Gotham S02E13 “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” REVIEW

Gotham S02E13 “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” REVIEW

stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on Channel 5, Mondays, 10pm
Writer: Seth Boston
Director: Eagle Egilsson

Essential Plot Points:

• Ace Chemicals

  • Jim and Harv answer a call about a robbery at Ace Chemicals. They find frozen GCPD officers and missing canisters of liquid helium. Nearby are some more frozen victims. Victor has written FREE MY WIFE on the ice surrounding them.
  • MEANWHILE, AT STATELY WAYNE MANOR!

• Lee

  • Lee comes to see Bruce. She’s concerned about how he is after the kidnapping. She’s more concerned when she realises he’s got a solid lead on his parents’ killer and is lying to her about whether or not he plans to kill them. Worse still he feels more alive than he ever has before…

• Bruce

  • MEAHWILE, AT THE GCPD

• Barnes

  • Captain Barnes is VERY not cool (Ha! HA! Sorry) with Victor demanding Nora’s release. Instead of keeping her at the hospital, he opts to secure her at Arkham. That way they have more control of the environment and fewer people will be in danger. Plus if they advertise the fact they can get Victor there and have a good chance of containing him. This is very nearly a very good idea. As long as Lee’s okay with it.
  • Lee totally isn’t okay with it. Jim does it anyway, moving her patient and her to Arkham. Because he’s a jerk. Also police work.
  • MEANWHILE, AT INDIAN HILL!
  • Hugo Strange tries and fails to remove some A16 serum from one of Victor’s patients. Ms Peabody informs him that the police want Nora transferred there and he’s delighted. The solutions to their problems are coming to them.
  • MEANWHILE, AT THE DOCKS!

• Victor

  • Victor continues his charming habit of talking to victims as he tests out freeze grenades. He hears the news report about Nora, immediately deduces it’s a trap because he’s, y’know, awake and sets off anyway.

• Ice Grenade

  • MEANWHILE, AT INDIAN HILL!

• Penguin treatment

  • Penguin is being treated. It’s not going well. As he recovers from the weird, seemingly VR-related therapy Strange is putting him through, he spots Jim and Harv. They’ve arrived with Nora and Penguin flags Jim down desperate to tell him the truth. Jim blows him off. Because Jim is a jerk.

• Penguin dragged away

  • Penguin responds by screaming that Jim killed Galavan and he covered it up. On camera. With Hugo Strange watching. This may be important later…
  • MEANWHILE AT STATELY WAYNE MANOR!

• Bruce and cockneyman

  • Alfred and Bruce clash over Bruce’s new-found determination. Alfred finally tells him that he has information on Patrick “Matches” Malone, the man who killed Bruce’s parents. He will pass this on but only on the condition Bruce lets Alfred kill Malone. Bruce agrees and Alfred gives him the file.
  • MEANWHILE AT ARKHAM!

• Victor springs Nora

  • The GCPD has set up roadblocks and Lee is tending to her patient when a van crashes the gate. The driver was frozen to the wheel and used as a distraction. Victor breaks in and is guided through the facility by Strange. Strange also stops the cops getting to Victor. Aside from Jim who may be a jerk but has serious track and field skills.
  • Strange persuades Victor to leave him a vial of A16 in return for a getaway car. Victor then retrieves Nora and Lee volunteers to go as a hostage. They escape despite Jim’s best efforts.
  • MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE GCPD!
  • Jim and Harv continue to do actual police work. They figure out that Victor can freeze Nora anywhere but he can’t keep her frozen. He needs the pods that haven’t been moved from his lab. He’s going home.
  • MEANWHILE, AT THE FRIES HOUSE!
  • Nora begs Victor to let her die but he refuses. She then gets him out of the room and quietly switches the A16 solution in his gun for an earlier variant. She does this while simultaneously trying to get Lee to escape and distracting her from the fact her patient is self-euthanising. Nora is officially the most badass Gotham resident we meet this week.

• Victor and Nora say goodbye

  • Victor returns, they say goodbye and he freezes her.
  • MEANWHILE, AT STATELY WAYNE MANOR!
  • Selina breaks in and Bruce not only spots her but asks her to help him get a gun to kill Malone. She tells him everything will change but that’s what he’s banking on. She agrees to help.

• Bruce and Selina

  • MEANWHILE AT THE FRIES HOUSE

• Nora shatters

  • Nora fragments. Victor loses it, sobbing as he realises his wife killed herself to end the awful cycle they were trapped in. The GCPD arrive and sensibly play it tactfully. Victor sends Lee out to tell them he’s going to cooperate then detonates the serum inside his own suit. He freezes in place as Jim arrives.
  • MEANWHILE AT THE GRIMMEST EPISODE OF AT HOME WITH LEE AND JIM

• Lee and Jim fight

  • Jim reveals that Fries died at Arkham. The pair of them then get into an argument which involves Jim blaming his pregnant fiancé for basically everything. Jim Gordon, jerk.
  • MEANWHILE, AT INDIAN HILL!

