The first half of Gotham season 2 was labeled “Rise of the Villains,” and as promised, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and the GCPD came out on the losing end of more than a few battles. It doesn’t look much better for the good guys in the second half of the year, titled “Wrath of the Villains.”
Villainy abhors a vacuum, and with big baddie Theo Galavan defeated (for now), Gotham is introducing a powerful adversary immediately on the show’s midseason premiere. Once again pulling from the archive of Batman foes, the series will grant a two-episode arc to Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow). While fans got a chilling teaser back in December for what appeared to be a citywide reign of terror, a new video clip offers a closer look at the character.
While Gotham began more as a gritty noir drama with more garden variety mobsters and sociopaths causing mayhem, the series has been gradually upping the flashiness of its villains. Executive producer John Stevens noted that this progression is by design, taking “baby steps” towards more “Gotham-ized,” larger-than-life villains. As Gordon notes in the above promo, “the bad guys in this town are changing. I don’t know how bad it’s gonna get.“
The show will be giving Mr. Freeze his traditional DC comic book background as Victor Fries, a gifted cryogenics engineer who hopes to freeze his terminally ill wife Nora (Kristen Hager) until a cure can be found for her condition. In the video, we see Fries in protective gear firing a cryogenic gun that freezes his victims solid, though a newspaper headline reveals that they can potentially survive a thaw.
We also see Fries with a collection of frozen people in cases, likely experiments in his pursuit of safely freezing Nora. The official synopsis, courtesy of FOX, reveals the villain’s body-snatching is what puts Gordon and Bullock (Donal Logue) on the villain’s trail in the first place. Though set photos reveal Mr. Freeze in a more elaborate costume, the latest video indicates his life-altering transformation requiring a sub-zero suit may not happen in the midseason premiere.
Producer Stevens has said the intention is to keep both heroes and villains on Gotham as “human and relatable” as possible. Revealing motivations for the characters like Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) hasn’t necessarily made them more sympathetic, but there’s a chance here for some emotional resonance to Fries’ desperate plight to save his wife.
The story of Freeze is meant to “mirror” that of Gordon and Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), and while it may be a twisted mirror, it might briefly pull Gotham out of the psychopathic bloodbath that much of season 2 has been. Then again, the “desperate and extremely dangerous” Mr. Freeze might cause the most damage of any villain yet.
Gotham episode ‘Mr. Freeze’ will premiere on FOX Monday, February 29 at 8pm.