Season 2 of Gotham has been all about the villains, and the show has pulled some great ones out of the Batman vault. Most of them can’t achieve their full iconic bad guy status due to Bruce Wayne still being a couple of growth spurts short of donning the cape and the cowl, but the latest big bad guy has emerged in all his glory as of the most recent episode. Desperate husband Victor Fries has become Mr. Freeze, and he looks intense.
For those of us who knew anything about Batman’s gallery of rogues, Victor Fries almost certainly wasn’t going to be dead after only three episodes and before he even had his transformation, but seeing Mr. Freeze in the very pale flesh was still something of a surprise. Gotham really went all out on perfecting the look of Mr. Freeze.
In a tragic twist on the traditional “lab accident” method of gaining powers, Victor Fries has gotten his freezing abilities thanks to a suicide attempt following the death of his wife Nora. He clearly still needs some time to figure out how to harness his powers, but his white hair and icy blue eyes are enough to send chills down the spine. Pun only slightly intended.
Actually, part of what has made Victor’s transformation so intense was the distinct lack of puns and winks to the audience. Plenty of viewers will only know the character of Mr. Freeze from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal in the awful Batman & Robin in 1997. Nathan Darrow’s performance on Gotham was been much more serious and scarier. He feels like a real character rather than a caricature, which is quite an accomplishment for a man whose alias is "Mr. Freeze."
Of course, he’s now a real character whose ideal temperature for living is twenty degrees below zero, but his development over the last couple of episodes has turned him into such a compelling villain that suspending disbelief for his sake won’t exactly be a chore.
Mr. Freeze’s look is even more effective when taking Victor Fries’ appearance into account. Prior to his transformation, Victor was one of the most normal-looking of the bad guys on Gotham. He didn’t have Jerome’s creepy grin or Ed’s unsettling gaze or even Fish Mooney's over-the-top mannerisms. Victor was a man with above-average intelligence who also happened to have an above-average drive to break the law and murder a bunch of people to try to save his wife. The poetic justice of his new look after going on his freezing spree through the streets of Gotham works.
Now that Mr. Freeze has had his transformation and is stashed safely away under Indian Hill with Hugo Strange looking to cultivate his powers, it’s only a matter of time before he emerges to terrorize Gotham City once more. To catch all of the villains who show up in the meantime, be sure to tune in to Gotham on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.