Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Batwoman Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 3 - Freeze

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


An unfortunate incident in downtown Gotham suggests that Mr. Freeze's signature technology has fallen into the wrong hands, placing Ryan in danger as tensions build between her, Ryan and Mary. Meanwhile, Ryan's confrontation with Jada Jet leads to an intriguing offer from her son, Marquis.


The Batman: The Animated Series episode Heart of Ice (background for Arrowverse version of Mr. Freeze)


Granting that Gotham City is hell on Earth, it still seems odd that Nora Fries, a victim of some form of dementia after being cryogenically frozen for two decades, would be placed in the same asylum as the likes of Scarecrow and the Riddler, particularly when she had a sister working for the police who was willing to care for her.

The temperature regulator on the Bat-Suit needing to be activated remotely rather than kicking in automatically seems like a major design flaw.


The fight scene among the pipes at Ace Chemicals is fantastic, well-shot and well-blocked.

Bat Trivia

Reference is made to the Loeb Bridge as a landmark. This is likely a nod to Jeph Loeb, the Batman writer who wrote The Long Halloween and Hush.

Mr. Freeze first appeared in Batman #121 (February 1959) using the alias Mr. Zero. His name was changed to Mr. Freeze when he was adapted for the 1966 Batman TV show, which also gave him the unlikely name of Dr. Art Schivel. This was retconned for the modern age in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice," which gave Mr. Freeze the name Dr. Victor Fries and a tragic backstory tied to his efforts to save the life of his beloved wife, Nora. This has been the definitive origin of Mr. Freeze in most adaptations since.

The Arrowverse version of Mr. Freeze has a similar background to the one in Heart of Ice, save that this version of Victor Fries died before he had the chance to save his wife.

Photos of Cassandra Jean Amell (who played Nora Fries in A709are used to show Nora Fries as she looked before she was cryogenically frozen. She is the wife of Stephen Amell, who played Oliver Queen on Arrow.

The cryochamber fight takes place at Ace Chemicals. This is well known as the same chemical factory responsible for creating The Joker in most tellings of his origin story.

Mary's clinic is said to be on the corner of Rucka and Bennett. This is likely a nod to writers Greg Rucka and Marguerite Bennett. The former is the co-creator of the Kate Kane Batwoman. The latter had a lengthy run on the Batwoman comic.


According to Luke, the tanks Mr. Freeze used to hold his custom liquid nitrogen formula were compact, custom-built vacuum flasks that made the contents more concentrated and seemingly less dangerous than it truly was.

Luke says that WayneTech uses injectable nanobots in their research all the time.

Mary determines Alice is faking being sick based on her blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels being normal.

A typical cryochamber can freeze a person but they'll die of hypothermia in about 10 minutes. 

Nora says her husband's formula can effectively stop time and keep a person from aging, but once they thaw out time catches up with them. This is why she looked 34 three years earlier and now appears to be in her late 70s/early 80s. By her best guess, she'll look 122 by Christmas.

The Bat-Suit has a temperature regulator but it froze up before Luke could access it.

Dialogue Triumphs

Nora: I am so sick of people sacrificing their lives for me... my husband, my sister, the research, the lost years, the desperation. For what? So I could be trapped all over again? 
Alice: So you want me to kill you? Could you be a worse hostage? 

Mary: I was being nice to you. 
Alice: Nice? You think I want... nice? You think I want this stupid arrangement with Batwoman, who I can't even stand, and little miss judgy two-shoes being nice? 
(Alice laughs madly and then sighs, depressed.)
Alice: It's no wonder I'm losing my freaking mind. 
(Alice leaves the room and slams the door.)
I am... so sorry about that. Um... believe it or not, she's my sister.
Nora: Heh. You certainly fight like it, but I've got to say I understand her.
Mary: You understand the woman who just had you at knifepoint?
Nora: I follow the news. She's been trapped her whole life, and now she wants her freedom.
Mary: Does your sister know that that's what you want?
Nora: Dee's wasted too many years of her life trying to fix me. I love her too much to tell her the truth.


As the episode opens, a boy named Evan accidentally opens a tank of Mr. Freeze's special Liquid Nitrogen formula, freezing a city bus solid.

Evan says he found the tank under the Loeb Bridge.

Mr. Freeze is said to be dead on a news report.

Ryan has a meeting with Jada Jet to finish their conversation from the end of 302. However, Jada had no real interest in talking and agreed to meet with Ryan only to tell her that she doesn't care to have a relationship with her and will not hesitate to destroy her or Wayne Enterprises if Ryan doesn't stay out of her business and life.

Ryan bitterly says she just wanted to know who her birth mother was and now she knows Jada isn't worth her time.

The meeting is interrupted by Marquis Jet - the Executive VP of Jeturian Industries and Jada Jet's son.

Sophie didn't tell Ryan that Jada had another child because she thought it would only complicate things.

Alice confesses to telling Ryan about her biological mother still being alive, so Luke and Ryan now know that Jada is Ryan's biological mother.

Alice tries to call in sick, claiming she feels like spiders are crawling in her veins since getting injected with tracker nanites.

Luke says it's actually best Alice sit this mission out as the cannister was tagged by the GCPD at 10:07 am that morning and they probably don't want her going on a mission to burgle the police station.

