As the conclusion of what is essentially a two-part origin story for Mr Freeze, there are few big surprises in this episode; but there are so many incidental pleasures along the way that we’re inclined to treat it kindly.
Having been torn apart emotionally by the plight of Nora Fries, we’re almost sympathetic to the plight of Victor, despite the trail of frozen corpses he’s leaving in his wake. His latest raid (on a Waynecorp company, obviously), gives him the cryogenic chemicals he needs, and a hostage in his bid to free Nora. The demonstration of his power in freezing Gotham harbour is an exciting foretaste of the action to come.
Meanwhile, Lee is treating the traumatised Bruce Wayne, back from Switzerland but still determined to find his parents’ killer; he can’t be both a schoolboy and a detective, she tells him, but he replies that people can be two things at once. Score!
Working on Silver St Cloud’s evidence, Alfred comes up with a police file for killer Patrick ‘Matches’ Malone, giving Bruce a target for his rage. And of course he goes to Selina for help in getting a gun.
At Arkham Asylum, Professor Strange starts to treat Penguin for his psychopathic tendencies, and we’re irresistibly reminded of the psychological conditioning procedures in A Clockwork Orange. Will Oswald respond, or be broken? One immediate result is that he exposes Jim’s guilt in the murder of Theo Galavan.
Nora Fries is also being treated at Arkham, giving Victor the opportunity (with the help of Hugo Strange) to bust her out and take Lee hostage (see, we predicted that the pregnant Lee would get kidnapped in record time). Victor’s new astronaut-style environment suit makes him look more like the Mr Freeze we know and love.
Nora dies (maybe?) when Victor tries to freeze her; she swapped the canisters in his freeze gun because she couldn’t bear her guilt over Victor’s crimes. Before she goes, she bonds with Lee, who’s obviously feeling that Jim Gordon is also going over to the dark side.
Victor tries to kill himself with his freezing chemical, but wakes up in the tender care of Hugo Strange; no longer able to survive at normal temperatures, he’s become a living demonstration of Strange’s determination to cheat death. What canisters of ghoulishness (including a suspended Theo Galavan) will Strange unleash on Gotham? (and what will induce Fries to help him? If Nora was in fact still alive, this would provide some motivation.)
So, some great setups for future episodes; Jim is descending further into moral turpitude, abandoning Penguin to take the rap for Jim’s own crime; Strange and Fries look to form a team, possibly accompanied by an army of undead popsicles; Bruce and Alfred are headed on a trajectory of revenge, but as for Penguin, what does the future hold for him? It can’t be good. Somehow we’re already sorry for the little fellow.
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