Gotham 2:12 – “Mr. Freeze”
So, after a fairly lengthy hiatus, Gotham is back with a new episode entitled “Mr. Freeze.” The eponymous character was teased at the tail end of the mid-season finale, but will now clearly play a part in the season going forward.
However, before we can get to any of that, the show-runners need to cough up some Galavan from their system. The show opens with a lengthy recap of the convoluted story of Theo Galavan, and then properly begins with Gordon’s hearing on the matter. Here, he blatantly lies to investigator Harvey Dent when he says that he was not involved at all in Galavan’s death. The only person who knows that Gordon killed the former corrupt mayor is the Penguin himself, and for a few brief moments, Gordon’s fairly transparent lie looks like it will completely collapse on him when Barnes, that husky police chief, is able to nab the Penguin from the streets at last. Barnes, who wordlessly already suspects that Gordon isn’t on the level about the whole Galavan thing, now has the witness he needs – the Penguin – to confirm his suspicions. Turns out that Gordon might owe the Penguin another favor: Penguin does not tell Barnes that Gordon or anyone else was involved in Galavan’s death. The reason: he so hates Galavan for his mother’s death that he seems to want to take the credit for killing him.
I used the phrase “coughing up Galavan” earlier in this review, because that villain was never all that interesting to me, but these early scenes were handled quite well. Eventually, we get to the main story, which follows the story of the legendary Batman villain Mr. Freeze set in the gritty world of Gotham television show. Aside form being much younger than he has perhaps ever been shown in a Batman story before, his origin here is pretty much the same as it is in the comics. His young, beautiful wife has a terminal illness, and he plans to freeze her until he is able to cure her. He’s been freezing lots of people, each with slight modifications to either the mixture or the thawing process. After all, if he can’t bring someone back, than his whole plan is for naught.
Gotham treats this this material just as it should: it’s just another case for Bullock and Gordon to solve, even as crazy as it is. Is it really all that much different than the Baloonman from the first season? Gotham knows that it’s a faux-police procedural set in a comic book world that can get crazy, and, with this episode, there’s a joy to seeing so many characters from the Batman mythos play a part. Fries gets his freezing solution form Wayne Enterprises, for example, so it makes sense that Gordon and Bullock would speak with Lucious Fox about that. And then we have Ed Nygma, the future Riddler, looking over the frozen corpses from Fries experiments. It’s kind of neat seeing all of these characters become more and more linked together with each episode, and you realize that while the ties are getting stronger, the creators re turning the screws even tighter: we’ve gone form baloonmen to freeze rays, and yet the show still somehow has real grit to it.
Oh, then there’s the Penguin, who’s sent to Arkham Working on his case is the head of Arkham, Hugo Strange, who seems lifted right out of the comic pages. I was not really surprised to find that there’s an elevator from Arkham that leads straight underground to Indian Hill labs, where we already are aware from past episodes that the not-quite-so-dead Galavan and Firefly are being kept. And when Hugo Strange learns of what Fries has been up to – that freezing technology is something he’s wanted for some time – we can see all of the show’s disparate story-lines starting to coalesce.
“Mr. Freeze” is an episode that is mainly laying down track to connect first part of the season to the second, and for some it might not work all that well as it’s own story, but that’s how TV’s done these days. For me, it was good to have Bullock on the case. I wasn’t sure if I’d like having Mr. Freeze on Gotham, as it seemed to me to be nothing more than a way to bring in the casual Batman fans for a cheap ratings ploy. Turns out, that character fits right in.
My score: 4 out of 5 stars