Mr. Freeze has arrived — and you thought winter was over.
Now that I got that bad pun out of my system, let's get on with the recap of "Mr. Freeze," the first episode in the second half of Season 2. First, I would like to applaud the "Gotham" writers for resisting to use cheesey puns like the ones Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze used in "Batman & Robin." It's no easy feat — I'll attest to that.
But that's not the only reason this Mr. Freeze is far superior to the 1997 film version — he's relatable. The anger and anguish that stems from him seeing his wife suffer is more convincing and humanizing than Schwarzenegger's interpretation. I'm intrigued to see how his story unfolds, even though I'm sure it won't end well for him.
Last we saw Mr. Freeze, he cornered a man in an alley and froze him solid. Now as his victims increase, so does his sloppiness. After freezing a few people and loading them into his van, a police officer finds him and discovers his secret. To cover his tracks, Mr. Freeze then adds the officer to his tally of victims.
But unlike most "Gotham" villains, he murders out of love — even if it is a twisted way to show it. When he returns home after his latest freezing spree, we see a blond woman sleeping in the soft yellow light, a lovely, yet stark, contrast from Mr. Freeze's harsh and icy blue scenes. The woman is wife, Nora Fries, who's dying from an incurable disease.
Mr. Freeze is working on a way to cryogenically freeze and reanimate her to stop the disease. So far he hasn't had much luck with the reanimation process, as evidence from the gruesome, goopy puddle of flesh (barf) we see in his basement.
After his ailing wife has a coughing fit, he goes to the pharmacy to pick up a perscription for her — a pill Mr. Freeze says she needs to survive. As luck would have it, there's no refill on the bottle and the pharmacist is the least sympathetic and most smug person who you could least want your loved one's to rely on.
"Everyone that comes in here is sick or in pain," the pharmacist says as he dismisses Mr. Freeze, relishing that he has ruined someone's day. Ugh. Kudos to the actor who played the pharmacist. It must have been hard portraying someone that evil.
But rather than be a sane individual and just grit his teeth and call his doctor for a new prescription, Mr. Freeze decides to shoot the messenger with his freeze gun. He later returns to the pharmacy, tosses the bottle to the pharmacist and freezes him to death after he gets his refill.
Again, Mr. Freeze is letting his sloppiness and rage get the best of him. He barely escapes being caught by Jim and Harvey at the pharmacy, where they find Nora's prescription bottle, which leads them to the Fries house.
There, Jim and Harvey find a traumatized Nora in the basement surrounded by frozen bodies. Until then she thought her husband was experimenting on mice. Right…
They take her to the precinct for questioning, but she refuses to snitch. "My husband did terrible things, but he did those things for my sake," she admits. "I can't tell you how sorry I am, but I can't betray him."
As they lock her up, Mr. Freeze arrives at the station to confess. It's depressing how pitiful Gotham is. Rather than being immediately taken into questioning, he has to wait in line with deranged men who believe they're Mr. Freeze. That's Gotham for you.
Then we're treated to one of the best scenes this season: the reanimation of the smug pharmacist. The startled reactions from everyone from Ed Nygma to Mr. Freeze were priceless, and I love how the director zoomed in on the pharmacist's hand and body parts as he emerged and stumbled from the morgue.
When he sees this experiment is a success, Mr. Freeze walks out of the precinct a free man, hopeful to find a cure for his wife. But will he be able to freeze her in time? Or will she fall victim to a coughing fit and die without having her newly filled, life-saving meds?
Best Harvey one-liners: "It's a good thing you're here. Caught a weird one last night." – Harvey
"That's it? No hug, no kiss, no welcome back?" – Jim
"You don't deserve these lips." – Harvey
Grossest moment: The frozen body that liquefies rather than coming back to life. Ugh, I'm never looking at a melting Popsicle the same.
All eyes: Could someone please explain the writers' gouging-out-eyes obsession? The Arkham patient's all-too-literal interpretation of "see no evil" makes it three times that someone's lost an eye on "Gotham." I'd like to say I've become immune to it, but gah! Enough already!
A dummy by any other name: "I don't like being called a names," Ed growls, crushing a frozen rose after Harvey calls him a dummy. You know, you can stand up for yourself without being so menacing, Ed.
Worst style makeover: Penguin's pinstripes to prison stripes. No wonder his "I am the king of Gotham" speech on top of the cafeteria table left the crowd so uninspired.
Dastardly duo: With Penguin in a padded cell and Theo Galavan dead, who's the current king of the Gotham criminal world? That'd be Penguin's first in command, Butch, and his newest partner in crime, Tabitha Galavan. Butch broke free of Penguin's control, but will he loosen Tabitha's grip on him?
Strange brew: Supervillain Hugo Strange has arrived to Gotham, and he's the head of psychiatry at Arkham. (Side note: As a "Law & Order: SVU" fan, I'm so glad to see BD Wong play a bad guy for once. No, "Jurassic World" doesn't count.) Does Arkham ever do background checks on their candidates?
Or maybe they do, and they want evil masterminds heading their prisons filled with other evil masterminds. That would make sense, as Strange is the one behind Indian Hill's "preserving dead people in liquid filled tubes" study. He hasn't had much luck with the reanimation process. How long until he joins forces with Mr. Freeze?
Jim's walk on the dark side: It's unnerving to know that Jim has become so tainted and unfamiliar from the comic/movie version of the commissioner we know and love. I've accepted that Barbara's gone off the deep end, and that she and Jim won't get married. And it's OK that Jerome, aka the Joker Lite, was killed off before his moment to shine. But the one artistic license I'm having trouble with is letting Jim become this villainous.
He might have gotten away with the lie that Penguin murdered Theo for now, but that cover-up won't last long. Captain Barnes is too suspicious of him, and is waiting for him to slip up. After saying he "chooses to believe" his story, he tells Jim, "I'm trusting you. Don't make a fool out of me." Jim hisses back, "Yes, sir."