TV Recap: Gotham: Wrath of the Villains, ‘Mr. Freeze’

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MR. FREEZE PLOT:

Gordon (Ben McKenzie) deals with tough questioning regarding Galavan’s murder, but is quickly pulled back on duty with Bullock (Donal Logue), as the two track down a mysterious new enemy (Nathan Darrow) who’s freezing people to death. Meanwhile, Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor) is on the run, and finds himself in a precarious situation, while Butch (Drew Powell) becomes the new crime lord of Gotham.

For the love of grappling hooks, it feels like the last episode of Gotham was twenty years ago, but we’re back, baby! After an efficient, stellar recap of all the big events, we immediately saw the ramifications of Gordon’s big blow out with Galavan. While the first couple scenes dealt with Gordon’s actions from the mid-season finale, it was quickly brushed aside, but I mean that in a good way. The seeds have been planted in creating a huge conflict between Gordon and Barnes (Michael Chiklis). This has been tabled for now, and it’s the right call. This episode was all about setting the tone for what’s to come, and that’s the wrath of the villains. We got two huge introductions, and both exceeded my expectations.

Photo Credit: FOX
Photo Credit: FOX

Mr. Freeze is one of my all time favorite Batman villains. This is mostly due to the Nineties animated series that completely redefined the character with arguably its best episode, “Heart of Ice.” Ever since Gotham began, I’ve wanted to see them tackle this character, and they did not disappoint. They wisely borrow the “Heart of Ice” narrative, but Gotham does what it does best, giving its own tweaks and interpretations. In this one episode, it delved deep into Victor Fries’ depraved experiments, something the animated series never even did. The effects were also surprisingly creepy. As Victor moved around his frozen victims, it was fairly uncomfortable. Not bad for a network budget. Most importantly though, they got the right actor. Nathan Darrow brings the right amount of evil and sympathy, and they are only scratching the surface. This will be one hell of an arc.

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While I expected to love Mr. Freeze, I wasn’t all that excited about bringing Hugo Strange into the mix. I’m in the minority, but I’ve never been that enamored with the character. Gotham did its job in getting me excited though, because I’m all in. First of all, they struck gold with the right actor. BD Wong is fantastic, equal amounts arrogant and unsettling. Part of my indifference towards Hugo Strange in the Batman mythos is that I never fully understood his motivations. Gotham perfectly summed it up with a single scene involving one of Strange’s patients. Wow. Without spoiling too much, what does this show have against eyeballs? Just saying. They’ve definitely laid the groundwork for a great Hugo Strange arc.

Aside from the newbies, it was old hat for everyone else. Gordon and Bullock don’t miss a beat, and even had a hilarious argument about Fries’ last name, and something I always wanted a Batman writer to joke about. Robin Lord Taylor was as great as ever, and I found Oswald particularly interesting in this episode as he found himself in a place where he has no power. With Oswald on the run, Butch is now the head honcho! How about that? It was quickly ripped away though, as he was immediately taken advantage of. Poor, Butch.

This was the perfect episode to come back to after a long break. It got us back into the rhythm of our main characters, and introduced two important villains seamlessly. I feel like I’ve been locked in Arkham for three months and just got out. Welcome back, Gotham.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.