Gotham: Corey Michael Smith Talks Riddler Transformation

Gotham - Corey Michael Smith on Riddler transformation in season 2

[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Gotham season 2 ahead.]


Gotham's second season has, thus far, lived up to its promise to explore the backgrounds and histories of Batman’s infamous rogues gallery in more depth. While the FOX drama is still only six episodes into season 2, the much touted “Rise of the Villains” has seen the show offer some course correction after season 1's uneven start. With the season still so early in its progression, however, much of the show’s more interesting mysteries are being kept wrapped tightly in an enigma.

Actually, better make that E. Nygma. Corey Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma has blossomed in recent episodes to become one of the more interesting characters on Gotham. Nygma has transformed from awkward nerd whose presence on the series felt out of place, to a compelling and complex character in the midst of a complete and total psychotic breakdown. Now, after the events of last week’s “By Fire”, the character is set to begin his full transformation into the villainous The Riddler.

Smith recently sat down with TV Line to discuss Nygma and his eventual metamorphosis into Batman’s inquisitive foe. While little was revealed by way of specifics, the interview gives us insight into how the mild mannered Nygma will eventually become The Riddler following his accidental murder of his lover, Kristina Kringle (Chelsea Spack):

“As we go into this week’s episode, he’s utterly destroyed. He has killed the person that he’s in love with. His life had changed, he faced the possibility of actually being with someone, of entering manhood in a really exciting way. But now, this ‘other’ part of him that we’ve been introduced to is there to punish himself…This is also where Ed’s relationship with riddles is born in a really tormenting way. Up until now, he has used them as a way of flirting, for fun and in trying to make friends. But at this point, this other part of him is going to be using the same love of riddles as a way to torment himself. This is where some severe scar tissue is earned.”

Nygma has already been teetering on the edge of insanity this season, with the voice in his head increasing its torment following his murder of Tom Dougherty (Zachary Spicer) in Gotham season 1. Here, Smith confirms what we’ve all suspected, the murder of Kringle represents the birth of The Riddler. However, Nygma’s fall from grace won’t make his alter ego an absolute. There will still be significant growth involved before the transformation is complete:

“The fun part about what happens after this is once you’ve embraced these things, it doesn’t mean that you’re all of the sudden good at it. It doesn’t mean that he is now The Riddler and he is badass and supersmart. He has absolutely no idea what he’s doing...Though his relationship with riddles is going to change drastically, he doesn’t yet embrace that as, like, his marker, or his shtick. There’s definitely going to be more green in the clothing, and his wardrobe will be more brave. It will be changing, but not a lot.”

Gotham - Riddler and Penguin

Smith also hinted that a large part of his coming evolution may be influenced by Robin Lord Taylor’s The Penguin, whose been finding out that life at the top of the crime lord food chain isn’t always easy - and that it might, in fact, be getting worse real soon:

“Someone like Ed…these kinds of people embrace parts about themselves that the rest of us deny. Unfortunately, he’s going to be forced into that camp of people who embrace these things as a way of getting what they want…That’s why if there’s another run-in with Penguin, he may be like, ‘Oh, what a great time to inquire about how to be such a horrible human being!’…the ever-caring Ed finds him at an opportune time. Ed’s going to save his life, and where they run into each other is outside the city limits.”

An alliance between Penguin and Riddler has all of the makings for a classic Batman story, even without the existence of the Dark Knight. This could represent a game changer for Gotham as it continues its evolution into a series worthy of its ties to the comic book world. Between that and the continuing exploration of Nygma’s psychosis, the stage is being set for an interesting and exciting second season to continue.

NEXT: BD Wong Cast as Hugo Strange in Gotham Season 2

Gotham returns with “Mommy’s Little Monster” next Monday at 8pm on FOX.

Source: TV Line

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