A deranged scientist unleashes a deadly drug upon Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is his next target.
Gotham isn’t a superhero show. It’s established that much. If anything, the past four episodes have been a nice reprieve from the superpowered antics and campiness that can crop up in this type of television. But in the massive pool of superhero potential, Gotham’s fifth episode dips its toe into the water of comic book logic, which often isn’t very logical at all.
With a little bit of Batman knowledge and some mild Googling, a lot of information can be gleaned just from the episode’s title, “Viper.” Here’s a comprehensive flowchart to help explain.
Viper ->Venom ->Bane
But the big bad muscle-y man known as Bane, often depicted with an absurd breathing apparatus or a luchador mask, doesn’t make an appearance in “Viper,” but the drug cocktail that powers his roided out destruction does. In fact, that insidious green liquid is the main focus of the entire episode.
But before getting to Gotham’s drug problem, Bruce Wayne has a problem. He can’t seem to shake the feeling of a secret connection between Wayne Enterprises and the shady Arkham deal in last week’s episode, and Alfred continues to struggle against Bruce’s growing obsession. Files and pictures lay about the eternally fire-lit study and Bruce is anything but a 13-year-old boy. So far David Mazouz has done an admirable job portraying the pint-sized Dark Knight. Child actors of well-beloved icons often have a lot of work cut out for them. (Remember Jake Lloyd’s Darth Vader? Yeesh.) But the more and more Bruce takes on this serious-minded persona, the more the character actually feels like he’s playing a grown-up—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Alfred, along with the Wayne Enterprise board, continues to treat Bruce for what he is, which is to say, well, a kid. The only character that treats him otherwise is Jim Gordon, and it may be for just this reason, that Bruce is inexplicably drawn to him.
As Alfred and Bruce continue their mutual misunderstanding of each other, the feud between Gotham’s two big crime bosses, Maroni and Falcone, is only getting started. Maroni, who is played excellently by David Zayas, wants to keep pressure on Falcone after his generous land grab last episode by robbing one of Falcone’s casinos. Cobblepot now serves as a restaurant manager of one of Maroni’s most popular haunts and overhears Maroni’s scheme.
But after only a few minutes, the audience is introduced to Viper. A bespectacled and distraught man fumbles his way across a busy street and drops a vial of the deadly drug into a busker’s suitcase. The vial shows twin snakes with the words “Breathe Me” emblazoned on the bottle. This is where things get a little… illogical. The busker throws absolutely every caution to the wind and decides to huff the stuff, even though it looks really sketchy. He soon gains super strength, assaults a bodega clerk, and rips an ATM out of the wall.
NEXT: When less means more