Original UK Air Date: 10th November 2014
**Spoilers Contained Below**
This Week on Gotham…
Stan Potolsky (Daniel Gordon) is a disgruntled scientist, formerly employed by WellZyn to create chemical-based weaponry. He unleashes ‘Viper’ (an unstable version of ‘Venom’, Bane’s power source) on an unsuspecting public, in a twisted way to gain attention to the company’s misdeeds. The drug gives the victims superhuman strength for a short period of time, but eventually kills them. Potolsky is defeated by Gordon and Bullock when attempting to poison Wellzyn and Wayne Enterprises employees at a charity gala.
– Looking into the Arkham District Project, Bruce investigates ways to address the board of Wayne Enterprises (ending up at the gala event mentioned above) about perceived dodgy dealings.
– Cobblepot reveals his past to Maroni, prompting the latter to bring Gordon in to confirm his story. The detective does so, saving both his own life and Cobblepot’s.
– Mooney furthers her conspiracy against Falcone, unleashing a disguised Liza upon him.
– One of the Wayne Enterprises board members is revealed to be in on the ‘Venom’/’Viper’ drug conspiracy.
Despite having little dialogue, the villain-of-the-week was pretty good, and the resolution of the story is clearly leading on to bigger things (Bane anyone?). Daniel Gordon (Patch Adams, Rent) was quite impressive at playing the haunted, desperate scientist reduced to doing something despicable to highlight the evil of Wellzyn.
There are only two minor gripes to be had with the main storyline. One is that, when the drug begins to hit the streets in full force, the police bring all of the criminals down to the station – how exactly did they do this? As displayed in the opening third, the strength these people had should have made it nigh on impossible for any regular person to be able to restrain them. I assume they wanted the visual of someone ‘melting’ in front of a host of the main police characters for effect.
This brings me nicely onto my other (much less important) gripe. The special effects used for the collapsing of the bodies was mostly pretty ropey. Admittedly, this is a TV show and not a multi-billion dollar feature film production, but it just didn’t come off well.
That being said, there was much more that was ‘right’ with the show, with solid to good performances across the board. Gordon, Bruce, Alfred, Liza, Falcone and Mooney were all decent this week, while Bullock, Cobblepot, Maroni and Potolsky were even better.
While Cobblepot’s subplot played out rather predictably (let’s face it, a secondary villain wasn’t about to off the show’s best talent now was it?), it was all handled well. In Gordon’s ‘questioning’ (read: thinly veiled interrogation), David Zayas and Robin Lord Taylor are both great, putting in believable performances.
Mooney is only a scene or two this week, and we discover that she is ready to unleash her ‘weapon’ Liza on Falcone. Aside from the fact that Liza has barely been in the show yet (she must be a fast learner!), her importance is emphasised quite well. Liza’s later scene with Falcone (she passes him by in a park whilst humming his favourite aria, catching his eye) is predictable, but does allow this simmering civil war to come one step closer to fruition.
Bruce investigating Wayne Enterprises his parents’ company for corruption/malpractice feels a little bit of a stretch for a kid even as brilliant as he, but it is played out well. His and Alfred’s overlap into the main story was quite well plotted, and did well to not feel contrived. The writers seem to be getting a better handle on both Alfred and Bruce’s relationship, as well as their dialogue. Hopefully this will continue.
No Barbara or the GCPD Major Crimes guys this time out. I’m not sure Barbara is missed (actually, I’m pretty sure she isn’t), but hopefully Montoya and Allen get some more screen time soon. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that more Montoya will mean ‘more scenes with her and Barbara’ as opposed to them actually doing some policework. Still, we live in hope.
While some niggles persist in Gotham, it’s all setting up for them to knock an episode out of the park sooner rather than later. As with Balloonman (episode 1.03), the improvements upon its predecessor are not enough to elevate the score for Viper, but it is heading in the right direction.