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Review: ‘Gotham S1E5 – Viper’ From The Editor

I’m still torn about Gotham.

On the one hand, there is a good amount to enjoy from things such as Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot portrayal to the concept of Jim Gordon trying to do his police job in a world that is falling into further chaos.

But then there are things like Bruce Wayne saying and doing things that would seem far more normal coming out of a much older version of the character, one perhaps closer to the cusp of becoming Batman than the very early teenaged version that we do see. Or the fact that we get characters and villains that would seem right at home with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pun-loving Mr. Freeze.

Much better is Dexter‘s David Zayas as Maroni, who strikes just the right note between larger than life and grim reality, threatening both Jim Gordon and Oswald Cobblepot while chowing down on lobster, in an effort to clear the latter so he may continue providing him with information he can use against Falcone.

Gordon, with his partner Harvey “What’s altruism?!” Bullock (their relationship is seen slowly warming up over an aborted lunch), is also hunting villain-of-the-week Potolsky, who’s developed the perfect drug for a forty-three minute TV show: one that grants its users super-strength for a limited time before causing their bones to crumble to dust. It’s another cartoon menace when held up against the ongoing threat of gang warfare, but its Wayne Enterprises connection serves to get Bruce and Alfred out of their mansion and into the bigger continuing story. David Mazouz gives the episode’s best performance. He makes us believe a child could channel all his rage, sadness, and loss into a lifelong crusade against evil — and have a political science major’s understanding of the subtleties of criminal law. Mazous’s controlled, subtle delight at watching Alfred (an almost as good Sean Pertwee) abandon his stance against continuing the murder investigation and join him in a bout of afternoon research is endearing.

Yet the now token appearances by Selina “Catwoman” Kyle and Edward “Riddler” Nygma really do very little to develop Gotham‘s ongoing central story. And I again find myself wishing the show could remove these extraneous characters until a time when their presence is needed. Until then, I’ll find myself half enjoying Gotham and half enduring it. It’s still the craziest comic-book-based quilt on network TV. And if it someday learns to go as deep as it has wide, then Batman fans really will get the TV show they deserve.

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