“Viper” is a turning point for FOX’s Gotham. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘the’ turning point, as we aren’t as near to the middle of the series as we should be for such a statement, but this is most certainly a turning point for Gotham.
“Viper” addressed some things I was concerned about in my last review. I thought about the show quite a bit this week in order to see if I could understand the other issues I was having with the show.
First, I think watching “Viper” made something click in my brain. Gotham isn’t a crime drama, which is how it is being advertised. It isn’t a procedural, per se. Rather, it’s a murder mystery. The crux of the show (or first season) is the question: Who killed the Waynes?
View Gotham as an Agatha Christie novel, however, and you begin to see the similarities. The new people being brought in every episode? Suspects. The web we begin to see in “Viper”? Everything and everyone is connected. We’ve probably already seen the killer. They may even be someone Bruce knows and trusts.
I think this makes Gotham more like the Batman comics and cartoons than the other TV shows and the films. I like that about Gotham. It can go from zany to chilling and still feel like the same universe.
Another thing I have begun to understand is that the reasoning behind the introduction of multiple villains isn’t haphazard, nor is it to create a mega-alliance between them. Instead, “Viper” shows that we don’t all move at the same pace. Some will become villains today, while others will take years to develop into Bruce’s enemies.
Villains don’t just wait in line for their turn to dance with the superhero. Villains crop up at various times. They don’t often coordinate an attack, as they are suspicious of others and disinclined to share their territory. So the reason there are so many in Gotham, I believe, is that we are getting to see their process, their evolution. They won’t become evil overnight (usually). Some of them have a long way to go.
As does Bruce Wayne. His relationship with Alfred disturbed me for reasons I could not articulate, other than that he was rough with Bruce, mostly in manner. I think perhaps I was failing to understand just how British Alfred really is. I remember J.K. Rowling once saying that her American publishers always wanted her to end the books with Harry, Hermione, and Ron hugging. “They’re British!” she’d exclaim.
I think it’s much the same with Alfred, although we did get a tender moment between child and guardian. Instead of proffering a hug, Alfred joins Bruce on is quest through the paper trail that will lead them to what might be the biggest secret in Gotham.
What I have begun to realize through watching “Viper” is that there is a master plan. We are drawing closer to the center of the story. It isn’t a story with too many moving parts.
It’s a conspiracy. The Waynes didn’t want to play along? Fine. They were murdered, and only their child, Bruce, is capable of putting all the pieces together.
Here’s the thing about Gotham which “Viper” made evident. This may all seem like a discombobulated story. Sure, there are opposing sides. But what’s really going on is that Gotham is pulling everyone, including the audience, into a deep, dark hole, and some of us may not make it back out alive.
For a new show to instantly be able to draw you in, give you a consistent setting, break-out characters such as Edward Nygma, Harvey Bullock and The Penguin, and carry out a conspiracy for an entire season…it’s supremely difficult.
I’m still unsure about what’s going on with Fish Mooney and her new right-hand girl Liza (I’m hoping she turns into Zatanna), but I’m beginning to see that Mooney isn’t just a pretty face. She has a plan and it’s already in action.
I think that’s what I missed during the first few episodes. We didn’t start at the beginning. We’re only now beginning to realize that this corruption goes farther back than we can reach.
“Viper” may be the best episode yet. We’re only now beginning to realize the trap we’ve been caught in, and I, for one, am in no hurry to break free.