Episode Title: A Dead Man Feels No Cold
Original Airdate: 3-7-16
I wasn’t so sure about Gotham returning when they announced Mr. Freeze as the new villain of the arc, and I still wasn’t entirely sure when he started going around freezing people. But what did surprise me was the other new villain, one that comic fans might be aware of, but I had never heard of by now and that was Hugo Strange played here by B.D. Wong. As a villain, in just two short episodes he has become the fascinating person with goals that make sense and yet are also very sinister and twisted while simultaneously being secretly out in the open. And his look is so bizarre with the round colored glasses and odd beard choice. It looks very comic book, but somehow doesn’t exactly seem all that out of place in the world of Gotham.
What else this episode did that I really appreciate are the moments of subtlety that I had been wanting for during much of season one. The best example here is the discussion that a dying Nora has with Lee about how she should have known that Victor was using his obsession with her health to spiral out of control into what he has become now. And Lee recognized right there that Jim Gordon is right on the precipice of that very same downward spiral while she has been keeping herself away from it as much as possible. It wasn’t handled with a sledgehammer, but a much more precise bit of character development, helped by the always amazing Morena Baccarin.
We also get the return of Bruce from his month away at a chateau in Switzerland and his enduring quest to find his parent’s killer. I’m really enjoying his dark turn in this, the entire season has been a downward spiral for all of the main characters and Bruce is no exception. It seems like he has already turned a corner to where he doesn’t just want to find his parents killer, but he also wants them dead. His therapy session with Lee was also very well handled in one of the best performances by David Mazouz on the show so far, especially as we get a little hint of the Batman when Bruce mentions the “other Bruce”. Maybe it’s just my mood towards this show overall, but for whatever reason I thought that this type of reference to the fact that he will become Batman in the future works much better than almost any foreshadowing that they came up with in the first season.
The one aspect of this episode that I didn’t much care for was everything surrounding Penguin. While he is also going through his own downward spiral, I just didn’t care for the representation of the patients at Arkham Asylum. They felt way too over the top even when you factor in that they have all been subjects of Dr. Hugo Strange’s experiments. I did also notice that they haven’t referred to him as “Doctor Hugo Strange”, but instead as “Director Strange”. But B.D. Wong is already a new favorite on this show. Just the way that he used the cameras in the asylum to corral the police officers and lead Victor to where he needed to go along with his little deal was just perfect. And the two big reveals at the end, we get our first real supervillain that has stepped out of the real world and into the comic book world. I wasn’t too hot on his look with the shock of white hair, but it also didn’t look too awful. The big final reveal with Galavan in a giant tube was also a little bit much, but it all just depends on where they ultimately go with it. And as long as B.D. Wong sticks around for a while, I’m on board all the way.