In the winter premiere of Gotham┬áseason 2, titled “Wrath of the Villains: Mr. Freeze,” questions still linger surrounding Theo Galavan’s death. Gordon and Bullock track down a man who freezes his victims to death. Penguin takes up residence at Arkham where he meets a man destined to change his life, Hugo Strange.

With the second half of season 2, we’ve transitioned from “Rise of the Villains” to “Wrath of the Villains,” because they were all so cuddly before.

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Gordon’s Credibility is Questioned

The winter premiere opens a month after Gordon rescued Bruce Wayne and killed Theo Galavan. Theo’s body was recovered, and the fact that he was badly beaten and shot has Harvey Dent questioning Gordon on the events of that fateful night. Gordon sticks to the truth, right up until the point where he accompanied Penguin to the docks and pulled the trigger.

Without any evidence, Dent has no choice but to clear Gordon of all charges and dismiss the case. Gordon is reinstated, but Captain Barnes suspects there’s much more to the story than Gordon is admitting. When asked by Dent if the Captain believes his star detective, Barnes is non-committal.

The New “King of Gotham”

Penguin is on the run. He’s wanted for Theo’s murder, and his stint as the “King of Gotham” appears to be over not long after it started. Running things in Penguin’s absence is Butch, who is paid a visit by Tabitha. The last time we saw Tigress, she had kicked the crap out of her brother and jumped out a window with a parachute attached to her back, with Silver St. Cloud in tow.

Being on top can be a lonely place, so when a gorgeous vixen offers to partner up, it’s hard for a one-handed man to say no.

Another Villain Emerges

There’s no rest for the wicked, so while the stories of Tigress and Nygma and Penguin are far from over, there’s a new baddie in town. A GCPD officer responds to a report of an abduction. At the scene, she encounters a man who looks shifty and has no good reason for being there. The officer insists that he open the back of his van, and inside is a frozen body and a device that he quickly uses to freeze her where she stands, gun drawn.

Jim and Bullock are assigned the case, which is a homicide since, not shockingly, the cop did not survive the freezing process. They go to Nygma to learn a little bit more about the science of this odd crime.

Nygma tells them that the killer must be using supercooled liquid helium, one of the most effective substances in the world for rapid temperature reduction. Since the substance is extremely rare and expensive, Nygma expects that there can’t be more than one or two manufacturers in Gotham and offers to do some research.

Penguin is Apprehended

Gordon stays behind to speak to Nygma about Penguin, since Nygma did harbor the fugitive and never really disclosed the nature of their odd alliance. Nygma tells Gordon that he found Penguin dying in the woods and nursed him back to health. Penguin owed Nygma his life, so Ed had no reason not to believe the crime kingpin when he said he’d changed his evil ways. Wow, you could drive a truck through the holes in that story.

Their conversation is cut short when cheering erupts in the squad room. Captain Barnes has arrived with Penguin, and neither Nygma nor Gordon look pleased to see him. Barnes interrogates Penguin about the night Galavan was killed, starting right after Penguin knocked the Captain out with a vase. Penguin admits he took Galavan to the river and killed him. Penguin claims he’s not a criminal, just insane. Penguin is hedging his bets that he’ll be better off at Arkham than in jail.

Penguin backs up Gordon’s story, and Barnes tells Gordon he’s choosing to believe that’s the truth, but he makes it clear he’s trusting Gordon, who better not make a fool out of him.

Mr. and Mrs. Fries

Victor Fries, aka “Mr. Freeze” (Nathan Darrow), returns home. His wife is asleep and quite ill judging from the bevy of prescription bottles by her bedside. She remarks that he looks tired, and he blames it on work. “Mrs. Freeze” questions how things are going, and he tells her that while he can freeze her in order to stop the progression of her disease, he has yet to figure out a way to reanimate her. The one things the missus doesn’t know is that her husband isn’t experimenting on mice; he’s using human test subjects.

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Bullock and Gordon Follow a Lead

Nygma delivers as promised. There’s only one company in all of Gotham that produces liquid helium: Wayne Enterprises. Bullock also discovered that there have been three abductions in the past month, all tied to a blue van, same as their suspect’s.

