Gotham is about to learn that two evils don’t cancel each other out.
“The Wrath of the Villains” continued tonight with “A Dead Man Feels No Cold,” and while it mostly served to complete Mr. Freeze’s origin story—yes, Victor Fries is dead, and Mr. Freeze is officially here to stay—it also brought together the two big bads of the season: Mr. Freeze and Hugo Strange. Now that these two are working together, no one is going to be safe from whatever they’re planning. Let’s recap how this diabolical duo got together, shall we?
Now that Victor Fries knows his A-16 formula works, he was intent on getting all the chemical components he needed to freeze his wife Nora. Gordon, Bullock, and the GCPD tried to capture him before he stole the canisters he needed from a chemical plant, but he escaped and left the cops a note: “Free my wife.”
While the GCPD was holding Nora in their headquarters, her health was fading fast. Barnes knew that the GCPD couldn’t secure Gotham General Hospital, so he decided to bring Nora to Arkham to lure Victor out in the open while not putting any civilians in harm’s way.
Hugo Strange, meanwhile, was thrilled to hear from the GCPD about Nora getting delivered to Arkham’s medical wing. He knew that Victor would come for her, and seeing as how he wants to get Victor’s formula on cryogenically freezing people for his own experiments, that meant he would get exactly what he wanted, delivered right to his door. And if Strange is happy, we should all be afraid. He’s slowly revealing himself to be one sick and twisted dude, and B. D. Wong is bringing such gleeful deliciousness to the role. Talk about perfect casting, huh?
When Victor heard on the radio that Nora was getting moved to Arkham, he recognized it as a trap immediately. But armed to the teeth with his freeze gun and ice grenades, he wasn’t worried. He was confident he could defeat anyone who stood in his way.
When Nora was dropped off at Arkham, Lee was mildly amused but mostly shocked to see that Nora would be sharing the medical wing with none other than Barbara Keane. She even got to throw some shade at the comatose girl before she got Nora to confide in her about still loving Victor despite what he’s done to save her. Is that jealousy we’re sensing in Lee, since she knows her relationship is fraught with problems as Gordon continues to lie to her about Galavan?
Down in Indian Hill, Strange planned to use Penguin as the face for his new rehabilitation program. Penguin started freaking out, and tried to refuse to take part in any of his experiments—but it was far too late. He made his bed, and now he has to lie in it. He got strapped into an electro-shock type of chair, and whatever it did to him completely addled his mind. He had no idea who he was or what was happening to him. If that happened after only one session in the chair, where is this going?
Bullock and Jim noticed Penguin playing Duck, Duck, Goose when they dropped off Nora Fries at Arkham and to say they were shocked to see him like that would be an understatement. Later, he tried to blackmail Gordon into helping him escape the “mental torture,” but Gordon just watched him get dragged away. Not good: Strange overheard Penguin saying that Gordon killed Galavan, and that he lied for him. What is he going to do with that information? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
While Bullock and Gordon staked out the front of Arkham waiting for Victor, he froze his way through a wall and slipped into the building easily. While watching on the monitors, an entertained Strange locked all the cops inside a hallway, but Gordon got free before the doors closed. Strange gave Victor keys to a getaway car in exchange for one cartridge of his cryonic formula. Knowing that was his only way out, Victor left Strange a cartridge and made his way to his wife. He tried to convince Gordon and Lee to let Nora go with him, and he promised he would turn himself in as soon as he helped save his wife. Victor locked Gordon in a closet and took Lee with him to wheel Nora out. They escaped in the car Strange left for him, while Gordon and Bullock realized Victor needed a cryo-tube to freeze his wife, and the only one available was back at the Fries house in the basement.
While Victor got ready to freeze Nora back at home, she asked him to just let her go—she didn’t want to wake up to a life without him, be it because he goes to prison or dies before she’s cured. But he wouldn’t listen, so she switched the canister to an older formula in the freeze gun without Victor or Lee realizing, causing her to decompose after he froze her. While watching her die—knowing that Nora did that to herself—something broke inside of Victor. He sent Lee out to the police that had surrounded his place and unhooked a tube in his suit, freezing himself, leaving Gordon to discover both frozen corpses when he infiltrated the basement.
Later that night, Gordon got a call from Strange letting him know that Victor died in Arkham’s infirmary after they couldn’t revive him. But that’s totally a lie, since he woke up later in a cell in Indian Hill with glowing blue eyes and icy white hair. He had been absorbing his own formula over the past few months during his experiments, and it lowered his core body temperature to the point where he can now only survive in severe hypothermic conditions. Anything above freezing would kill him. Strange told him he’s working on his suit (modifying it so that he can walk around normally), but for now, he’s stuck in his ice box cell, contemplating his new life. Mr. Freeze is born! We also got a quick shot of Galavan’s corpse in one of Strange’s tubes in his lab. Seriously, what is this dude planning?!
Meanwhile, Lee tried to convince Bruce to move on from finding his parents’ killer, but he’s dead set on getting closure for himself. After Alfred made him leave Gotham for a month to recuperate from the events in the midseason finale, he was ready to resume his search for his parents’ killer. Alfred got a friend in the GCPD to dig through files for an M. Malone, and discovered someone named Patrick “Matches” Malone with a pretty thorough and colorful record. Bruce wanted to kill Malone as soon as they found him, but Alfred made him promise not to, since he was too young to have a death on his hands. Alfred will kill him instead—but only after they got him to talk about who hired him.
Later, when Selina came to visit Bruce, he confided in her about Malone. He asked Selina to get him a gun so he can kill Malone when the time came instead of Alfred. She tried to talk him out of it, knowing he won’t be the same after he takes a life. “That’s what I’m counting on,” he told her.
What do you think of Bruce’s dark journey that begun in this episode? How terrified should Gotham be now that Mr. Freeze and Hugo Strange are working together? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.