Nonetheless, they need 56 to be free on the streets for now so they can monitor him. The brothers c…


Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

REVIEW: 'Infidel' #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, and Jose Villarrubia

'Infidel' #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell arrives at a time when the horrors of everyday life for marginalized people is scary enough but add misogyny and xenophobia from demons and well, that's just multi-dimensional haterade. This contemporary horror story feels timely and brimming with scary thrills.

Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote Artist: Aaron Campbell, Jose Villarrubia Letterer: Jeff Powell Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: March 14, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Aisha is an American Muslim woman who just moved into a haunted apartment building with her boyfriend, his child, and his mother. It's the perfect horror movie set-up that includes a tragic incident that led to the killing of several people, the haunting aftermath of the explosion, a boyfriend's xenophobic possibly racist mother, and terrifying nightmares. Pichetshote has cooked up a potent cauldron consisting of the right horror tropes mixed with equally horr…

ADVANCE PREVIEW: MIGHTY CRUSADERS #3 by Ian Flynn, Kelsey Shannon, Ryan Jampole, and Matt Herms

“Ambush”—The Mighty Crusaders are on the attack against the vicious Eliminators! It’s an all-out brawl with the odds in the Crusaders’ favor, until they’re faced with a new, dark entity: The Dream Demon!

Script: Ian Flynn Art:  Kelsey Shannon, Ryan Jampole, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli  Cover: Kelsey Shannon with Matt Herms Variant Covers: Tom Feister, Phil Jimenez with Kelly Fitzpatrick On Sale Date: 2/14 32-page, full color comic $3.99 U.S.
Artwork by Kelsey Shannon and Matt Herms

ADVANCE PREVIEW: Veronica Goes Vampire in New Horror Series 'Vampironica'

NEW ONGOING SERIES! When Veronica is bitten by a centuries-old vampire, her thirst for blood threatens to turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead. Will she put an end to the vampire threat or give in to her bloodlust?

Script: Greg and Meg Smallwood Art: Greg Smallwood, Jack Morelli  Cover: Greg Smallwood Variant Covers: Francesco Francavilla, Audrey Mok, Djibril Morrissette-Phan, Marguerite Sauvage On Sale Date: 3/14 32-page, full-color comic $3.99 U.S.
Artwork by Greg Smallwood