Episode #084 - Deep Freeze
Original Airdate - November 26th, 1994 - Third Season Finale
Mr. Freeze is sprung from Arkham by aging billionaire Grant Walker, who
is looking to freeze the world and recreate it according to his
own design. Batman and Robin infiltrate the billionaire's underwater
city and combat both high-tech robots and Mr. Freeze himself, who has
decided to do Walker's bidding and cover the earth in a new ice age.
Screens by Bleu Unicorn
Pans by Bird Boy
Review by Robin III, Justin M.
Story by Paul Dini, Bruce W. Timm
Teleplay by Paul Dini
Directed by Kevin Altieri
Music Composed by Shirley Walker
Animation by Dong Yang Animation, Inc.
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Loren Lester as Robin
Michael Ansara as Mr. Freeze
Pat Fraley as Batmite
Daniel O'Herlihy as Grant Walker
William Sanderson as Karl Rossum
BATMITE: Greetings, Dynamic Duo! I'm your biggest fan!
ROBIN: What is it?
BATMITE GIVES ROBIN A BIG WET KISS ON THE CHEEK.
BATMITE: I just want to help!
HE SPASMS AND FALLS TO THE FLOOR.
BATMITE: --just want to help--just want to help--
BATMAN: Men like Walker are obsessed with getting their own way and they
don't let little things like the law stop them.
WALKER: You're practically immortal, my friend!
FREEZE: Yes, eternal life trapped in this wretched shell! What a
FREEZE: You want to life like this? Abandoned and alone? A prisoner in a
world you can see but never touch? Old and infirm as you are, I'd trade
a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day.
WALKER: I'm only speeding up what they were doing to themselves.
ROBIN: Brother, he's all heart, isn't he?
FREEZE: You may live forever, Grant Walker, but you mad dream dies now.
BATMAN: Let's go!
FREEZE: I'm staying with Nora.
BATMAN: Don't be a fool! This whole place is going under!
FREEZE: I won't lose her again.
BATMAN: There's nothing you can do for her; come with us!
BATMAN THROWS A ROPE AROUND FREEZE BUT HE BREAKS IT.
FREEZE: I am the least of your worries.
FREEZE FREEZES ROBIN SOLID.
FREEZE: We are together again, my love.
Review (Robin III): A good idea of using
Freeze's immortality to someone else's advantage. The Oceana aspect was
a bit James Bond-ish in a strange way, but it still worked in some ways
since it was the side-story. Grant Walker was a great villain in a Lex
Luthor sort of way, and Freeze was his normal cold self. Also,
appearances by Batmite, Krypto the Superdog, Streaky the Supercat and a
comic version of Mr. Mxyzptlk as Rossum's robots were hilarious to see
for comic fans!
The animation was the Adventures of Batman & Robin par, but Freeze
didn't look as good as he did in Heart Of Ice. Nora was also seen for
the first time, and looked much thinner and younger than expected from
the shadow of her in Heart Of Ice.
The final scene in which Freeze walks to Nora as if nothing was
exploding around him was excellent, especially the only line to her
before Oceana explodes: "We are together again, my love." It was a very
Review (Justin M.):
Question: What do get when you cross Batman, James Bond,
Walt Disney mythology, and robots?
Answer: One of the finest Batman: The Animated Series
episodes out there—Deep Freeze. That, or some sort of freakish Bat-Bond
Disney Robot Monster. But I digress.
It took a good 70 episodes for the writers to revisit good
old Mr. Freeze, but can you blame them? Paul Dini pretty much nailed what many
fans consider the best episode of Batman to date as early as episode #14 with
Heart of Ice. If they were going to bring back Freeze, it had to be with a
bang. Lucky for us, the episode doesn’t disappoint, and certainly holds up to
its previous venture into Freeze’s character.
I’m probably going to make a lot of enemies saying this,
but I may as well get it out there before I move on: I like Deep Freeze
more than Heart of Ice. Why? Well, first of all, the plot is just a lot
more fun to watch develop, while still managing to carry the emotional weight of
its predecessor. The story revolves around Batman investigating Victor Fries’
kidnapping from prison, ultimately leading him to take down megalomaniac theme
park mogul, Grant Walker, whose plans are nothing short of freezing all of
Sound ridiculous? It is. The premise alone might be enough
to scare off a viewer invested in the gritty realism of a Batman series—but
luckily the plot is handled with what, in my opinion, is an acerbic wit and
underhandedly sarcastic tone as it continuously takes shots at Walt Disney.
