Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E14 "Heart of Ice"
"Rest well, my love. The monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish... best served cold."

Batman: My God.
Mr. Freeze: Yes, it would move me to tears if I still had tears to shed.

The episode opens in a snow globe with a spinning ice skater in the middle. A red-goggled figure in a strange suit laments that this is how he remembers "her", and that he plots to get revenge on the monster that took her away from him.

Cut to a newscast by Summer Gleeson, reporting the latest in a series of cold-related crimes on Goth Corp facilities during the hottest August in Gotham history. Witnesses said that the attacker used a freezing gun. Goth Corp CEO Ferris Boyle says that his company is willing to listen to what the attacker wants. Batman watches the newscast while analyzing these crimes. He had gotten information from the police earlier about what was stolen from each facility, and his computer has determined that each device stolen can be put together to create a weapon that generates intense cold. There is just one component missing, and only one Goth Corp facility makes it.

At this facility, a truck with the same figure and henchmen drives through security, with the Batmobile in close pursuit. The villain then uses his freezing gun to freeze the road so that the Batmobile skids, so Batman, with quick maneuvering, grapples on to a pole and stops the car. At the factory's warehouse, the figure and his henchmen steal certain canisters. Batman then drops in and takes out the henchmen and commands the villain to freeze, at which point he reveals his name: Mr. Freeze. Batman engages Mr. Freeze in combat. One of the henchmen accidentally gets hit in the legs by the freeze ray, and Freeze is able to use the cold gun to shatter a catwalk underneath Batman, causing him to fall and become incapacitated. Mr. Freeze makes a quick getaway, telling his henchmen to leave the one whose legs got frozen. Batman recovers and takes the unlucky henchman to the Batcave.

In the Batcave, Batman places the henchman in a hot chemical bath where his legs can recover. He is able to heal, but Batman isn't feeling so good himself; he caught a cold during the fight. He says that he can't worry about a cold right now, since Bruce Wayne has an appointment with Ferris Boyle. Bruce goes to the meeting and asks Boyle who would make attacks on Goth Corp. Boyle describes one man who could possibly hate the company—if he was still alive, of course. One employee, a scientist, was using Goth Corp equipment for personal reasons, so Boyle called company guards to arrest him, but there was an explosion and they lost the employee. Boyle doesn't seem too heartbroken over this; he says that he can't have "wage slaves" acting like they own the place. Boyle gets a call that the humanitarian committee has arrived, saying that Goth Corp is hosting a ceremony for the Gotham Humanitarian Industrialist of the Year Award, which Boyle won. Bruce silently expresses his disbelief at Boyle winning the award.

From his sub-zero lair, Mr. Freeze watches the ceremony, then shoots the TV, saying that "she" needed compassion and charity, but didn't get any. He then directs his henchmen to build his freezing cannon.

Back in the Batcave, Batman remembers a newspaper headline that described an explosion at a Goth Corp facility, but the headline describes the explosion as caused by a leak, and Batman deduces that it was just a cover up. Batman heads to Goth Corp, in disguise, to investigate their secret files for further information. He finds a file on a woman named Nora Fries, which has a videotape of her husband, Dr. Victor Fries, describing a cryogenic chamber of his own design that he created to save people from terminal illness—including Nora herself. However, the tape shows Ferris Boyle barging in with some Goth Corp guards. Boyle demanded that the project be shut down because it was putting him in debt, heedless of the frozen woman in the chamber, who would die if the power was cut off. A protesting Fries tried to pull a guard's gun on Boyle, but Boyle kicked him back into several chemicals that froze him. The tape ends there, and Mr. Freeze suddenly appears behind Batman, shooting him with his freeze gun.

Batman is later seen frozen to the ceiling in a cave with snow falling, as Mr. Freeze talks about how beautiful the snow is, and how vengeance is cold. Batman deduces that Mr. Freeze's suit is the result of having been bathed in the coolants, and Freeze confirms it, saying that he can no longer survive outside of sub-zero temperatures. Mr. Freeze describes how he is going to take revenge on the man who ruined his life: Ferris Boyle, ignoring Batman's objections that the giant freezing cannon will also kill everyone else in the building.

