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Gotham Introduces Super Powers and the World's Greatest Detective

Mike Hoffman | 22 Oct 2014 01:45
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"Viper" brings super powers and pseudo-science to Gotham and it's just the shift the series needs right now.

For a series based in a comic book universe, the antagonists so far have been rather mundane. This week, Gotham takes a leap into the extraordinary and, honestly, there couldn't be a better time. After last week's dreadful "Arkham" it would make sense if people gave up on the show, but those that stuck around for "Viper" were treated to a quality episode.

Sure, the comic book pseudo-science behind "Viper" is cringe-worthy, but seeing how the (comparatively) realistic police force and corrupt officers deal with the problem is fantastic. It's what Gotham does best: putting the outlandish in front of mostly normal, often dirty cops. So far it's been restricted to over-the-top organized crime and murderers with ridiculous MOs, but this week's introduction of super-powers is the best way to showcase that juxtaposition.

Fortunately, "Viper" isn't too far out there in the superhuman world. A drug (named Viper) from an unknown source starts to hit the streets, giving users super-strength for a short while. It's a simple premise, and there is no real resolution to it, but the revelations about the origin of Viper are intriguing enough to raise questions about Gotham City that I look forward to seeing answered.

Similarly, "Viper" succeeds in making previously unbearable or difficult to watch characters more enjoyable. Bruce and Alfred have scenes that don't sacrifice what the characters are, but still manage to make Bruce more tolerable and Alfred less pretentious (admittedly, Alfred wasn't too bad before, but it was there). Even Nygma's scene was something you could watch without wanting to throw a brick at the TV. He's still off-putting, but he isn't all "I like puzzles! And riddles! Guess who I am!" Nygma is creepy in his fascination with Viper, and his reaction to it is entirely inappropriately excited, but it works so well for the scene.

The over-arcing story about the organized crime families remains intriguing, with Fish Mooney putting together her plans while Cobblepot continues to make his way up. Maroni has his terrifying moments finally, all smiles while ordering for his men to kill people. It's much more refreshing than punching a table and yelling, "I want revenge!" But he does some of that, too.

"Viper" is a good move for the series, and viewers can look forward to next week's Halloween-type episode, "Spirit of the Goat", which does look promisingly creepy.

Gotham is on Fox, Monday nights at 8/7c. It's also available to view on Fox's website and Hulu. Spoilers ahead!

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