The following article contains spoilers for the mid-season return of Gotham – Mr Freeze.
Last night saw the mid-season return of Gotham, which in a lot of ways felt more like the premiere of a new season. The first part of the season focused on the rise and fall of Theo Galavan and his war against Penguin. All of the wrapped up before the holidays and we start off with new villains, new dynamics and new conflicts. Let's get to the important moments from Mr. Freeze.
1 – My biggest concern with this series isn't all the changes it has made to the origins of the villains or how Gotham is full of these folks long before Batman ever puts on his cowl. My real concern is that we are losing Jim Gordon. The thing that made Gordon unique over the years is he has always been portrayed as the one good man in a sea of corruption. That he always stood for what was right. But so far we've seen him kill a man as part of a deal with Oswald Cobblepot and then he gunned down Galavan. This episode opens with him lying under oath about his involvement. In an odd way Cobblepot has been more loyal and principled than Gordon, not giving up the detective when he got arrested and charged with the murder.
2 – The introduction of Victor Fries is straight out of Batman the Animated Series. How he starts experimenting with cryogenics in the hopes of saving his wife's life. How its that desperation that drives him to eventually becoming Mr. Freeze. The man is even willing to turn himself in to get his wife out of police custody but only walks away when he sees his experiments are starting to work. But I think they rushed him to a killer too fast. They could have built him up over the first part of the season, making him somewhat likeable as they did with Cobblepot and Edward Nygma so that when he does start taking lives the viewers want are torn between the horrors of his actions and wanting him to succeed at saving the woman he loves.
3 – At the end of the first season we saw Penguin standing on a rooftop yelling out that he was the king of Gotham. Last night we saw Penguin standing on top of a lunch table in Arkham Asylum saying the exact same thing… but here we see just how far he has fallen. He has lost all the power that he worked so hard to gain. He has also lost his mother and his freedom. He is put in a place that we know is far more dangerous than it looks on the outside and in a way, Cobblepot becomes the hero of the story. He has killed but he didn't kill Galavan, yet he took the wrap out of loyalty to someone he considers a friend but who doesn't share the feeling. Gordon has become corrupted while Penguin is now the underdog against the new threat.
4 – There was some pretty inspired casting getting B.D. Wong to play Hugo Strange. Most people are used to him playing the psychiatrist on Law & Order SVU so seeing him in this role is easily accepted like casting Jesse L. Martin as a detective on The Flash. But by doing this, they are able to get the most out they could out of the reveal that he is the one collecting the bodies and doing experiments in the basement. This little cheat wouldn't work on some folks, but it wouldn't work at all with any other actor except maybe J. K. Simmon. Strange's introduction gives us a new big-bad for the rest of the season as well as giving the series the ability to bring back villains like Firefly and Galavan through his experiments. And they already show that Strange is interested in what Mr. Freeze is doing.
5 – We learn that Butch Gilzean has taken over Penguin's crew and is the new king of Gotham. We also learn that he's taken to wearing a drill in place of his left hand. Seems like an odd choice. But we also see that he is somehow connected to Tabitha Galavan or at least that she has plans for him. Have to say I was a bit surprised as I've expected Butch to have been killed off just about every week since the series began… I like the guy, but he just seems like a death waiting to happen… and I figured once Theo was dead we'd lose Tabitha and Silver St. Cloud, but at least one of them is still around. This could be the wildcard subplot as the seasons finished out.
6 – This may seem like one of the smallest moments but I have a feeling it is part of something that will continue to grow. Edward Nygma visits Cobblepot while he's in the GCPD custody. The friendship the two started before the holidays continues to grow and I think the connection will be an important factor in the shaping of the Riddler. And that Oswald was comfortable enough with Edward to ask him to tend to his mother's grave shows that he has accepted Nygma as a friend and we've already seen how loyal a friend he can be.
By the end of this episode, I'd really taken a dislike to Gordon and how he is easily lying to everyone around him while I found myself concerned for Penguin and his situation in Arkham Asylum. I'm hoping by the end of the season the writer's bring Gordon back around towards the good man we started the series with.
As we can see by the next episode preview, Fries gets closer to being Mr. Freeze with a new suit, Hugo Strange is particularly evil and Penguin is not having a good day.