Fox’s Gotham returns in a big bad way tonight with “Mr. Freeze”, an episode that promises to properly introduce one of Batman’s oldest, coldest, and most enduring villains. The DC Comics drama adaptation also ups the antagonistic ante from their “Rise of the Villains” theme in the first half of Season 2 to the second half’s “Wrath of the Villains.” That aggressive language does not bode well for Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), and company.
Nathan Darrow makes his first extended appearance as Victor Fries, aka Mr. Freeze, after briefly popping up in costume at the end of the show’s midseason finale. Though he longs to stay by the bedside of his ailing wife Nora (Kristen Hager), Victor is forced to turn from a career in science to a life of crime by circumstances beyond his control. Our own Christina Radish had a chance to chat with Darrow about his villainous portrayal, but if you’d like to get caught up on all things Mr. Freeze, then you’re in the right place. Check out our primer below:
Originally appearing as Mr. Zero in “Batman” #121 in 1959 as the creation of Bob Kane, David Wood and Sheldon Moldoff, the infamous Rogues Gallery villain was eventually renamed Mr. Freeze during his rise to popularity on the 1960s live-action show, Batman. Perhaps his most beloved recreation to date came in the 1990s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series, in which his origin story was told in Paul Dini’s “Heart of Ice” episode. This story took Mr. Freeze out of the realm of “joke” villains and into the more serious category of formidable foes while also setting the tone of the animated series. (We need not mention the character’s diamond-powered chrome-and-blue-neon suit worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin.)
A brilliant scientist and expert in the field of cryonics/cryogenics/cryopreservation, Victor Fries dabbled with freezing animals during his youth before he was sent off to learn discipline at a strict boarding school. In college, he met the love of his life and future wife in Nora, who would soon contract a fatal and incurable disease. Since Fries was working on a freeze ray at the time, he tries to use it on Nora in order to put her into a state of cryopreservation, but an interruption from Fries’ boss results in an explosion. Nora is killed and Victor is bathed in cryogenic chemicals which lower his core body temperature and force him to wear a cryo-suit in order to survive. The solitary scientist-turned-villain prefers to avoid alliances with other villains and is happy to freeze anyone who crosses his path, including the Batman, with his enhanced weaponry and super-powered suit.
The New 52 version of Mr. Freeze sees the man’s fascination with sub-zero temperatures begin in his childhood after his mother falls through a frozen lake. The cold allowed her to survive until help arrived, but also left her in constant pain, which Fries cures by … pushing her back into a lake. In another departure, Nora was never Fries’ wife but rather a woman put into cryopreservation due to an incurable disease during an earlier era who becomes the object of Fries’ obsession as a researcher. Batman and Mr. Freeze clash when the villain attempts to steal away with Nora’s body after Bruce Wayne orders the project shut down due to Fries’ unhealthy infatuation. We’ll find out which origin Gotham’s Mr. Freeze takes inspiration from when he debuts in earnest on tonight’s hour.
In the meantime, check out some video featurettes teasing all of Gotham’s wrathful villains along with the upcoming episode, “Mr. Freeze”:
Check out a bunch of images of Gotham’s version of Mr. Freeze along with new images from tonight’s episode below: