Gotham ‘Viper’ Recap – Episode 01.05

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A mysterious man with a mangled ear is distributing a drug throughout Gotham that gives the user super strength for a few hours and then horribly kills them. Meanwhile, Cobblepot reveals his tale to Maroni while Fish Mooney grooms her new “weapon” against Falcone.

The Case

A man with a mangled ear drops a drug vial into the guitar case of a local busker. The busker takes the drug and immediately becomes super strong and power hungry. He goes to a local convenience store and starts chugging gallons of milk. When the owner of the store confronts him with a baseball bat, the busker grabs it from him and breaks it in two. He then pries the ATM from the wall and carries it away. A few blocks away, Gordon and Bullock are having lunch at a burger stand when an alarm goes off. They investigate the convenience store, help the owner, and find the empty drug vial in the busker’s guitar case. They track down the busker to his hideout, at which point he begs them for help before lifting the ATM over his head and crushing himself beneath it as his bones crumble.

Nygma analyzes the drug and explains that it causes the body to leach power from the calcium in the bones, causing the user to desperately try to replace the calcium with dairy products. Eventually all the calcium will be used up and the bones crumble, leaving the user dead. Very sophisticated lab equipment and skill is needed to produce this drug, so Gordon and Bullock look into WellZyn, a pharmaceutical company associated with Wayne Enterprises. Meanwhile, the man with the mangled ear starts handing out free samples to everyone on the street. Chaos ensues as the users are arrested and brought to the GCPD.

Gordon and Bullock ask the WellZyn representative about the man with the mangled ear and he turns out to be an ex-employee of the company named Stan Potolsky. He grew disenchanted with his place in the company and increasingly irate until he attempted to cut his ear off during an argument. They promptly fired him and he disappeared. When they search the belongings Stan left behind at WellZyn they find a picture of him and his professor. When they interview the professor, Isaac Steiner, he tells them all about Stan’s work with a drug called Viper that was designed to promote super strength in soldiers. The drug turned out to be deadly, but a second version was made called Venom that actually works. Stan begged WellZyn to shut the program down, and when they refused went over their heads to Thomas and Martha Wayne. They shut the program down, but it was revived immediately following their death. Stan and Isaac plotted together to expose WellZyn and their immoral experiments and dangerous drugs. Isaac tells them that they have one more demonstration planned.

Gordon figures out that the demonstration will take place at a Wayne Enterprises shareholders gala, which Bruce and Alfred just happen to be attending. They evacuate everyone just in time and Gordon sprays Stan with his own drug, causing him to jump off the roof. Before he dies, Stan tells them to go to warehouse 39, but when they go to look the lab and any evidence has already been cleaned out. Molly Mathis, “middle management” at Wayne Enterprises, has shadowed them to the warehouse and is reporting back to someone on the phone regarding their movements.

The Doctor gets trapped inside the TARDIS when something shifts its external dimensions and drains its power. Now Clara must play the Doctor and save a group of community service workers from an invasion of two dimensional creatures while finding a way to restore the TARDIS to its full size.

Venom

Venom, of course, is the drug used by Bane to make him super strong. It’s pretty likely that WellZyn will be continuing their work with Venom, despite the Potolski setback, and perhaps moving on to human experiments with the improved, non-deadly version. This is where Bane comes in, as he was the only test subject that didn’t die when administered the Venom drug. Bane is born and raised in Pena Dura prison and acquires a vast and eclectic set of skills during his life there. He is haunted in his dreams by a demonic bat and comes to believe that Batman is the embodiment of those haunting dreams. How WellZyn might get mixed up with Pena Dura is obviously a story for another time, but chances are they continue their questionable work and create a monster in the process.

Bruce

Bruce is still tirelessly investigating his parents’ death and the inner workings of Wayne Enterprises in relation to Falcone and greater Gotham. He wants to understand how it all works, where the corruption is, and if his parents’ company is a party to that corruption. Alfred worries, of course, fed up with Bruce’s clutter of files and late nights. He encourages Bruce to get outside for some fresh air, but Bruce won’t have any of it. Alfred persuades him to get out of the house by getting him to go to a company gala. Bruce goes because he wants to talk to the company board members about his findings regarding their connection to Falcone and their involvement in the Arkham deal. The board members aren’t present at the gala, but Bruce gets to talk to a woman who worked closely with his father, Molly Mathis. She claims that she’s merely middle management and that Wayne Enterprises would never have any ties to crime organizations. She says she’ll do all she can to get Bruce a meeting with the board. It turns out, however, that she’s involved more than she says when we see her shadowing Gordon and Bullock’s investigation of the Viper drug. Alfred, not having much luck encouraging Bruce to pursue other things, instead joins his investigation.

Fish Mooney

Mooney is hell bent on taking down Falcone and spends most of this episode grooming her so called weapon, a girl named Liza. The specifications of her grooming are somewhat mysterious – a certain tone of voice, the learning of a specific aria, changing her hair – until she walks by Falcone in the park and her humming that aria gets his attention. He approaches her and explains that his mother used to sing him that aria all the time and that its his favorite. It seems, also, that he is about to say that she looks just like his mother, but cuts himself off. They sit together in the park and listen to the song. Somehow, someway, Mooney has a plan that involves entrapping Falcone with a young mother figure. Mooney also has some help from another mob boss within the family named Nickolai. They pretend to hate each other for appearances, but are actually lovers and are plotting together to take down Falcone.

Cobblepot

Cobblepot complicates his life by jumping the gun and admitting to Maroni who he really is and who he used to work for, which prompts Maroni to have Gordon brought in to corroborate his story. Gordon is obviously unhappy about the complication and being taken away from an important case, but he tells Maroni about how he was ordered to kill Cobblepot but instead let him live. Maroni, who was initially angry about the development, sees great potential in Cobblepot. To test Cobblepot’s reliability, he uses one of his contacts to rob one of Falcone’s casinos – just to mess with Falcone. Cobblepot waits anxiously for the heist to come off and is relieved when it goes off without a hitch. Whether Cobblepot’s new relationship with Maroni will ultimately be beneficial or a hindrance to Cobblepot and his plans is yet to be seen. We do know, however, that Maroni is a pretty devious character himself and definitely poses a threat to both Cobblepot and now also to James Gordon.

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About the Author

Bethany Lewis
My cinema education started when, at three years old, Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" became my earliest memory of cinema. Since then, I've been obsessed with film and television, learning more about it, analyzing it, researching it, and experiencing different kinds of it. After getting my BA in Theater, I went on to get my MFA in Film Studies. I now spend my free time watching and writing about movies.
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