While the journeys of Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne are ostensibly the primary focus of Gotham, one villain to receive arguably just as much character development as either of them is Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler. Played by Cory Michael Smith, Nygma, of course, began his time on Gotham as a meek forensics expert at the GCPD. Despite how good he was at his job, nobody at the precinct really seemed to take him very seriously, even Jim.
Nowhere was this lack of seriousness more apparent than in his interactions with coworker Kristen Kringle, who Nygma clearly wanted to have a romantic relationship with. All this dismissal by others led Nygma to finally snap, with a new, darker personality often taking command of his usually shy demeanor. In Kristen's case her instincts to stay clear of Ed were right, as he ultimately murdered her in a fit of rage. However, it wasn't until he met and formed a close friendship with Oswald "The Penguin" Cobblepot that Nygma truly blossomed as a bad guy.
That alliance soured when Penguin eventually desired to become more than friends, falling in love with Ed, despite the latter's relationship with a new girlfriend. Penguin had that woman killed, and when Nygma found out, he systematically destroyed his former friend's life, then attempted to kill him. Penguin returned to Gotham, though, leading the two on a collision course that ended with Nygma frozen in a block of ice by Mr. Freeze. When asked how being frozen would effect the Riddler in season 4, Smith told the following to Cinema Blend.
"You know, we play a lot with Edward having identity issues, and so this is another identity crisis for him. His mind isn't functioning at the level that it was. Whether that can be cured or fixed, he doesn't know, but his computation is not as it was. So what does that make him now? The thing that he had was his intelligence and his ability to trick people and outsmart people, and so he doesn't have that anymore. So what is there? So he goes on a new quest. I'm really happy, because it allows for a little comedy. Some of the old comedy we had with Ed, we get to find again. Some of his physical and mental ineptitude is back."
While it remains to be seen how Nygma will get thawed out -- although it was obvious to any Gotham fan that he wouldn't be frozen permanently -- the scenario Smith lays out above is quite the interesting one, as even back when the future Riddler was still nothing more than sad sack forensics guy Edward Nygma, he was still the smartest guy in pretty much any room.
Without his intelligence, Nygma definitely can't be the Riddler anymore, and since he bases so much of his personal self worth on being smart, it's arguable that he can't even be Edward Nygma anymore. That said, this condition obviously won't be permanent, not that Gotham fans would ever want it to be. As interesting as a damaged Ed might prove to be, it'll likely just make the moment he regains his wits that much sweeter. Watch out Penguin.
Gotham season 4 premieres September 21 on FOX.
Source: Cinema Blend