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REVIEW: Gotham 2×12 “Rise of the Villains: Mr. Freeze”

Ugh.

That was my exact reaction upon remembering that Gotham was returning to my TV screen after a much appreciated winter hiatus. It’s no secret that I was not a fan of the first half of Gotham’s sophomore season, the obvious plots and general lack of anything made it somewhat unbearable to sit through, so I wasn’t looking forward to resuming watching the series. And, unfortunately, “ugh,” was the same reaction I had after watching the spring premiere. 

Gotham is a show that has always been pretty heavy with the melodrama, which was fine when there was at least an attempt at balancing it with some exciting plots and characters. Unfortunately, “Mr. Freeze,” was an episode that followed the dull and mostly pointless patterns of the early half of the season, rehashing all of the already overused plots of Jim’s darkness/guilt, Penguin’s manic downward spiral, and an increasing suspicion within the GCPD.

Spoilers ahead!

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Naturally, the main focus of, “Mr. Freeze,” was on the introduction of… Mr. Freeze.

When a police officer with the GCPD is found frozen to death, Gordon and Bullock begin investigating the incident and soon realize that the death can be linked back to a series of abductions that have recently occurred in Gotham. We of course know who’s responsible since we got a first hand look at the event. Naturally, the deaths and disappearances are kudos to one Victor Fries, whose cryo gun is perfect at instantly freezing people.

Victor’s deal is that his wife is sick and he’s trying to figure out how to freeze her, stop the disease from killing her, and then bring her back to life. The first two issues have nice green check marks next to them but the, “bringing people back to life post-freeze,” is clearly one that Victor is struggling with. Another thing he’ll be struggling with?

Explaining all of the frozen people that his wife, Gordon, and Bullock find in his basement.

It’s interesting that Gotham has decided to begin 2B with a villain that is so drastically different from Galavan. Where Theo was selfish, narcissistic, and a killer for the sake of self-advancement, Victor is a devoted husband who doesn’t want to kill. His issue is that his desire to keep his wife alive is stronger than his desire to keep anyone else alive. His sudden freeze-spree only occurs after the pharmacist is awful to him, slowing him down in his desire to save his wife.

Elsewhere, Penguin is arrested for the murder of Theo Galavan after spending the hiatus on the run. The arrest naturally causes Jim to grow a bit worried, considering that it was actually he who killed Galavan. He’d already been questioned at length about what occurred the night of Galavan’s death (blatantly lying and saying he had no involvement in the murder) and knows how chatty Penguin can be. Understandably, Jim fears that the villain will reveal the true identity of Galavan’s killer and he’ll end up on the other side of the GCPD jail cells.

As it turns out, he doesn’t have to worry much at all because Penguin doesn’t snitch.

The wily ciminal is so far down in the dumps as the result of his mother’s death and the destruction of his empire that he super dramatically decides to be some sort of pseudo-martyr and take the fall for the former Mayor’s murder. The willingness to take responsibility for Galavan’s death, combined with his generally questionable sanity, results in Penguin being schlepped off to the infamous Arkham Asylum where he meets Dr. Hugo Strange.

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It’s very clear that Strange is going to stir up a few things in Arkham, if not Gotham as a whole. “Rehabilitation,” has never sounded quite so creepy and ominous.

Lastly, in the least interesting plot of the episode, Harvey Dent and the Captain are *gasp* suspicious of Gordon! They wonder whether or not he might have had something to do with Galavan’s death and are clearly going to be keeping tabs on him as the season progresses.

What was frustrating about this C plot is how absolutely ridiculous it was in terms of making Dent and the Captain question whether or not Gordon might have been involved with Galavan’s murder.

OF COURSE HE WAS INVOLVED.

Do you not remember the numerous physical and verbal blows that Galavan and Gordon got into before the Mayor’s convenient death? Do you not remember how incessant Gordon was about stopping Galavan by any means necessary? Do you not remember that Gordon has crossed nearly a dozen lines while almost crossing a dozen more? Do you not remember that Gordon is kind of friends with Penguin?

I mean, jeez Louise.

There are so many red flags where Gordon is concerned that it’s almost embarrassing how oblivious everyone around him is. The fact that the Captain of the GCPD (who previously had an in depth conversation with Gordon about inner darkness and line crossing) is just mildly suspicious of Jim rather than flat out accusatory is ridiculous.

It irks me so much when characters are intentionally idiotic and willingly oblivious, and Gotham is absolutely flooded with such people.

“Mr. Freeze,” was a marginal improvement to Gotham’s fall finale but the show is going to have to make some huge adjustments to actually be considered worth watching again. Despite what half of the characters in this episode might think, there is no, “king of Gotham.”

Episode Grade: C

Episode Highs:

  • Bullock is always fun and is perhaps the only character on Gotham that I haven’t wanted to punch in the face this season.
  • “I’m just thinking of all those poor mice you’re experimenting on.” Oh Mrs. Freeze, the mice your husband is experimenting on for your benefit are of the homo sapien variety.

Episode Lows:

  • If you’re going to focus all of your lead-in promos on a villain, you have to really make sure that said villain is fun to watch and capable of carrying a substantial arc. Mr. Freeze is certainly more intriguing than some of Gotham’s past villains, but he’s still not yet worthy of the amount of marketing that was given to him leading up to his introduction. If anything, it seems as though Strange will be the bigger bad of the season.
  • The Captain and his “scumbags” speeches are starting to get really

Additional Thoughts:

  • Does anyone else want Lee to realize how much better she can do and just watch her bounce from Gotham forever? Self-preservation, Lee. Jimmy’s gonna bring you down.
  • What terrible concoction was A16?

How did you feel about the midseason premiere of Gotham? Let us know on Twitter and in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen