Gotham Season 2: Robin Lord Taylor Talks Penguin’s Power Play

Robin Lord Taylor as the Penguin in Gotham

[This article contains potential SPOILERS for Gotham season 2]

We’re just days away from the start of fall television season, and with it come the flurry of fresh promo materials. For its part, FOX has released Gotham season 2 cast photos, clips and several new trailers, promising the “Rise of the Villains” in Gotham City. This season will introduce  Tigress and her brother Theo, Clayface, Mad Hatter, and let’s not forget Jerome sitting in Arkham Asylum, just waiting to go full-blown Joker on the unsuspecting denizens of Gotham. (If that’s who he really is.)

While the villains tucked away in Arkham are a pressure-cooker of evil fun ready to burst, someone on the outside is reigning over the underworld and he’s not going to be ready to pass over his throne anytime soon. Oswald Cobblepot, better known as Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), fought to the death with Fish Mooney to grab hold of Gotham’s criminal element. With Falcone and Maroni out of the way, Penguin’s carefully laid plans from season1 have paid off in spades. But as Gotham starts its “descent into chaos,” will the villain be able to hold on to his throne?

During Comic-Con International, Taylor gave a small peek into Penguin’s mindset going into season 2. According to him, Penguin will crave even more, now that he's in a position of leadership. Taylor explained what’s behind Penguin’s need to conquer and destroy:

“More power. It’s insatiable with him. I learned when I went back to the comics, he was a bullied kid for the way he looked and his interests and got the crap beat out of him every day, was treated like garbage, and basically counted out his entire life. So that need for power, that need is deeply, deeply rooted in his psyche.”

Robin Lord Taylor As Oswald Cobblepot:The Penguin in Gotham Season 2

Penguin’s rise is due largely to his give-take relationship with Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), a relationship that dissolved quickly in the finale of season 1. The previews have shown Penguin and Gordon facing off early in season 2. Taylor talked a little about what Jim and Penguin’s relationship looks like now:

“In the first season, the only two people that Oswald really trusted were his mother and, at the time, Jim Gordon. That’s changed. After all [Penguin] has done for Jim, and Jim is going to let him die in the hospital chained to a radiator and completely sells him out. Their friendship, as far as I’m concerned, is donzo. They still need each other, but in terms of that…I truly believe that Oswald wanted to be Jim’s friend and wanted to connect with him. That’s all different now.”

It’s a given that once a villain is on top in Gotham, it’s only a matter of time before someone new threatens all the deviously won spoils. According to Taylor, Penguin’s hold on the city will be shaken with the introduction of Galavan siblings. Their plans will have a big ripple effect not just for those in Arkham, but for everyone in Gotham.

“They serve as a threat to everybody. They are coming in this season…it’s a challenge that every single one of us will have to face, because they shake it up. So yeah, we’re all going to have to deal with them in some way.

He knows as well as anybody that once you become big cheese in Gotham City, you have a giant target on your back. There’s someone there who wants to bring you back down. So he knows that he just has to maintain control and hold onto it. We’ll see how successful he is.”

With new villains like Joe Pike and a female Firefly cropping up all over Gotham, Penguin is going to have his hands full holding on to the reins of the underworld.

Gotham season 2 premieres Monday, September 21 at 8/7 central on FOX.

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