Title: Gotham “A Dead Man Feels No Cold”
Air Date: March 7th, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action
Gotham kicked off its mid-season premiere on a high note by introducing two fantastic new villains and continuing to build upon the major events of the fall finale. Both Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow) and Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong) dominated whatever scenes they were in, and while that energy around the character is still present, “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” was not as successful of an episode. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great elements but it felt like a mixed bag of quality throughout.
One of the biggest problems that Gotham has always suffered from is us as the audience having the knowledge that these staple villains will live to see another day. Yes, Gotham has killed off some characters such as Maroni in hopes of changing the dynamic of the world in hopes of throwing viewers off. Yet, they have never taken the leap and killed off a major, staple villain of the series which only hindered what could be a very dramatic scene this week. Fries’ death was an interesting explanation for why Mr. Freeze is required to live in sub-zero temperatures but didn’t hit the emotional mark it was supposed too. That doesn’t mean Nora (Kristen Hager) swapping out the chemicals wasn’t a fantastic way to end her stint on Gotham. I’m curious how this will develop further, especially since Freezes primary motivation in the comics is saving his wife, one has to wonder where they will take his character next.
Sadly, the makeup for Fries after his attempted suicide was fairly rough, as those giant bulging blue veins across his face looked just tacked on… Also, I am not sure if he’d even actually have hair after be exposed to such extreme temperatures. That end reveal at Indian Hill sparked up far more questions than answers because that was obviously Jerome in one of those tubes right? I mean he has always been the favorite for becoming Joker so maybe this is the experiment that turns him into the crazed clown. This is obvious wild speculation, but the little tease at the end has certainly caught my interest. Side note, how the hell did know one notice Victor basically freezing part of a river? Wouldn’t a giant frozen portion of the river be a dead giveaway that he is clearly working or has built something powerful? His suit did look pretty awesome and seeing him in action during his raid on Arkham Asylum was not as cheesy as it could have been.
Speaking of Arkham however, it’s nice to see that Hugo Strange has a far larger role, this time, around. Though Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) was not utilized as much, it’s nice to see that Gotham has finally broken their habit of trying to work a Penguin story into every episode. Strange’s manipulation of the entire event was interesting to watch play out, despite the fact that Gordon conveniently slipped through just fast enough to not be locked in a hallway. I’m curious how much of Strange’s backstory and personality is going to develop because so far he is probably the most cartoonishly evil character this series has ever had. It also doesn’t help that he has a menacing assistant as well, who clearly going to be killed by Penguin down the road.
In fact, Hugo and Fries weren’t the only characters getting some much-needed development as Leslie (Morena Baccarin) got a fair amount of screentime. Whether it was smart or not to actually accompany Nora to Arkham is up for debate, I am glad she is not just a useless love interest to Gordon (Ben McKenzie). This was always one of my major complaints with Barbara (Erin Richards) as she really didn’t serve much of a purpose to the story as a whole when she was dating Jim. “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” did a fantastic job of highlight why she is such a fantastic character and love interest for Jim because she is not afraid to stand up to Gordon. It’s great to see that even in the face of danger she never breaks down to just being a damsel in distress.
Finally, Bruce and Alfred returned to us after not showing up in last week’s episode. Their relationship and seeing the lengths that Alfred is willing to go for Bruce has always been interesting to watch. It’s pretty obvious that Alfred is more than fine with killing for Bruce, but it’s going to be interesting to see exactly how the inevitable conflict with Matches Malone (One of Batman’s many aliases in the comics) will transpire. Especially given Bruce is exceptionally determined to pull the trigger himself, despite never showing any signs of actually being willing to kill someone. Regardless of what happened to his parents, it has always been a bit odd that Bruce’s first instinct is to go straight for bloodshed. This is only enhanced by the fact that Alfred is so clearly willing to kill the man for Bruce, which feels like a betrayal to the character’s entire purpose. I get in some perverse way this is protecting Bruce, but it seems to be sending all the wrong moral messages to someone whose character is so clearly defined on the topic of killing.
With that all being said, “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” was a generally solid episode with only a few minor hiccups throughout. While I am not exactly sure where this series is going, especially with that massive reveal at the end, but it certainly looks grim for Jim. It would be nice if the show did not just squeeze what should be a rather large development for Bruce/Alfred in the middle of another story arc trying to wrap up. Thankfully the confrontation with Fries, Hugo Strange’s direct interaction with the story, and some great developments with Leslie helped keep Gotham on its feet this week.
- Characters: Both Strange and Leslie received some good development while Fries had a sound conclusion to his story arc. At least for now. However, the odd choices that Bruce and Alfred are making seem complete out of character for them both. It was certainly an odd balance this week around.
- Cinematography: Nothing especially spectacular or standout this week around. Though Arkham certainly came off as nothing less than intimidating, the cinematography was just average.
- Story: It’s great to see that Hugo Strange severed a larger purpose, this time, around, along with teasing us with the future of Indian Hill. The Bruce Wayne story didn’t exactly pan out in any meaningful way and Victor Fries took center stage once more. Overall the story’s pacing was up and down at times but ended on a rather strong note.
- Acting: Another solid showing from the cast and guest stars with very little problems at all.
- Solid Conclusion To Victor Fries Story
- Leslie Standing up to Gordon
- Strange Feels More Important To The Plot
- Seriously Was That Jerome!?
- Alfred Just Willing To Kill For Bruce
- Strange Still Needs Some Development
- Missed Emotional Moments
A recent graduate of Arcadia University, Collin MacGregor is a freelance video editor and writer. He covers video games, television, and film for The Nerd Stash. Collin currently is the head film/television reviewer for the site.