Spoilers for Gotham are below.
Gotham Season 1 was filled with central bad guys like Penguin and Fish Mooney, but the show didn’t hit its stride until it stopped the villain-of-the-week shenanigans and gave what would have been one-offs more time to shine in Gotham City's underworld. The creative team has nearly perfected that approach with Season 2, which already featured memorable villains like Jerome the proto-Joker and Theo Galavan. Gotham is finally back, and having watched the next several episodes, I’m happy to say that both the major antagonists Victor “Mr. Freeze” Fries and Hugo Strange expand the scope of the show and are excellent additions to this universe.
And that’s a damned good thing in and of itself, considering it’s been nearly three months since we last saw Jim Gordon murder Galavan after Penguin beat the shit out of him. While Gordon is dealing with the aftermath and Penguin’s imprisonment, B.D. Wong’s Hugo Strange is introduced as the mad genius (or something) at the head of Arkham Asylum’s Wacky Ass Science Division, and Nathan Darrow’s Victor Fries is brought in as the man who puts his dying wife’s future above all things. Each represents something Gotham does quite well, weird emotional drama and characters with questionable sanity.
Victor – who thankfully got a moment involving the pronunciation of his last name that invoked memories of Young Frankenstein – is obsessed with using cryogenics in an effort to save his wife’s life, much as he has since she was introduced to his story, and he’s thankfully not so much a raving madman as someone whose grief and panic is guiding his actions. And those actions happen to include freezing people, which isn’t exactly the most forgivable behavior to the GCPD, even if it doesn’t kill everyone. It had to be daunting to bring in a villain as iconic as Mr. Freeze and extract the proper amount of emotion, but it definitely works. Plus, it’s like 1,000% better than Batman & Robin’s version.
And who better to advance this kind of over-the-top science than Hugo Strange? While not as familiar to non-comic fans as other members of Batman’s rogues gallery, Strange is a fan-favorite of comic readers, and his experiments always end in something monstrously interesting. His presence on Gotham is no exception, and B.D. Wong nails the part of someone whose calm manner of speech is in direct opposition to the batshittery happening inside his head. He will be responsible for bringing characters back from the dead, which makes this yet another show where death isn't always permanent. Some audiences might not like that aspect, but it sits fine with me so long as they bring back the best of the bunch - Jerome 4 Life - and that Strange gets to delve into other forms of psycho science beyond just the villain resurrections.
So beyond just delivering two bad guys with enjoyable performances (as well as the also enjoyable characters tied to their plots), the introduction of Hugo Strange and Mr. Freeze also upped the ante for where Gotham can take its villains as far as powers and comic-based technology are concerned. Once you have pharmacists getting frozen and people coming back from the dead, all bets are off. Although I still don't understand how Clayface is going to happen, but I'm even more intrigued at this point.
Now with an even larger cast of baffling baddies, Gotham airs Monday nights on Fox.
Did You Enjoy Meeting Mr. Freeze And Hugo Strange?