Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS] of Gotham Episode 12: “Wrath of the Villains: Mr. Freeze”
Well, Gotham is back and with it, we have two new major threats to the sanctity of Gotham City. Before the episode dove into the new baddies, it tied a neat little bow around the Theo Galavan business. Most of the tension of the first part of the episode dealt with Gordon’s guilt over his part of the murder of Galavan. Gordon was grilled by Harvey Dent and it looked like Gordon was back in the good graces of the GCPD until the Penguin was arrested. Cobblepot didn’t rat on Gordon and we are off to some new plotlines right away.
First, we have the Penguin in Arkham plot which seems like a retread of both last season when Fish Mooney was imprisoned by those body snatchers and earlier this season when Barbara was locked in Arkham. Not a lot of new ground here but anything the Penguin does is always a joy; combine his imprisonment with the coming of D.B. Wong’s take on Hugo Strange, and you have something interesting. The Penguin locked up deal could have felt tired but with some new elements in place, I must say I am looking forward to seeing where it all goes.
Wong is perfect as Strange! He has this unsettling Joseph Mengele vibe and, despite the ethnicity switch, still looks like he stepped right out of the comic. Penguin is indeed a fan favorite and now, under Strange’s care, everyone’s most beloved spree-killing career criminal may face his greatest challenge.
Not so good was Butch’s new role as Gotham’s leading mob boss. For some reason, Butch is now Trap-Jaw from He-Man and is cozying up to Tigress. It’s all over the top camp and silly and probably needs to end very soon. Seriously guys, a drill arm? Really?
Mister Freeze’s intro was part camp and part horror. When it worked, it was like an effective David Cronenberg riff. For example, the scenes in Freeze’s lab were particularly effective but the later scenes of Freeze’s victims shattering and dying just felt ill-conceived and mean spirited. The episode seemed like it couldn’t decide whether it wanted the viewer to feel sympathy or horror for Freeze because there wasn’t enough plot acrobatics or subtleties to make anyone feel both.
We get some good Nygma stuff this week as the future Riddler gains more ego and confidence but Gotham remains an uneven and hastily conceived crapshoot with sparks of brilliance.
And this week, that brilliance’s name was Hugo Strange.