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REVIEW: Gotham 2×13 “Rise of the Villains: A Dead Man Feels no Cold”

Written by Scott Swartz

Hey guys, Strange isn’t just a psychopath, he a genius psychopath incase you didn’t know and that means something in the world of Gotham. So, yeah Gotham is still as heavy handed as ever and really has no time for your subtlety or nuance. It just wants to be campy for campy sake, and you know what that is fine for the most part until you realize not everybody is in on the joke yet. Take for example Jim Gordon, he still believes he is in your average police procedural where everything is still normal, despite a guy literally walking around freezing everyone. At the same time you have everything happening at Arkham which seems to  have embrace the crazy antics of the show’s mythos hardcore and refuses to let go. Gotham can’t be both of these things as it makes it super unclear as to which world we are supposed to be living in and how characters are supposed to interact.

First off let’s look at Hugo Strange who is really not the deranged psychiatrist we know and expect and is rather a mad scientist aimed at making crazy the normal. Overall I have no serious qualms or issues with this idea and the way in which Strange is apparently the architect of Bruce’s villains. However, whenever he is given the chance to interact with the world outside the asylum everything begins to go haywire. Its like no one cares about all of the insane former criminals that Gordon has sent to Arkham, I feel as if someone, hell Bullock, should say something or speak up about the conditions. We get a tiny bit of that when Bullock becomes protective of Nora and says they shouldn’t use her as bait, but at this point even Gordon should be yelling to send them all to Blackgate or somewhere.

At the same time we have Victor who is basically just running after Nora no matter the cost, which is completely fine if he was doing a better job of it. I mean nobody should be able to just walk through Arkham or be able to take down all of the cops without a problem. I mean I understand the poetic nature of the entire thing with having Nora be the cause of Victor’s condition, but having her die off makes Freeze a very one dimensional villain at the moment. If revenge is his prime motivator, and specifically revenge against Lee, then his connection with Bruce and by extension Batman is completely invalid. Bruce at least from a comics narrative knows that Victor is not an entirely bad person, but the first time our hero is going to see Freeze is when he is on an all out murder bender. Not exactly the sympathetic villain we know and love.

Similarly we have Bruce and Alfred which really feels like the only part of the episode that actually works in any way as it sets up Bruce’s decent into his dual identity. I also liked the fact that Alfred is totally cool with Bruce murdering someone, as long as Bruce doesn’t pull the trigger. It helps to solidify the idea that Alfred wants Bruce to have some small amount of purity during his young life, even if it means Alfred must damage his soul in the process. It also creates some tension assuming that Bruce or Alfred actually manage to kill Malone as the police will not let this action slide without repercussions. I really am liking how they are portraying Bruce as he wants to be an honest and normal kid, but his drive for vengeance is getting in the way. I can’t wait to see how much of a psychological toll everything takes on him and how he manages to form the Batman persona.

Overall it was a normal if not quirky episode, but its still Gotham so we ain’t getting much better.

Final Grade C

+Hugo’s new origin

+Bruce and Alfred’s agreement

-Freeze’s origin really butchered

-Tonally feels like two completely different shows.

-Nobody really died

Extra Thoughts

-Seriously, Galavan, Jerome, and Fish all lived. What was the actual purpose of “killing” them in the first place then?

-I like Freeze’s new look, just a little to much hair.

About the author

Scott Swartz