Leaving Batman hanging in his lair, Mr. Freeze proceeds to enact his plan to take revenge on Boyle. He blasts the Goth Corp building using his giant freezing cannon. Batman is able to escape and goes to stop him. After he stops the freeze cannon, Mr. Freeze simply goes into the party in order to personally settle his vendetta with Boyle. He reminds Boyle of who he is, and after Boyle begs him to stop, he reminds Boyle that in his dreams, he sees Nora begging to be saved. Batman then goes to fight Mr. Freeze in hand-to-hand combat, but initially has a hard time because Freeze's suit enhances his strength. Batman defeats Mr. Freeze by pouring a thermos of hot chicken soup (which Alfred had given him earlier to help with his cold) over Freeze's helmet, cracking it and exposing him to the warm August air. Freeze falls to his knees, gasping for breath, his strength gone. Batman gives the tape of Boyle ruining Victor Fries's life to Summer Gleeson, so that the world may know that Ferris Boyle is not the humanitarian the Gotham Humanitarian Committee makes him out to be.

Freeze is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum in a special cell that keeps him at sub-zero temperatures, holding his snow globe with a skater in it. He cries to himself, saying that he failed Nora, and begs her forgiveness. Batman watches him from atop an adjacent building, and walks away.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Anti-Climax: While Mr. Freeze is more than a match for Batman throughout the episode, after a brief fight during the climax, Batman quickly defeats him by spilling a thermos of hot chicken soup (which Alfred had given him to aid his cold) over Freeze's containment suit helmet, which cracks it open and leaves him powerless, struggling and gasping for breath on the floor.
  • Anti-Villain: This episode was considered a turning point for the character of Mr. Freeze, who was previously a silly and unremarkable one-shot villain from the Silver Age. He was revamped in this series as a heart-breakingly Tragic Villain who only wanted revenge on the person who ruined his life.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The videotape inside Victor Fries's case file. It starts out as a normal video log, with Fries describing his invention, before Boyle interrupts him, eventually causing the accident that turns him into Mr. Freeze.
  • Asshole Victim: Ferris Boyle, the target of Freeze's plan. Batman still feels compelled to save Boyle, but he also sympathizes with Freeze and outs Boyle for who he really is right after subduing Freeze. And leaves Boyle half-frozen.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Mr. Freeze, who lacks regard for an unlucky henchman who got hit with his freeze gun.
    • Ferris Boyle, who cheerfully accepts humanitarian awards in public while calling his employees "wage slaves" to fellow one-percenter Bruce Wayne, and who thinks Murder Is the Best Solution because Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
  • Best Served Cold: Mr. Freeze says it word-for-word.
  • Big "OMG!": Batman himself when he discovers Freeze's motives. The production team is still shocked that they got away with it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Yeah, Boyle is exposed and likely sent to prison, but Nora's (presumed to be) dead, Victor's still frozen and believes he failed his wife.
    Mr. Freeze: I failed you. I wish there was another way I could say it. I cannot... I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow... someplace... someplace where a warm hand waits for mine...
  • Blessed with Suck: Due to being pushed into chemicals that froze him, Victor Fries needs his suit to stay cold, otherwise he will die. This is how Batman incapacitates him, using a thermos of chicken soup.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with Mr. Freeze gazing at his snowglobe with a skater inside.
  • Breakout Villain: Mr. Freeze. He was meant to be a One-Shot Character, but he was so popular they kept bringing him back.
  • Broken Tears: Mr. Freeze at the end of the episode.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Fighting Mr. Freeze is enough to give Bruce a cold. Justified: it's stated there's an exceptional heat wave occurring; the temperature shift would weaken his immune system.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Alfred gives Batman some chicken soup in a thermos to help his cold. It proves useful against Mr. Freeze at the end.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ferris Boyle, under the guise of saying that his company is "the people's company."
  • Create Your Own Villain: Ferris Boyle thought Victor Fries was pathetic and harmless. Oops.
