I like this Maroni guy. Gotham is proving to have some good and some bad every week, and while I am more forgiving than others, when it comes to this young series’ faults I do believe in what I think works. Maroni has proven to be one of those things. I bring this up because Maroni is going to be around longer than the various villains-of-the-week, who have only proven to be interesting half the time. With Maroni, I get a mob boss that is fiery and quick to take action, which is why he gets credit for making the best scene of this week’s episode so effective. I will get to that later though, as there are other things to expound upon with “Viper” in order to properly get into my thoughts on Gotham this week.
First of all, along with Maroni, I really like Bruce Wayne. The problem with liking Bruce though, is that the show is doing too much to make us care for him, when it should really be taking time away from the future Batman, in an effort to build up a world without Batman, which is the best way to take Gotham. After enjoying last week’s attempts at making Bruce somewhat connected to the main storyline, this week has an entire B-plot focused on Bruce, which only leads to his storyline becoming connected to the main plot in a suspense-free event, given that we know Bruce will never die in this show. There are ups and downs with Gotham not yet being confident enough to leave the boy out of it, but if the show wants to constantly remind us of Batman, at least it has a solid young actor, who is given character development to work with.
Gaining less in the way of character development, but still dealing with strange new cases every week, Jimmy & the Bulls are tasked with stopping a deadly drug known as “Viper.” While I would say I found there to be more menace with the assassin from last week, the effects of Viper did lead to some interesting visuals, with a callout to the drug “Venom,” which will of course be a part of the eventual Batman universe. All in all, given that the only thing less interesting than the Viper plot was the seduction training scenes with Fish and Liza, I was at least pleased to see an interesting idea and a comic shout-out take place in the main plotline of the week.
Speaking of Fish Mooney, was there anyone really intrigued by her and her machinations this week? I get what she is doing, between planning against Falcone with another lower-level mob boss and training her new pet Liza to be her weapon sitting very close to Falcone, but I guess I need more. It does not help that Liza really has no charisma to keep me all that interested in her, which is a shame after the woman on woman brawl from last week, suggesting that I may need to know more about this person. All I really have here is Jada Pinkett-Smith’s performance, which is the same level of fun she started the show with, but I still need more.
As far as the mob bosses who are giving me what I enjoy though, it all comes back to Maroni. Cobblepot is my way into the joy that comes from David Zayas’ performance as this character, and it helps that this season arc is still the most intriguing, even if Penguin’s character is more scene-chewing than well-written. Regardless, having Penguin (which is a good name, according to Maroni) reveal his past associations was a good step, because we get to see the kind of reaction from Maroni that makes sense, along with a scene where Jim Gordon can really work under pressure, allowing us to forget for a minute that he is ultimately safe at all turns. Watching Jim carefully explain what has put him into his current situation with Penguin required a fine level of control from Ben McKenzie, which is what he is trying to bring to a series that has still only gone so far in delving into who this man is. And yes, Maroni’s threats were nicely handled as well.
There are other aspects I can quickly comment on as well, but it basically amounts to, “I want more.” I want to see more of Bullock in the off time. Let Donal Logue show who this character is, beyond a guy that will only work when he has to, but at least knows where to get the best food and who to flirt with to get some answers. I want to know more about the GCPD, beyond the fact that most of the cops there are corrupt. I want to know more about Falcone and the bosses who work for him. Some of this stuff does not necessarily apply to my thoughts on “Viper,” but the show is moving enough of the plot forward to make me wonder when we will get more established foundation in regards to the main players involved in this season of what could turn into a breakout show, but currently just stands as one that is watched by a healthy number of people.
“Viper” is an okay episode of television. We see a new case get solved, spend some time with many different members of the cast, with mixed results, regarding intrigue, and no one is killed via weather balloon. It is average and that is okay, but I am ready to see more. I am ready to focus on Gotham City and not the city that will eventually become a place where Batman lives, with all kinds of reminders to that fact. Slow down the number of plots and let us see more work surrounding the individuals in this cast. Don’t let Bruce be the only real champ here, while recurring guest star Maroni gets the most praise from me over the rest of the cast. The city needs some help.
From Det. Jim Gordon’s Police Files:
- So I get that Bruce is a smart kid, but is he in school? Do we know anything about his schooling at all?
- “Don’t vex me mortal.” – I was hoping for more fancy language from the Viper users.
- Gotham decided to remind us of Cat this week in the most ridiculous way possible – pick-pocketing near the one guy who knows you and desperately wants to catch you.
- Penguin is a slippery character who many probably like, but I did like seeing his head get slammed against the table this week.
- “What’s altruism!?” – Bullock had a dumb line, but it did make me laugh.
- I may not need a bunch of Bruce each week, but seeing him show up the older members of Wayne Enterprises is fun.
- Nygma popped up this week to remind us how hard he is trying to seem quirky.
- I guess Warehouse 39 was also cancelled by SyFy.
- This week’s Classic Gordon Clip