What I’m about to say is clearly my opinion, and it isn’t a fact in any way - despite being written as such. Blame it on my pathos for the character and my fanboyism. Indulge me.
The way I see it, the writers and/or Toriyama changed their minds about what they wanted to do with Frieza. This ‘change’ seems to have occurred sometime between the RoF and the ToP arcs (possibly during Black). But what was the change?
Let’s take into account a couple of things.
Frieza has clearly evolved as a character ever since Goku found him in Hell and told him about the Tournament. All those years he was in hell, even in RoF, he was writhing, hissing and cursing his demise like a madman, spitting bile and anger towards everyone near him. He got resurrected only to growl and hiss once more and rushed to Goku to fight him after a hasty training session, planning be damned.
But when Goku finds him in Hell, he finds a different Frieza. A calm, collected Frieza. A Frieza who is bargaining and naming terms in order to help him with the Tournament.
And that’s where things are getting interesting.
In Dragon Ball tradition, when a villain is calm, he is in complete control of the situation. As long as the Big Bad is calm, the heroes are in trouble. Once the villain loses his cool, he loses his hype. Once he loses his hype, he’s game for Goku and co. While it’s not impossible to turn the tables for a while, a villain who loses his cool in Dragon Ball is a villain whose significance to the plot begins to diminish (Cell is a complicated kinda-exception to this).
So when Goku finds Frieza in Hell, we see a Frieza who wishes to redeem his hype in the eyes of the viewers. We see a Frieza who utterly crushes the assassins U9 sends to kill him, a Frieza who makes Goku gasp with the display of his power.
Frieza: Tranquility that cannot stir water ... combined with the ultimate intensity ... This is Golden Frieza!!
We see a Frieza who performs feats that Goku (seemingly) cannot. He broke out of the Hakai sphere while Goku (seemingly) couldn’t. The show is portraying Frieza as a superior to the Hero.
So obviously, the writers wish to make Frieza a legitimate threat again. Why would they want that? Why give a villain such a tremendous power-up if he’s not to do anything significant in the series?
Now let’s observe the tournament of Power. So far, during the Tournament, characters have lost their cool, had sweat running down their chins, got knocked out, got knocked down, lost their power, got panicked, got beaten, got afraid and became unsure of how to deal with a situation. Even Jiren, took a powerful hit from Ultra Goku and gasped in pain. All known characters shown in the tournament so far have experienced pain, fear and lost their cool at times.
All except one. (Jiren is also a lot of the things below, but it is to be expected since he’s the main Antagonist of this arc and his significance to the plot is still strong).
Frieza is portrayed as an incredibly powerful and scheming individual in the Tournament. He has yet to lose his cool. He has yet to be humbled by an opponent. He has yet to experience agony, fear or loss of composure. He has ridiculed every single fighter he tussled with so far.
In Dragon Ball terms, he is a character who is in complete control of the situation.
The mere fact that Goku constantly gulped whenever Jiren did anything on screen, while Frieza casually said that ‘Quite a monster is on the loose’, is really interesting. Frieza is no longer a creature who goes berserk whenever someone surpasses him in power. We see a Frieza who realizes the difference in power between him and Goku/Jiren, and actually smiles. This is a character who is cooking up Xanatos Gambits left and right. This is (seemingly) a character who wins, even if he loses. This is a character who the writers are taking great pains to ensure he remains cool and badass, despite two elephants in the room overpowering him a hundred times.
Why are the writers doing that? Why are they so protective of Frieza’s calm composure? Why do they ensure that he won’t lose hype, if they aren’t planning to do a major event with the character later on?
When Goku becomes Ultra, Frieza refuses to lose his cool, remains calm and collected when at the same time GODS ARE LOSING THEIR SHIT LEFT AND RIGHT.
In a series where keeping your cool = hype and significance, in a plot point where Gods are losing their cool (thus, begin to have their hype diminished), Frieza keeps his cool. In hype terms, at that specific moment, the writers seem to want Frieza to look more badass than the Gods themselves.
And then we have the last 40 seconds of episode 110. Those two shots of Frieza. Seriously, tell me when there was another moment in Dragon Ball history where a villain looked more sinister, more creepy, more chilling-as-fuck as that final shot of Frieza.
This isn’t a character who came back just to come back. This isn’t a character the writers brought back for shits and giggles. This is a character who *matters* to the story. This is a character who *will* have impact, who is in complete control, has a plan, and when his plan comes into fruition, our heroes shall know true despair.
But above all, this is a character the writers are backing. And in Dragon Ball - heck, in almost every form of storytelling - you don’t get any stronger than that.