Victor Fries continues his plan to save his wife but starts to find his true villainy instead thanks to Hugo Strange
“Death is not an ending. Death is a new beginning.”
The rise of Mr. Freeze is officially upon us. Yes, it’s true that we have already been introduced to Victor Fries, but if the events of “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” teach us us anything, it’s that Fries’ “death” means that Mr. Freeze has truly been born.
Monday night’s aptly titled episode began with a police raid on Ace Chemicals. Gordon and Bullock learn that Victor made his way into the lab out of desperation to get more fast-cooling liquid helium for his cryonic formula, but by the time the GCPD’s main detectives arrive, the Ace guards and other cops have already been killed, with one officer in particular enclosed in a ice cube with the phrase carved out: “Free my wife.”
Barnes is obviously furious at the turn of events — like Victor could ever believe the GCPD would release Nora after he killed seven cops — but he quickly comes to one important realization: If Victor already has the container of liquid helium he needs for his formula, all he has left to do is freeze his wife and store her body in a cryo-chamber until she can be awakened without her disease. Gordon tells Barnes that Nora has been moved to Gotham General as her illness is rapidly getting worse. Because an attempt to capture Victor at a real hospital would endanger the lives of many civilians, Barnes suggests a rather clever trap instead: moving Nora to Arkham, which has all the medical facilities Nora would need at a normal hospital but is secure enough to allow for probable retaliation during Victor’s capture and arrest. He also wants to make sure that news of Nora’s shift is announced by the press so Victor will have no choice but to come straight into the arms of the police. Gordon is on board with the plan, but Bullock’s not 100 percent. And considering Nora is now Lee’s patient, she’s not pleased with the plan either.
Lee accuses Gordon of using the sick woman as bait, but Gordon doesn’t see it that way. He even guarantees Nora’s safety, but when Lee says she wants to go to Arkham with Nora, Gordon’s strictly against the idea of putting his fiancée and baby in jeopardy. Lee calls him out and sternly tells him that he cannot use their baby against her.
Lee has more screen time than usual on “A Dead Man Feels No Cold,” as she also reaches out to Bruce, per Alfred’s request, after his return from Switzerland following the events of his kidnapping by Theo Galavan. Lee asks Bruce how he felt about the near-death experience, and he replies that he felt alive, “intensely alive” in fact. He asks Lee if that makes him abnormal, to which she replies that he is certainly unusual as long as he’s being honest. Bruce tells Lee that he is always honest, which he quickly proves is not the case when he lies to Lee about what he plans to do when he finds his parents’ murderer; his desire to uncover this information has remained unchanged.
As the GCPD readies its plan to move Nora to Arkham, the mental institution’s director, Hugo Strange, has different plans. His assistant Peabody, who at times is even more sinister than Strange himself, tells Hugo about the GCPD’s request and realizes that the very man from whom he wants to extract some cyronics knowledge is the very man who will burst into his own facility to take back his wife. He and Peabody ready with their own plan, and their focus goes right to their own inmate of interest: Penguin.
Our poor bird’s wings are certainly clipped now that he’s at Arkham, but it’s more than his freedom that is taken away in this episode. Peabody has Penguin strapped to a chair that looks suspiciously like a torture device and tells him that he will be the face of Arkham rehabilitation. Because if they can cure the one and only Penguin, they can surely cure anybody, right? Penguin refuses his treatment, but it’s clear he has no rights in this prison. Peabody straps a mask to Penguin that essentially attacks our villain with an intense array of violently bright colors until Penguin wakes up to find himself in the middle of a “duck, duck, goose” circle with his fellow Arkham inmates. He’s convinced the whole sequence was a dream, but considering his willingness to play ball in the circle and his very manner changing so drastically, the chair was most definitely real.
Meanwhile, Victor is down at the docks getting ready for his big Nora escape plan (which includes a man tied up in presumably his own truck) when he hears the news of her transfer on the radio. Despite what the GCPD might think of him, Victor is smart enough to realize this is a trap, but he’s ready for the cops in a way they could never see coming: a liquid helium bomb that Victor tests on the river in Gotham. We know what horrors await some of Barnes’ officers when the river instantly freezes over from the weapon.
NEXT: Escape from Arkham
Gordon and Bullock make their way to Arkham where they see Penguin in the middle of his game with the other patients, and Bullock takes surprising notice that he’s acting more strange than usual. Gordon doesn’t fully realize the scope of how Penguin feels inside his prison until Penguin confronts him outside the institution to implore Gordon for help as he is being mentally tortured. Gordon shuts Penguin down by reminding him that his lawyer said he was insane. Penguin yells that Gordon owes him, then screams that Gordon was the one who really killed Galavan as Hugo watches the whole exchange unfold through his cameras.