Bullock and Gordon meet with Lucien Fox, who tells them that Wayne Enterprises used the liquid helium in their cryogenics program. There were some promising experiments being carried out in the program, but it was shut down two or three years ago. Thomas Wayne killed it along with a few other “odd” programs. Fox doesn’t know why, telling the detectives it was all kept pretty hush-hush.

Penguin Encounters Hugo Strange

Penguin is transferred to Arkham and immediately becomes an outcast among the assorted lunatics. This batch doesn’t looks as sinister as the Maniax, just your normal run-of-the mill nut jobs.

Penguin tries to assert himself, though he does nothing but incite a small-scale riot.

Another villain who will play a big part in the back half of the season is introduced, although viewers have heard of him before: Professor Strange. His full name is Hugo Strange (BD Wong), and he’s the Chief of Psychiatry at Arkham. Many of you will recognize Wong as the evil scientist from Jurassic World.

“Mr. Freeze” Loses His Cool

Things are grim at the Freeze home. In his basement laboratory — because all psychos do their worst deeds in their basements — Fries is trying to reanimate one of his subjects. Things look promising, but the man winds up melting into a grotesque pile of goo. Upstairs, his wife, Nora, has an attack that has her coughing up copious amounts of blood. Fries discovers that Nora has just used her last pill, and they are imperative to her continued survival.

Fries goes to the drugstore, but the pharmacist refuses to fill the prescription. He needs a refill order from the doctor. Given the urgency, Fries demands more pills, but the pharmacist refuses. Fries becomes confrontational and the pharmacist throws him out, but Fries promises that he’ll be back.

Fries makes good on his word and returns wearing a suit and goggles, toting his “freeze ray.” He ices the security guard and demand that the pharmacist give him the meds he needs for his wife, then he freezes him as well. The store is full of witnesses, and Fries tells them he will need some “help out.”

Bullock gets a call about the goings-on at the pharmacy, and he and Gordon rush to the scene where Fries is still loading bodies into his van. He takes off, and a car chase briefly ensues, but Bullock collides with the frozen body of the security guard, causing him to hit the brakes and allowing Fries to escape.

What Awaits Penguin?

It’s Strange’s policy to meet with all of the new inmates, and he questions if Penguin is feeling a bit stressed given all the recent trauma. Penguin considers Arkham a “pillow fight” compared to what he’s endured. Strange brings up the death of Theo Galavan, and Penguin shows zero remorse, stating that his only regret is that he could only kill the man once.

Strange looks forward to working with Penguin and assures him they have a number of intensive treatment programs at Arkham. He’s confident they’ll be able to rehabilitate Penguin.

A Scientific Breakthrough

Nora wakes up from a nap and goes searching for her husband. She makes her way into the basement and sees the frozen body of the pharmacist on a table.

Bullock finds Nora’s empty prescription bottle. A witness saw Fries throw it at the pharmacist during their argument. The cops descend on the Fries home, and Gordon and Bullock find Nora in the basement. All she can say is, “He told me they were mice.” They load Nora into a police car as Fries looks on from down the street.

Bullock and Gordon question Nora and threaten her with obstruction of justice. She admits that Victor did terrible things, but he did them to save her life so she won’t betray him.

Victor arrives at the police station asking to see Gordon. He tells another detective that he’s the man who’s been freezing people. A few others have decided to confess, so Fries is ushered to a bench to wait with the impostors. As he waits, the thawed-out pharmacist, who had been in the forensics lab, wanders out. The guy is just a little confused, but he does recognize Fries, so Victor makes a hasty exit before the cops can figure out what is going on. The bad news is his wife is still in custody; the good news is his experiment finally worked.

Hugo Strange heads to his own lab, where he’s given an update by his number two, Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins). We learn that Bridgit “Firefly” is not “cooperating” and that someone has solved the problem of post-cryogenic reanimation. News of the pharmacist has made the papers.

Strange is amazed. He’s been doing a bit of dabbling in this area himself with no success. Strange may be put out that he didn’t figure it out, but he is able to put his ego aside because this new development could prove very beneficial to whatever he’s cooking up.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)