Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gotham, Episode 5
In “Viper,” the fifth episode of Gotham’s first season, Gordon and Bullock search for someone who is disseminating a new drug on the streets of Gotham. Known as Viper (title drop!), the drug – through some questionable science, if you ask us – grants its victims super-strength and an unquenchable desire for dairy for a few hours until they die from sudden onset bone loss. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne decides he wants to get involved in Wayne Industries affairs. And mob stuff happens too! What say the nanobots about the newest installment of Gotham?
  • Bruce’s obsessive traits are already manifesting. Maybe Alfred should get him to a psychiatrist instead of indulging him. = -4pts
  • The Penguin working in a mob establishment. We get “hiding in plain sight,” but he’s, you know, THE PENGUIN. Someone’s going to recognize him. = -8pts
  • Vials with consumption instructions that refer to themselves as “Me” always lead to fun, unexpected results. = +5pts
  • Now we’re thinking of Sia’s “Breath Me,” and the incredible ending of Six Feet Under. = +9pts
  • At least Alice had the sense to consider the “Drink Me” bottle might be bad for her. = -3pts
  • Jumping onto a van parked on an open street in broad daylight is kind of the opposite of stealthy, Selina. = -6pts
  • Hey, Jim saw her. Good for him. = +3pts
  • Bullock doesn’t realize that crime has an earlier lunch hour than himself. = -5pts
  • “A drug did that? Wow!” Say yes to drugs, kids. = +5pts (For helping to undo the damage of the Reagan years.)
  • That’s some good scenery-chewing, mobsters. = +4pts (For making exposition interesting.)
  • Gotham’s the type of place where you can walk down the street handing out drugs, and everyone just accepts it. = -6pts
  • Bruce Wayne, li’lest executive. = -3pts
  • “Fantastic detective work.” We see what you did there, Alfred. = -2pts
  • We were going to make a joke about how Gotham must not have any hospitals if all the about-to-die tweakers are being brought to jail, but that doesn’t seem too far removed from reality. Well-played, Gotham. = +10pts
  • Da Chief can’t fathom a multi-billion dollar corporation ever doing anything nefarious. That realism wasn’t fated to last after all. = -6pts
  • We’re going to assume the Penguin got the Liar, Liar curse because he’s doing nothing to hide his past while trying to avoid detection. = -4pts
  • Maroni smashing Penguin’s head against the table was way more satisfying than it should have been. = +5pts
  • “Do you think we push a button, or does she just rewind on her own?” Donal Logue is too good for this show. = +6pts
  • Fish teaching her protégé to say “I love you, baby” “like a mother would” is probably the most disturbing thing this show has ever done. = -8pts (because it was unintentionally disturbing)
  • “What are the dark moral corners of shampoo?” Oh Bullock. If only you knew. = +4pts
  • Are we certain this guy isn’t a professor of exposition? = -5pts
  • So the villain’s plan is to get back at the white collar criminals who funded a killer drug by using the killer drug to kill the poor as practice to killing the white collar criminals? “Dark moral corners” indeed. = -10pts
  • Gotham is slowly becoming a Batman/Richie Rick cross fic. = -3pts
  • The too long, didn’t watch version of the climax:
    • Villain: I’m gonna die now, so DEFINITELY DON’T GO TO A MYSTERIOUS WAREHOUSE!
    • Bullock: Don’t die!
    • Villain: Don’t tell me what I can’t do!
    • Bullock: I’m going to let you kill yourself as I beg you not to. = -7pts
  • Next scene? Gordon and Bullock go to the warehouse they were EXPLICITLY TOLD NOT TO GO TO BY THE DYING VILLAIN. That’s some good police work there, boys. = +3pts
  • Annnnd… there’s nothing there. Because “it’s Gotham.” = -5pts
  • Aww, Falcone really just wants to feed his birds and remember his mother. = +6pts (for an attempt at depth), -3pts (for John Doman’s acting in the scene), net +3pts.
Total Points: -27pts
Intermitent Season Score: -14pts

In the interest of full disclosure, this score technician jumped ship from Gotham about a third of the way into episode 2, but when the nanobots come calling, he can’t help but answer. And this episode went a long way towards reminding him why he left. Despite missing nearly 4 episodes, nothing seemed to be lost; the characters had not developed past who they were at the end of the pilot. Except for Bruce Wayne, who is going from a kid into a hollow, vengeance-seeking shell. The series has no idea what sort of tone it wants to use, and as a result, uses every tone, and it doesn’t use them well. When it wants to be serious, it comes off silly, and when it wants to be comedic, it induces eye rolls. Character motivations are murky and seem to be based on driving the plot forward. And as much as we tried, we feel unable to fully capture just how ridiculously clichéd the episode’s climax was. There are good scenes (Gordon and Bullock bonding over burgers) and ideas in play, but they get lost among all the problems.

Score Technician: Andrew Daar

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