As the inevitable Victor vs. GCPD battle draws near, Bruce continues to play his role as the surly teenager. He’s angry with Alfred for taking them away from Gotham right as he has finally discovered a name tied to his parents’ killer: M. Malone. Alfred tells him point blank: They had to leave the city because Bruce was just about at the end of his emotional and physical road. After making Bruce promise the two are still in it together, Alfred reveals that he has been doing a little digging with some help from GCPD buddies: He’s found M. Malone, or Patrick “Matches” Malone. He asks Bruce what he believes should be the next step, and it’s obvious what he’s going to say: He wants to kill the man. But Alfred tells Bruce that he will do it, as Bruce is much too young to have a murder on his conscience. When Bruce meets Selina later that night to ask for a gun on his own, she reiterates Alfred’s sentiments, telling him that killing someone will change him. Bruce tells her that he’s counting on it.
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Nora has finally been moved to her new hospital home, ironically right next to a comatose Barbara Kean, a realization Lee is none too happy about. Nora and Lee bond over the fact that they both have people they love who are headed down or, in Nora’s case, have already started heading down a dark path.
Just as Bullock complains about staking out a “loony bin,” a truck speeds down the street and rams into the gates of Arkham. As Gordon opens the doors, he finds a scared driver whose hands are literally frozen solid onto the wheel of the truck while Victor himself breaks through a wall of Arkham to make his way to Nora. Victor uses his freeze bomb on two unsuspecting officers, but Gordon and Bullock are right on his tail…until Hugo closes the doors on the cops with only Gordon making it through before they shut and lock.
Hugo talks to Victor through the speaker system after leading him to the previous Penguin torture chamber. He’s willing to help Victor escape with Nora but at a price: All he wants is one vial of Victor’s working formula. Victor obliges and makes his way to Nora as Gordon is attempting to hide her away. Despite his best efforts, Victor gets away with Nora and Lee, who agrees to accompany her patient like a good doctor.
NEXT: The union of villains
As Gordon makes his way back into Arkham after chasing Victor’s getaway car, Hugo opens the gates back up for Bullock and the other cops, citing extreme cold as the culprit for “shorting the wires” of the gates. Bullock and Gordon realize that Victor must have taken Nora and Lee back to his home as he needs to store Nora in a cryo-chamber once she is frozen. They make their way to the house as Nora pleads with Victor to let her go and let her die. Even if everything goes according to plan, she doesn’t want to wake up in a world where Victor is locked away and she is alone. But he tells her that as long as she is alive, there is always hope.
That line makes Nora realize the truth. She sends Victor upstairs for the necklace he gave her for their first anniversary, and while distracting Lee, she switches the vial of the formula with one that most certainly would not work to keep her alive. Nora tells Lee to let the police know that Victor is not a bad man but that she saw him go down his destructive path and she did nothing because she loved him. Nora and Lee bond once more as Victor makes his way back downstairs and finally freezes his wife.
The police finally make their way to Victor’s home as he admires his frozen wife right before he stores her in her chamber…until he sees her body start to crack. He realizes Nora switched the doses and is now also surrounded by the cops. He asks Lee to tell the police he’s ready to listen, but once she’s out of sight, he removes his suit and attempts suicide with his own freezing mechanism.
Back at Lee and Gordon’s house, Gordon reveals that Victor died in the infirmary and then tries to lecture his fiancée for putting herself and their baby in danger. But Lee knows the truth: If anyone put them at risk, it’s Gordon. Despite maintaining that the Nora plan was just “good police work,” Lee knows the truth, and she also knows that Gordon has been lying about Galavan. The tension between these two just won’t end.
After attempting yet another chair session with Penguin, Hugo makes his way down to Indian Hill to check in on his latest entry to the facility: Victor, who has now awoken with bright white hair and electric blue eyes. Hugo reveals that his corpse is legally in Arkham’s morgue but that he is in Indian Hill in a room that is being kept at below freezing temperatures. It seems that Victor’s body had absorbed some of his own formula over the last few months, and when he attempted to kill himself, his body instead underwent extreme cellular change where his body temperature must stay at hypothermic levels. Hugo reveals that Victor won’t have to stay locked in his room forever as he has made some improvements to Victor’s suit to allow him mobility. But starting soon, he will begin work on a project Hugo believes Victor will find very fascinating…
A project that includes a body which looks extremely like Theo Galavan submerged in a tank of water in the next room. Gotham-ites and DC fans: I call upon you once more for your theories. Hugo Strange is bound to have some deliciously evil plans in store, and I, for one, can’t wait to find out what they are.