Gotham Recap: A Secret Spilled, an Agenda Revealed and a Bossy Bruce

This week on Fox’s Gotham, Jim Gordon’s non-murderous secret got out, Fish Mooney’s plan for her comely chanteuse became evident and Master Bruce did some nifty detective work.

On the heels of what I felt was a stronger episode, “Arkham,” this week’s hour felt flat to me. And I’m starting to ask myself why this show isn’t quite clicking for me, several weeks in.

Sure, we had some plot movement. In a bid to cement a bigger role with Maroni, Penguin came clean about his real name and criminal roots in the Fish via Falcone organization. That reveal got Penguin handed a beating, until Jim Gordon was “asked” to come to Maroni’s restaurant and vet the story, of how he faked fulfilling a hit for Fish/Falcone. But now Maroni has leverage on Jim, and hinted at plans to avail himself of it in the future.

We also got a bit better context for the dynamic/mood within the larger Falcone organization, when he held a meeting of the families to assure them the Arkham deal benefits everyone, that Maroni didn’t “win.” One boss, Nikolai, doesn’t seem satisfied, and though Fish gives the Russki a verbal lashing then and there, we later see her giving him an all together different one. Yes, they’re in bed with each other, for the mutual good of felling Falcone (though she likely endeavors to do so alone).

To that end, we see Fish curiously grooming Liza to talk, sing and carry herself a certain way. And at episode’s end, we learn why — to bait and bewitch Falcone, as some enchanting, aria-loving version of his mother at that age. Downright Oedipal!

The Villain of the Week… sigh, yet another low-charisma shlub, one who concocted an epigenetic drug that converts bone calcium into super-strength, only to soon after result in death. (Update: TVLine reader Kalbosh reminds us that Venom is the super-steroid that one day will empower Bane.) But the larger raison d’etre here is to cast another shadow on Wayne Enterprises, whose chem division the guy once worked for, until he took umbrage with their plan to design chemical weapons. Wayne Enterprises’ sketchy dealings were a recurring theme, as Bruce’s hours upon hours with his nose buried in the company books revealed to him “discrepancies” with how exactly the Arkham deal went down, that his parents’ company was in cahoots with mobsters. This is a bone Bruce is obviously not going to let go of, and after a scare at the hand of the villain, even Alfred is on board with the “investigation” — though Bruce’s innocent inquiry to meet with the board has raised the hackles of one misleadingly innocuous middle manager.

Oh, and: random Selina Kyle spotting!

What did you think of this week’s episode, “Viper”? Are you still tuning in? If so, why? If not, why not?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Gerald says:

    Sigh….why do I even bother with this show. My patience is running out.

  2. TeeVeep says:

    This show needs a lot more Selina Kyle, Jim and Penguin… and a lot less Fish, Barabara, and the mafia.

  3. L says:

    They really shouldn’t have made Bruce and Alfred series regulars… he should still be in the mourning stages…. they should have just had him pop up from time to time.. having to find stuff for him each episode seems forced.

  4. Lou says:

    I have to agree, I really wanted to like the show but it has not become ‘must-watch’ television for me

  5. The Kaibosh says:

    But Matt; the low-charisma shlub didn’t just create any old epigenetic drug: he created VENOM! The same Venom that Bane will one day use to bulk himself up to super strength to break Batman’s back.

    As for not feeling it click; I don’t know what people are or were expecting. If they want a Batman show then they should tune in in 5-10 years when Bruce Wayne comes back from his travels abroad to train and study. Either that or tune into Arrow which despite claiming to base itself on the Green Arrow myth really resembles more of a contemporary Batman show.

    Curiously your Paley Fest Agents of SHIELD panel with Jeph Loeb (who wrote the awesome Batman: HUSH by the way) hit the nail on the head when Mr Loeb was talking about people constantly asking when Iron Man or the Hulk would show up on SHIELD. That’s because people were expecting Avengers TV and didn’t get it.

    Coming back to Gotham: I hope people aren’t expecting to see Batman by the end of the season or a young Bruce and Selina punching bad guys anytime soon because thats not what this show is about. the payoff of seeing Batman will come. Of that I’m certain but not for some time.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Your Venom point has been noted and added to recap; 250 TVLine Power User Points for you! (No cash value.)

      And you make a fair comparison to what Jeph Loeb said, but my own issue is not expecting a Batman series. It’s getting a compelling, or at least highly interesting, TV show in its stead. And thus far, on average, the cases, the crime-solving, the ancillary characters, and even the aesthetic of the show, aren’t there yet. (There was one shot tonight where it was 100% unvarnished New York City.) And now that they’ve added six episodes to the originally conceived Season 1 tally…. I have concerns.

    • Brian Bauer says:

      Arrow IS based on the Green Arrow myth because GA has always been a “clone” of Batman. A rich playboy with a teen sidekick fighting crime. He had an Arrow-Car, an Arrow-Plane and even an Arrow-Cave.

      • Nobody says:

        Green Arrow is supposed to be more of a light-hearted character and, although he’s fairly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, he’s not as skilled a fighter as they’re portraying on Arrow. I, personally, enjoy Arrow but they did make him much more like Batman.