Ryan breaks into the GCPD evidence locker, only to discover the Freeze tank was stolen.

The thief is an elderly woman, who takes the tank to Nora Fries - Mr. Freeze's wife. The thief says they can finish what Victor started.

Both women are abducted by a gang led by a woman.

Luke identifies the thief as Dee Smithy - a processing clerk for the GCPD who called in sick that morning for the first time in 20 years and who is Nora Fries' sister.

Luke says that Victor Fries had six doctorates, yet insisted on being called Mr. Freeze.

Luke makes reference to Captain Cold from The Flash, noting that he wasn't a real Captain.

Nora Fries suffered from McGregor's Syndrome, a lung disease that had no cure at the time of her diagnosis.  Other victims of McGregor's Syndrome in the Arrowverse have included the Clock King (A214) and Francine West (F204) Nora was cryogenically frozen by her husband until a cure could be found and kept her in stasis using a special cryochamber and his patented freezing formula.

Victor died before Nora thawed out, after his formula finally wore off.

Nora apparently thawed out several years earlier and was given the cure for McGregor's Syndrome. However, she was so confused and disoriented after being locked away from the world for 20 years that she was locked in Arkham Asylum. She escaped in 2018 and had not been seen since. (This coincides with Nora Fries' cameo in A709 during the Elseworlds event.)

Marquis comes by Ryan's office and tells her that he figured out figured out she is his sister. He figured it out because his nannies gossiped and his mother disappeared for several months.

Marquis guesses Jada had an affair and knew her husband wasn't the father.

Ryan is one year younger than Marquis.

Marcus wants to partner with Ryan at Wayne Enterprises and prove that he can make it on his own. He says he suspects Ryan wants to show up Jada as well.

Ryan goes to Dee Smithy's house and finds evidence of a struggle and that Nora Fries was living there but that her McGregor's syndrome hadn't been cured.

Luke guesses that whoever came after Dee and Nora wanted the tank, which means they need a cryochamber. This leads Ryan to Ace Chemicals.

Dee gives the woman holding her and Nora hostage Victor Fries' notes and the tank, but the woman insists they should get the cryo chamber working.

Nora protests that she has no idea how Victor's technology worked and that when she went to college they didn't even teach science to women.

Ryan told Mary about Alice faking the letters from Jacob Kane.

Alice claims she has only been delusional that one time.

Alice broke into Mary's filing cabinet and knows that Luke is showing symptoms of PTSD.

Alice tells Mary she should keep this quiet from Ryan and says it is her place on the team to be silent until she's needed, pointing out that neither Kate, Ryan nor Luke ever went to her for help unless they needed something.

The gang leader says her client wanted the Freeze tank because they thought it would make them immortal.

Batwoman shows up and gets Nora Fries to run to Mary's clinic on Rucka and Bennett. 

Batwoman tries to fight the gang leader and is knocked out and locked inside the cryochamber.

Dee is forced to activate the chamber with Ryan inside it.

Ryan tells Luke to suit up and rescue Dee and not to worry about her.

Nora gets to clinic, where Alice takes her hostage after Mary examines her.

Alice threatens to kill Nora if Mary doesn't get the nanites out of her.

Nora tells Alice to go ahead and kill her because she's sick of people sacrificing to try and save her life when she never really got the chance to live.

Sophie takes over the comms in the Batcave and tells Ryan she's mad at her for getting her to search for her mom but turning to the rest of the team to discuss her feelings.

Sophie complains that Ryan judged her without really knowing her.

Luke saves Ryan.

Chasing after the thugs who kidnapped Dee, Ryan tells Sophie that it was clever of her to try and make her angry so she'd stay awake.

Luke accuses Sophie and Ryan of flirting in the middle of a chase.

The thugs blow up the bridge to try and stop the Batmobile.

Luke uses the Freeze formula to make an ice bridge so Ryan can finish the chase.

Luke puts the tank back in Batman's trophy case, saying there's not much left in it.

Luke says he fixed the glitches in the Bat-Wing suit.

Mary tells Ryan truth about Luke's PTSD and how he disabled the fail-safes in the suit rather than fix it properly.

Luke denies having PTSD and Ryan ignores Mary's warning.

Ryan decides to put the team first, as much as she likes the idea of having a brother, because of the damage Jada Jett could do to her found family.

Mary gets Nora some help for her problems and Dee agrees to let Nora live her life, however long that might be.

Nora notes that the park where she meets Mary was the same one she and Victor went to on their first date.

As the episode ends, a vine grabs Mary and pulls her into the undergrowth.

The Fridge Factor

Ryan gets knocked out way too easy, to set up the rush to rescue her in the second half of the episode.

The Killing Jokes

It's unclear just how Ryan could be knocked out in the first place given how tough the Bat-Suit is.

The Bottom Line

This episode leaves me cold, pun very much intended, as this is a flat episode despite some impressive action sequences. There's no real heart to it, despite being based around one of Batman's most emotionally stirring villains and unsurprisingly the best parts of the episode are the ones that take advantage of that conflict. Alas, all the other drama - Alice's madness, Luke's lying to Ryan, and the situation with the Jets - seems muted compared to that.

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