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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Gotham Season 1 Episode 5: Viper

October 21st, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

When Gotham aired, we knew that the line “The Origins Stories Begin…” would be all too true. From characters, to references, to locations, Gotham is full of history and future history to showcase. However, sometimes what we know and what appears doesn’t have to line up. And in the case of “Viper”, the episode showed a slightly more close to home origin one an item that a future Caped Crusader will know all too well…


“Viper” started out like a typical procedural, where a drug induced loner tried to rob a grocery story. But when he started destroying baseball bats and ripping ATM machines out of the wall? We were all thinking the same thing.


Oh yeah, the drug that would lead to Batman getting his back broken was in Gotham!…or was it? “Viper” gave an interesting take on the drug, and delivered a twist or two that’ll keep certain storylines buzzing for a while…

…still here? Ok then, let’s continue. So apparently, Wayne Enterprises had a subsidiary that began making chemical weapons. An employee soon told the Wayne’s themselves about this and production immediately stopped…but then they were murdered. Soon production began again. And whereas Viper gave super strength, with the side-effect of death, the second version was apparently less “harmful”.


While some may say this is an unnecessary origin for the drug, I find it fascinating for two main reasons. One, it honestly makes perfect sense that a corrupt company under the Wayne banner would make this. And to connect it’s continuance to the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne shows that their deaths truly did cause an uprising in darkness and corruption in Gotham, and the fallout may not be done yet.

Second, it ties into Bruce’s storyline for the episode, and possibly the first season, as he begins his journey to being the World’s Greatest Detective. One that starts with him finding out “how Gotham works”, and how the Falcone and Maroni families got a stake in the Arkham deal. Some have criticized that Bruce is being “too eager” to try and figure things out. But what else is he supposed to do? He’s a kid who just lost his parents, the only options are truly: depression, or seeking the truth. And as stated above, the things he (and by extension we) are finding out are truly interesting. The fact that Wayne Enterprises is now corrupt will no doubt lead him on a path not only to being Batman, but to reclaim the honor of the company his family made.

Not to be outdone, Gordon and Bullock again shined in “Viper”. Many will no doubt note that Bullock is starting to warm to his partner, even if ever slow slightly. He’s still a lazy jerk, but he’s OUR lazy jerk! Also, the method behind the madness of the Viper distributor was actually really good. Especially when it led back to a philosophy teacher of all things. Better than just a guy wanting to be strong or get revenge right?

The events of last weeks episode though did drive much of the episode. As Cobblepot made his play to get deeper into Maroni’s operation. And though I do question his eagerness to reveal his backstory to Maroni, the end result with Jim gives this storyline a LOT of potential going forward.

Then there’s Fish Mooney, who continues to lie and connive her way into being top dog. Her storyline was basic, as she trained her “secret weapon” and continued to make connections with the Falcone family. And now that her weapon is in place, I hope we get some big movement on this story, if it drags much longer it’ll become a bore.

Though I like the Viper storyline a bunch, the one bad thing was the effects for it. The show honestly hasn’t had a need for CGI effects before now, so when it used it…it was hit or miss. Some will like it, others won’t. I did however like the scientific explanation for it (given by Nygma no less). Though I still don’t like how he’s being portrayed here, he did have a few nice moments that showed his desire for knowledge.

In the end, “Viper” brought a nice twist on the Batman mythos by trying Venom to the Waynes. All the while building up the gang war and sending certain characters down paths towards their future selves. Though a few spotty lines and weird CGI brought it down from a perfect episode, it was still the highlight of the season so far.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!

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