  6. JeffDJ says:

    I was waffling on whether to continue with this show tonight, but I watched and there was enough interesting things (barely) make me come back next week (such as Mooney’s makeover of the girl). But at this point, it’s a week-to-week thing for me. And while I do like Selina Kyle, her presence at the start of the ep was pointless. At first I thought she was luring Gordon away so she could give him intel about the perp-of-the-week…but no.
    Overall though, maybe I’m just not a big enough fan of the Batman ‘verse to “feel” this show.

  7. The best episode so far, with a subplot that I could totally see being plucked straight from the comics.

  8. Ana says:

    Does anyone know the name of the aria in tonight’s episode?

    • Joey says:

      It’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi. If you want to hear it sung well, you should look up 9 year old Amira Willighagen singing it on Holland’s Got Talent.

  9. ana says:

    The problem for me with this show is that I feel like I am seeing CSI: Gotham

  10. G. says:

    Nah, not tuning in anymore.

    At first, I was interested because I really couldn’t tell where this show was going to be going.

    Now, I realize I couldn’t tell because it’s just not going anywhere. Time to change directions.

    • Davey Elmer says:

      If you couldn’t tell where the series was going to be going based just on the Pilot, I have questions about your comprehension skills, because the Pilot very clearly established everything you needed to know – conceptually – about the show and its direction (as did numerous interviews with the producers, not to mention the very first significant announcements about it).

  11. Mo says:

    I’ll keep watching unless/until something I like better comes on at the same time. I’m not expecting a baby Batman show, but I feel like I should have a better feel for what sort of show we have. And I agree that we could do with less Bruce… I think it would be more interesting to keep him offscreen for a couple of episodes, then discover that he’s been playing detective rather than seeing it. But I have seen enough to keep me interested (for now). I felt like tonight was probably the most comic book-esque episode so far.

    I do hope they find their groove soon, and that those 6 added episodes don’t drag down the season’s pacing.

  12. sladewilson says:

    Anyone remember how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a slow burn also? I told myself I’d give it a season and if by season’s end, nothing – then I’m throwing in the towel…

    • Mo says:

      I do remember feeling similar frustration with the early days of AOS, which is one of the reasons I haven’t yet given up hope.

  13. Lies says:

    Well i am really starting to love this show, i have to atmid that this episode was a bit boring, but the other ones weren’t so i just keep watching can’t wait for next week!

  14. Jamed says:

    The problem with the show is that they are explaining things with very poor excuses. In this episode, for example, they are trying to show corruption in Wayne Enterprises with the Venom story but none of it is interesting because you don’t care about the “villian of the week”. It’s like the writters have the elements, but they don’t know how to make them work together. It all feel disjointed and it’s starting to be a vintage CSI episode every week.

  15. Lloyd Evans says:

    I have heard the aria fish is trying to teach to her protégé, but can’t remember the name of it.
    Anyone here have a clue ?

  16. Fido says:

    I’m still watching because I have my fingers well and truly crossed that ‘where they’re going’ is someplace awesome. Have the feeling if the ptb knock things outta the park with the finale that this will encourage those who left early one to return and binge watch their missing eps.
    I’m not looking on this series as a Batman-prequel but as something separate to the comic line, their own take on the early years of Gotham and Bruce and the others. But am a little concerned as to where the series is going with the gang war approaching: if Gordon defeats it then Gotham doesn’t need no masked vigilante cos they’ve got MrG in charge, but if they don’t defeat it then, well… darn it, I’m not sure where this line of thinking is going, nuts. Anyway, I’m in until the end, but the end we get will decide whether I rewatch the season.

  17. Lloyd Evans says:

    What a bunch of whingeing, after 5 episodes people are unhappy with the show? Americans are too used to instant gratification. Have some patience people, It was stated at the beginning that this was to introduce characters of the DC universe that had not previously had their origins covered. Be good enough to let the arcs develop , unless you think you could write a better screenplay. The production values are some of the best I have ever seen. I agree #5 was a little slow, however it contributed to the development of the show.

  18. Don’t get all the hate at all. I think Gotham is moving nicely

  19. Little Scarf Girl says:

    I watched the first two episodes, and it just didn’t grab me enough to make me want to watch more. And I’m a very big fan of the 90’s Batman cartoons, the DC animated movies, and enjoy the occasional graphic novel.

    My sister on the other hand, who is decidedly less of a comic book nerd, has told me that this is her new favorite show! I’m just not sure why she’s so into it, but I guess it’s grabbing some people. She likes Revenge, which I also don’t care for … are there similarities or something?

  20. Gary lawson says:

    You guys are a bunch of whiners. This is an excellent show. Good concept, good production values. I like the consistly dark, grimy, sinister under current. If you like the comic book genre, you have nothing to complain about with Gotham.

  21. Mikael says:

    i loved the hint of Bane they threw in there!! I think people are being too hard on this show. I remember how Fringe started with a “case of the week” format for half its 1st season and then got amazing after that. SHIELD was similar, taking forever to finally get good. I will definitely keep watching. For me, it’s like the star is Penguin and we’re watching him work his way up. I hope in future seasons we get the original Red Hood, who later becomes Joker!

  22. Carla Jo says:

    Awesome show! Who was the opera singer singing O Mio Babbino Caro? Anyone know?