• Mr Freeze

  • Victor wakes up despite being dead. He’s in a temperature-controlled room. Strange informs him the serum altered him and he can now only survive at low temperatures. But they’ve made some modifications to his suit and they could do with his help…
  • The camera pans back from Victor’s room to a series of stasis pods. In one of them is Victor Galavan. Still dead.
  • For now…

• Galavan

Review:

This is pretty great. Boston’s script does what the show so often fails to do and ties three or four disparate plot points together in a way that makes actual sense. Strange running Arkham, where Nora is moved to and Jim must visit is a brilliant way to move three big plotlines along at once. It also emphasises just how unsafe Gotham is. They’ve gone from an evil mayor to an evil, if magnificently bearded, head of the local Asylum. And as usual, Detective Jerkface has no idea there’s a problem. Kudos to Ben Mackenzie too for showing us the jerk side of Gordon even as he’s in the middle of being an action hero.

The Jim and Lee plot moves front and centre here and it brings a welcome focus on Morena Baccarin with it. She’s always been one of the best elements of the cast and here she shines. The scenes she has with Kristin Hager as Nora are especially great as Lee realises her fiancé is one bad day away from being Victor Fries. Or, it being Jim, maybe a bad coffee break.

She also gets some great scenes with Bruce this week and together they give us a pretty harsh lesson in just how bad things are in Gotham. The two men Lee speaks to this week are a profoundly traumatised teenager who all but tells her he’s going to commit a murder and her idiot fiancé. I hope the show isn’t building up to killing her off but seeing her work out how to navigate Gotham’s emotional minefield is really compelling.

Victor kills himself

As is the Mr Freeze plot. Nathan Darrow and Kristin Hager are given an impossible task and hit the bullseye on it. In two episodes they make us care about Victor and Nora, show us the good in Victor as well as the bad and the love that defines both of them. Freeze is an often-overlooked villain but Darrow’s version, playing like a floppy haired desperate Reed Richards, is one of the all-time greats. We look forward to seeing him again, lousy wig and all.

This is the strongest episode of Gotham in ages. This is what the show is capable of and what we need to see so much more of; clever, well-structured stories about the worst city in America and the people desperate enough to protect it. Or at least, protect it until they get caught…

The Good:

Free my widfe

  • This is a beautifully shot show. We should say that every week because, seriously, even the most Godawful episode looks amazing.
  • Lee checking up on Bruce is a small but wonderful thing. Patient after-care! People remembering what happened in previous episodes! Consistency! Nicely done, Gotham!
  • See also Harv and Jim continuing to do actual police work with actual deductions!
  • Also, also, the Arkham idea IS dumb as a box of rocks who failed their rock exams but at least they say so on screen!
  • Also, also, also, this episode has plots crossing over at the same location! THREE OF THEM! HAVE A COOKIE, GOTHAM! Seriously this is the most tightly-plotted this show has been in ages. Very nicely done.
  • It’s a little touch but we love that everyone (aside from this week’s luckless Jimshirts) hit by Victor’s freeze ray is probably fine given he may well have switched to A16 solution.
  • Another nice touch is that the lock Victor freezes shut, and makes brittle, is really easily kicked down by Detective Jerkface.
  • Victor’s new freeze armour is both immensely dorky and utterly magnificent.
  • “I believe people can be two things at once. Don’t you think so?”
    “…Yes they can.” Morena Baccarin just nails everything she’s given this week. Even the really stupid moment with Barbara has way more emotional weight than it should. The little hesitation here, as she realises just how alike Victor and Jim are, is heartbreaking.
  • “Is that a truthful answer?”
    “It’s the answer I’m giving you.”
    “What happened to Honest Bruce?”
    “That’s a very good question. I guess that’s the Other Bruce.” Holy wow the Bruce scenes are amazing these days. David Mazouz’s glacial calm is immensely unsettling and absolutely compelling.
  • “Sense? It’s a lunatic asylum filled with crazy people!”
    “You got any better ideas?!”
    “…No.” Good boy, Harv. You tried. That’s what counts.
  • “This is the rational way to go.” Sure it is, Detective JERKFACE.
  • “I’m envious of the bond you had.” Lee’s gradual realisation Jim is very bad for her is heartbreaking but is actually some of the smartest writing this show has produced to date.
  • “I need you to get me a gun.”
    “You won’t ever be the same.”
    “That’s what I’m counting on.” Every Bruce moment these days is great but this is a real standout.
  • “I wish you hadn’t put our baby at risk.” Thanks for nothing Detective Mansplain! You SUCK!

The Bad:

  • The Strikeforce sharpshooter whistles down to Jim and Harv. Because the GCPD’s My First Police Band Radio set clearly hasn’t shipped yet.
  • Lee slapping the comatose Barbara and calling her a bitch is an amazingly stupid moment. Yes she hates her, yes Barbara put her through Hell but Lee’s a doctor. Her job is to look after sick people not look after the ones she likes and slap the ones she doesn’t. Completely jarring and out of character.
  • Victor’s wig at the end of the episode is hilarious. Nice contact lenses though.

 

The Random:

Strange watches

  • What the Hell is Strange doing to his patients? That looked an awful lot like a retooled VR rig of some sort.
  • Ace Chemicals is something of a Gotham landmark. Arkham Knight players will have driven the Batmobile around a version of it recently.

Review by Alasdair Stuart


 

Read our other Gotham reviews

 

 

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