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Gotham: Nathan Darrow, BD Wong talk Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange

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Fox

When Gotham returns for the second half of season 2, there are a few new villains in town. First up, Nathan Darrow’s Mr. Freeze is bringing the city’s core temperature down. But at least it’s for a good cause? Well, sort of. 

In the middle of desperately trying to save his ill wife’s life, fans will meet Mr. Freeze as he works to find a way to save the woman he loves. “He cannot accept death as a fact of life,” Darrow tells EW. “At least the death of somebody that he loves. He can’t see beyond that. That is not acceptable to him, so he’s going to do anything to prevent it.” 

At this point, Darrow says Mr. Freeze is motivated by saving his wife, as well as a “scientific curiosity.” In other words, he isn’t all evil. “If he has some range of sociopathy, it’s buried down there. Or maybe it’s not there,” Darrow says. “I feel like his connection to [his wife] keeps a lot at bay.”

But unlike Mr. Freeze, the other new villain, Hugo Strange (BD Wong) doesn’t have a woman to keep him in check. Well, unless you count Ms. Peabody. “My version of him is that he’s got a really wicked sense of humor,” Wong tells EW. “He has this really intimate and bizarre relationship with his right-hand, Ethel Peabody. They have a funny way of interfacing, which is mutually respectful and apparently long-term but almost sort of masochistic. They push each other’s buttons and they put each other down and yet at the same time there’s clearly a sense of respect between them.”

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However, Ms. Peabody’s job isn’t to keep any part of Hugo Strange at bay. Instead, she works alongside Strange as he uses Arkham to perform his own personal experiments on the patients. “He’s a super intellect,” Wong says. “He plays a potentially crucial role in manipulating the situation in Gotham City — when the villains come through Arkham, they get processed through this crazy mechanism. He’s obsessed with a certain kind of technology that changes people. The way it changes them, it makes them even worse.”

So if Mr. Freeze is driven by the desire to save his wife, what is it that drives Strange? “Hugo’s drive is his obsession with the human mind — understanding it, manipuating it, improving it, changing it,” Wong says.

And don’t expect Strange to impact every character he comes in contact with the same way. “Every story that has a character, some of them familiar characters and some of them new characters, that come into contact with Hugo Strange have their mind messed with by him in totally different ways. He’s not only obsessed with manipulating their brains and controlling their minds, but then after he’s changed them, he’s really fascinated, from a scientific point of view, with then putting them back out into the world and seeing what happens.”

As for the fans, they’ll get to see what happens when Gotham returns Monday, Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.