‘Gotham’ gets after school special on us in this week’s episode as we see an early version of a certain strength-inducing drug. Needless to say, don’t take drugs, especially from a weird stranger in a trench coat who doesn’t leave any information on how you can get more.
“Viper” starts off with young Bruce Wayne looking over piles and piles of files on Wayne Enterprises. He’s still mulling over how two of the city’s biggest crime bosses were even allowed to take stock in Arkham in the first place. (Does this kid even go to school?) For a kid, his eye for detail is becoming quite marvelous. “Well I suppose as hobbies go, this is damn sight better than grilling yourself like a bloody pork chop,” says Alfred, remembering Bruce’s penchant for holding his hand over a flame and burning himself.
Elsewhere, a homeless guitar player is given a vile of green liquid labeled “Breathe Me.” Doing so gave him a touch of madness, an insatiable appetite for dairy products, and, oh yeah, super strength. He hits a bodega by beating up the clerk, drinking all of the milk, and ripping the ATM right out of the wall.
Not far from where this is all taking place, Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are doing lunch at a food cart. In the one minute you see them interacting, they actually seem to be getting along as real partners. Gordon gets distracted when he sees Selina Kyle trying to pickpocket a guy across the street, but she gets away. Immediately after that, they here the alarm go off at the bodega.
Gordon and Bullock do a bit of canvasing near the convenience store, trying to find anyone who can identify the “strong man.” A woman says his name is Benny and tells them where he stays.
The detectives find Benny, who is starting to come down from the drug. They try to take him in, but he’s still too strong. Then Benny raises the ATM machine over his head with an intention to throw it at them. However, something happens from inside his body and he crumbles under the machine’s weight. Like a crunchy pancake.
“God help us if that drug gets out,” mutters Gordon. Good news! The “guy with the mangled ear” is doing just that!
Soon the whole precinct is bringing in people who’ve taken the drug, now nicknamed Viper. Comic book fans’ ears definitely pricked up at this mention. Edward Nigma reports in after finishing his analysis of the drug. It taps into unused DNA in the victim, using calcium as its fuel. That explains the extreme craving for milk. But since the no one can replace the amount calcium as quickly as the drug is burning off, the victim’s bones crumble and break from the inside within the few hours after first consumption. This is way too sophisticated for any ol’ lab to create. Someone with access to a state-of-the-art lab would had to have made this. The biggest and best lab in Gotham is in WellZyn, a Wayne Enterprises subsidiary.
Taylor Reece, a public relations representative for WellZyn, preempts the detectives at the precinct and tells them of a former, disgruntled employee, Stan Potolsky. Potolsky was a biochemist who worked in personal care products (toothpaste, shampoos, etc). He grew disgruntled over the fact that we wasn’t doing more important work and went as far as trying to cut off his own ear.
Bullock and Gordon find a close associate of Potolsky’s, a philosophy professor at Gotham U. According to him, Potolsky had trouble with the morality of making pharmaceutical weapons for WellZyn to be used by combat troops. In other words, a super serum. Turns out that Viper was the first batch. Before Potolsky left WellZyn, the formula’s kinks were ironed out. This second batch was called Venom. Cue the ominous music. Potolsky tried to appeal to his bosses to end the program. When they refused, he went over their heads to Thomas and Martha Wayne and convinced them to shut it down. When the Waynes died, it only makes sense that the program was restarted. That’s when Potolsky took matters into his own hands and passed Viper out to civilians to show the world what WellZyn has been up to. How he plans to do that is to infiltrate a Wayne Enterprises charity event and make a statement. There he’ll release the drug into the vents and kill the entire party.
After all of that, the old professor takes a vile of Viper and throws Bullock threw the front door.
Hey, guess who’s also attending the charity event? Why, it’s young master Bruce and his butler Alfred. Bruce intends speak to his company’s board members and find out about the irregularities he found in the Arkham project. Alfred directs him to a Ms. Mathis who used to work closely with Thomas Wayne. The back and forth between them is amusing. She adopts an upbeat tone one would take when speaking to a 12-year-old, and Bruce sounds like a polite yet concerned CEO who is on the verge of catching someone in a lie. Unfortunately, none of the board members are at the event, nor have they ever attended any of the events in the past.
Before he could bring down the verbal “pwning” on Mathis, Potolsky introduces himself via remote video feed in a pre-recorded message. He announces that he created Viper for WellZyn. This catches Bruce’s attention and he starts questioning Mathis about that.
Gordon and Bullock arrive on the scene just as Potolsky releases the Viper gas in the vents. They find him on the roof where Gordon shoots at the canister containing the gas where Potolsky gets a big whiff. Trying to hold on to his mental faculties, he tells the detectives to look at what’s inside Warehouse 39 and then jumps off the building.
The duo follow up on Potolsky’s lead, but find nothing but empty tables and hanging tarp. Watching them from a distance is Mathis who is on the phone with a mystery someone. No doubt it’s a board member from Wayne Enterprises telling her to keep an eye on them in case they get any closer to incriminating evidence against them.
In Cobblepot’s storyline, he’s trying to gain Maroni’s trust even more. Still riding a high on gaining a piece of Arkham, Maroni wants to mess with Falcone even more. This time he wants to hit one of Falcone’s casinos. Maroni’s right-hand man is skeptical, but Cobblepot is sure he can get them in successfully.
And then Cobblepot spills the beans on the fact that he worked for Fish Mooney, who works for Falcone. A little ticked off, Maroni beats the living crap out of Cobblepot and then summons Jim Gordon to his restaurant to clear a few things up. I don’t quite understand why they bagged Gordon on the way to Maroni when they end up sitting inside the dining hall of the restaurant and then let him leave un-bagged. Silly mobsters.
Gordon admits to Maroni all about Pepper getting set up for the Wayne’s murders, how Cobblepot snitched on Mooney and Falcone to the MCU, and how he himself was ordered to kill Cobblepot but didn’t. Maroni lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. He now has a new weapon to use against Falcone: Cobblepot and his many bits of useful information possibly stored in that brain of his.
Meanwhile, Fish Mooney is training the new hire to be just like her. At least, that’s how it looks. Mooney’s actually grooming the girl to be Falcone’s new love interest. This is Mooney we’re talking about. Of course she’s not doing this out of kindness for her boss. She wants a gal close to Falcone so she can take him down from the inside. At the same time, Mooney herself is seducing another branch in the crime family to gain some leverage over Falcone when the time comes.
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