We’re at the mid-season finale already? Man, it feels like this one’s flown by.
While this isn’t a great spot to leave off on, it’s an improvement over the last two weeks, so I’ll take it.
Well, I can’t really blame them for making an effort now, can I?
After having called out Bruce Wayne as being one of the weaker points of Gotham on a week-to-week basis, the showrunners finally decided to make him a focal point for this episode. It’s a game effort, but unfortunately, it can only do so much to save a “not bad but fairly- unremarkable” episode.
After last week’s big story blowout, it’s back to the grind this week. However, the show has taken the changes to the setup from the prior story and it looks like it’s trying to use them well. This week is definitely a step back from the prior ratcheting up, but honestly, it’s not a bad one to have.
I do have to say this may take the prize for the show’s strangest cold opening so far: two office workers in ski masks fighting each other to the death in an abandoned office building. Yes, there’s a logic behind it (sort of) and it serves as the basis for this week’s case.
This show actually delivered on a cliffhanger from the week before!
And thank God they did, too. With Cobblepot finally revealing himself, several stories that have been in varying degrees of spinning their wheels got much needed kicks to the backside this week. I’m not going to declare the show perfect now, but it’s taking some big strides in a good direction this week.
It’s the last week of October. In television, that means this is the week every show either does an explicitly Halloween-themed episode, or at least one with a darker/more horror-based angle.
Which brings us to this week’s episode, involving an old case from Bullock’s past – an occult-based murderer targeting Gotham’s wealthy who claims to be channeling an ancient spirit, and the possibility of murder continuing from beyond the grave.
Most of the above is really just window dressing for the holiday, but it does hit on one good thing about this episode: after being a supporting force over the past few weeks, we get Bullock in the limelight. It turns out to be one of the better decisions the show has made in a while.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about how Gotham has been trying to find its tone- the mixed results. The Balloonman introduced a bit more of the comic book feel to the show and while parts of it worked, it clashed with the preceding episodes. By comparison, Arkham tried for a more serious feel that made for an interesting overall story, but characterization varied wildly as a result.
With Viper, the show seems to be trying to set a balance between those two styles. There are definitely some elements that seem more at home in the comics – most notably with regards to the titular drug – but we’re also seeing build on the long game storyline it set up last week.