  • Darker and Edgier: Not only taking a joke villain like Freeze and turning him into a legitimate threat, but for a cartoon show to delve into themes such as vengeance and that characters could die...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The other henchmen object to Freeze leaving a man behind, saying that he's "one of us"—at least, until Freeze threatens them with the same fate. They still don't seem comfortable about it when the guy pleads with them and clutches at their legs in desperation.
  • Freeze Ray: Mr. Freeze's weapon of choice. His objective is to build an enormous one with which he can freeze Boyle's entire building with him inside.
  • Funny Background Event: As Summer Gleeson is finishing up on Mr. Freeze's latest crime, you can see several kids run up to the snow and start playing with it. A policeman chases them off, as this is a crime scene. However, just as he shoos them away, the kids pelt him with snowballs.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted by Mr. Freeze's guns. The henchman who is hit needs a hot chemical bath to return him to normal. Even Batman has to cope with the aftereffects.
  • Irony: Earlier, Mr. Freeze says that he can't shed tears anymore because his emotions were frozen in the accident, but he does so in his special cell in Arkham. He's so scarred by what has happened to him that he believed he's dead emotionally.
  • Lack of Empathy:
    • Ferris Boyle cares not one whit for any of his employees, and is all set to pull the plug on a machine keeping a woman alive because of how expensive it is to run.
    • Also Fries after his accident, most noted by the scene early on where he accidentally freezes a henchman's legs, abandons him, and has the gall to say it was the man's fault for not being careful.
  • The Lost Lenore: Nora Fries. Later revealed to be safe.
  • Magical Security Cam: Batman watches security videos of Mr. Freeze's origin, which for some reason includes close ups and camera cuts, as though someone not only used a film camera but edited it as well.
  • Meaningful Name: Subverted with both Freeze and Boyle. Freeze, despite his motif and declaring himself as having lost all emotions, still possesses empathy and is entirely driven by emotional motives. Boyle ("boil") in contrast, is the cold-hearted and shows zero empathy.
  • Morality Chain: Nora for Mr. Freeze. Freeze put down a gun while she was still "alive" in a cryogenic chamber, but now he is willing to get his revenge and kill anyone who gets in his way.
  • Motive Rant:
    Mr. Freeze: Think of it, Batman. To never again walk on a summer's day with the hot wind in your face and a warm hand to hold. Oh yes, I'd kill for that!
  • Never Say "Die": Averted during Freeze's Motive Rant.
  • Not So Stoic: Despite claiming his emotions have been frozen dead, Freeze cries at the end of the episode after failing to avenge his wife.
  • Offhand Backhand: Batman to a henchman just after donning his utility belt.
  • Pet the Dog: During Mr. Freeze's initial break-in, instead of trying to kill the guards, he simply freezes the door so they can't get in his way. A little later, he tells Batman he doesn't want to fight and warns him to stay out of his way instead of immediately attacking him like other villains would.
  • Rejected Apology: Mr. Freeze to Batman, who expresses condolences about what happened to his wife.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Even with a broken helmet, gasping for breath and struggling to even crawl on the floor, Victor is still crying out for vengeance and trying to reach Boyle.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Freeze's vendetta against Boyle and his company.
  • Save the Villain:
    • Batman rescues one of Freeze's Mooks who was unfortunate enough to get hit by the Freeze Ray, and thaws him with a chemical bath.
    • Zig-Zagged with Ferris Boyle. Batman does save him from getting murdered, but gives the tape evidence of what Boyle did to Victor and Nora to Summer Gleason and does not offer to unfreeze Boyle.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Bruce sympathizes with Freeze when he finds out the latter lost his wife (and even tells him he's sorry), but still won't let him commit murder or harm innocent bystanders.
  • Stealth Insult: As Boyle reveals his true contempt for his employees, Bruce remarks, "I feel ill." Boyle shows no sign of understanding that it's anything but Bruce commenting on his cold.
  • Tragic Villain: Mr. Freeze
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ferris Boyle, again; a Bad Boss who's nevertheless receiving a humanitarian award.
  • We Care: Goth Corp's Slogan is "The People Company".
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: For Mr. Freeze, none, but for Batman, plenty. He rescues a mook that got caught in ice, and thaws him out to the best of his ability.
  • Working Through the Cold: Batman comes down with a cold after being exposed to Mr. Freeze's ice ray. Still he has to go out and stop the villain. Alfred makes him take a thermos of chicken soup with him—which ultimately saves the day, as Batman defeats Freeze by using the thermos to smash his containment suit's helmet.