First off, Grant Walker’s character design looks an
awful lot like Mr. Disney, and his “vision of the future” is easily a
parallel to Disney’s own sometimes fanatical ideologies. In the episode, Walker
essentially builds Oceania—an enclosed city (Disneyland)—to protect the world
from what he considers to be the harsher realities of life. The parody doesn’t
end there: Walker mentions his Visioneers, a joke poking fun at Disneyland’s
ride Imagineers. And let’s not forget the end when Walker is ultimately encased
in an ice block, paralleling and parodying the myth that Walt Disney was
cryogenically frozen before death. Oh, and a personal favorite of mine is when
Walker, in true Disney fashion, makes sure to theme everything he’s got—this
apparently includes his underwater torpedoes, which are painted to look like
sharks. Much of the “silly factor” seems to derive from the parody, and it makes
the episode all the stronger.
But Grant Walker is not only interesting because of his
parallels with Walt Disney. He’s also a complex and interesting villain who
provides a wonderful foil to Mr. Freeze’s character. Here we have an old man who
is afraid of dying—something that many, if not all of us, can relate to. What we
can’t relate to is Walker’s cold and remorseless side: he’s willing to
kill an entire population of people to fulfill his mad dream.
“I'm only speeding up what
they were doing to themselves.” –Grant Walker
In the midst of seeking immortality he kidnaps the one man
who has seemed to achieve it: Mr. Freeze.
While Freeze and Walker seem very similar on a superficial
level, they are nothing short of polar opposites: Walker is cold and unfeeling
in his apparent willingness to take human lives, while Mr. Freeze is the
physical representation of a body and heart that has been frozen over, yet not
quite lacking a conscience. And while Walker seeks to achieve immortality, it
has been thrust upon Victor as a curse. It is only natural that the greedy
opportunist, Grant Walker, should fail in the end, while the tragic hero, Mr.
Ultimately, the episode shows that despite Freeze’s
apparent lack of emotions, he is much more capable of compassion than Grant
Walker, a man whose heart and soul are colder to begin with than Mr. Freeze’s
could ever be. It is only fitting that Walker seeks to completely transform
himself such that his inner nature is reflected by his external and physical
appearance. Freeze, on the other hand, is your typical Julia Roberts from
Pretty Woman type—a hooker, er, supervillain with a heart of gold. Well,
maybe not gold. Tarnsished silver, maybe?
Regardless, we are able to sympathize with Mr. Freeze even
more once the episode is finished, because for a man with no emotions, Freeze is
one of the most emotionally-driven characters in the entire series. From his
back story with Nora to his genuine fear and terror seen at the beginning of the
episode when kidnapped, we are constantly being given reasons to see Victor
Fries as more human than most of the Batman villains, both costumed or
otherwise. It is Mr. Freeze, not Batman, who saves the day.
But this is nothing new—the irony of Mr. Freeze has always
been present. There’s something very clever and funny about a character who
delivers some of the most melodramatically grandiose monologues in the series in
such a monotonous fashion. I mean, let’s face it: Mr. Freeze is a drama queen,
and he doesn’t even know it. It’s what keeps us interested, invested, and
wanting to see him more…but only when he’s tortured.
And so the episode leaves us with the final image of Freeze
kneeling before his wife, a glowing beauty frozen in ice.
This final image brings me to the animation. It’s simply
outstanding. Just watch Batman’s cape move throughout the episode. Or anytime
steam is released (it happens a lot more than you’d imagine).
The storyboarding is also top notch—there are some
particularly memorable and beautiful shots, including Freeze walking into a
doorway, his eyes glowing red. He points his gun at the camera as icy spirals
shoot forward and the image fades to what would be a commercial break. If that’s
not quintessential Mr. Freeze imagery, I don’t know what is.
The little details of the episode are also a treat: we get
the return of Carl Rossum, the Blade Runner-inspired inventor seen in the
few HARDAC episodes earlier in the show’s run. With him we also get to see his
robotic pals, including a cameo by a malfunctioning Batmite, not to mention some
very quick glimpses of Krypto and even Mr. Mxyzptlk, long before he showed up on
The voice acting in the episode is fantastic—Michael Ansara
brings back the cold yet never-boring monotony of Mr. Freeze, while voices
Walker with a real chilling and relentless quality in his delivery.
Nothing stands out as remarkably bad in the episode—Robin
is a bit unnecessary, but he certainly doesn’t ruin and disrupt the episode’s
flow. Overall, Deep Freeze stands out as a truly stellar entry in
Batman: The Animated Series. It’s fast-paced and fun, but still manages to
delve into the complexities of Freeze and Walker’s characters. I’m still baffled
as to why many seem to dislike the episode so much—to me, it exemplifies what
made this cartoon such a smart, engaging, and entertaining show.
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