Gotham Season 1 Episode 5 “Viper” Recap
There is a new drug hitting the streets of Gotham and it’s called Viper. Bullock and Gordon get their first taste of it when they go investigate a convenience store robbery where the MO of the robber is drinking lots and lots of milk plus he managed to steal an ATM with his bare hands. The two find the man, Benny, surrounded by milk jugs and the ATM begging Bullock and Gordon for more drugs and it all starts with the man that gave it to him. Benny describes him as a man with a mangled ear. Benny gets more agitated and he uses his super strength to lift the ATM to threaten Bullock and Gordon but his skin gets all funny and he can no longer support the weight of the ATM and he gets crushed and killed by the machine.
We later see this man distributing Viper like candy to several homeless and prostitutes on the streets of Gotham.
At the precinct, chaos as descended as the police deal with the effects of the Viper drug. Nygma finds the drug fascinating as one of its side effects is it draws calcium out of the bones as its energy source hence why its victims crave milk and cheese. But because the body is losing calcium, their bones become very brittle hence the collapse on themselves and die. Nygma says only a high-tech lab can make something like this and the only one in town that can do that is Wellzyne, a Wayne Enterprise subsidiary.
Taylor Reese (Margaret Colin), legal counsel for Wellzyne comes to the precinct to proclaim the company’s innocence in all of this. But when Gordon mention the man with the mangled ear, Reese identifies the man as former Wellzyne employee Stan Potolsky (Daniel London) but says that Stan only worked on shampoo and the like.
The detectives find a photo of Stan with a philosophy professor so they the frail man a visit. The professor tells them Stan was working on Viper but when they realize what the drug could do, the Wayne shut the project down. However, after the death of the Wayne’s, Wayne Enterprises resurrected the project and made Stan improve on the imperfections of Viper into something called Venom. Stan was not happy with this and left Wayne Enterprises on not so friendly terms. The professor takes some Viper and starts to use the super strength given him to take out Bullock. However, Gordon shoots him into submission where the professor tells them where Stan is heading to: a Wayne Enterprise charity function.
Also at this function is Bruce, who wanted to go because he hopes to talk the the board about the Arkham deal. At the beginning of this episode, Bruce is doing major detective work into how two mafia families got such a big piece of the Arkham pie. Bruce feels that his parents wouldn’t allow that so he wants to talk to the board as he believes something is not on the up and up.
At this function, Bruce talks to a Molly Mathis (Sharon Washington) a middle manager at Wayne Enterprises who denies that the Board would be involved with the mafia in some way. When Stan cuts in on a video playing at this charity event to say his manifesto about Viper and blames Wayne Enterprises on its creation, Bruce asks Mathis if what Stan says is true. Mathis denies this. The ballroom starts to fill with the gas so Alfred whisks Bruce away to safety. Later a Wayne Manor, Alfred joins in with Bruce to find out about the Arkham deal.
While on the rooftop, Bullock and Gordon manage to stop Stan by blowing up the gas connection. Stan breathes in the gas but soon jumps off a building. Before jumping off, Stan tells them to visit Warehouse 39. Bullock and Gordon do but find nothing. Outside is Mathis noting the police presence while talking to someone on her cell. Who is she talking to?
In the mafia portion of the episode, Maroni wants to hit Falcone’s casino despite Frankie’s objections. Cobblepot says he can help with that as he knows a guy in the casino that can take them through secret tunnels. Cobblepot explains how he used to work for Fish Mooney, which at first Maroni seems to be okay with but is not. Gordon is brought into the restaurant to confirm Cobblepot’s tale (i.e. what happened to him in the Pilot), which he does and this allows Cobblepot into Maroni’s inner circle. Maroni also tells Cobblepot he should embrace the Penguin nickname and calls him that throughout the episode. Also, after a few tense minutes, Cobblepot’s intel works and Maroni has been able to deal Falcone a blow.
Speaking of Falcone, we see Fish start her plan to take him down as we see her team with Nicolai (Jeremy Davidson) but the two pretend to can’t stand each other. We also see Fish start to train Liza for her nefarious purposes first starting with teaching her to sing “O Mio Babbino Caro” (side note: every time I hear that song, I always think of the movie A Room with a View) and how sound more motherly than seductive.
We see Liza put all those to the test as she comes across Falcone. Liza is dressed more maturely and humming the aria. This is all a ploy as Fish wants Falcone to be reminded of his mother. To what end this will ultimately service we will find out.
I have to say it was nice to see Bullock finally act like a bloody detective in this episode. Didn’t see the point of having Selina in this episode but other than that it was nice to see them introduce super strength or some comic book elements to the story.
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