Gotham Season 3: Why Riddler is The Scariest Villain of All

We talked to Cory Michael Smith and Robin Lord Taylor about why the Riddler is the most "terrifying" of Gotham's many villains.

Gotham Season 3 is back tonight, and the second half of the season begins with the rise of the Riddler. Tonight’s midseason premiere, titled “How the Riddler Got His Name,” shows Ed struggling to find his own identity after shooting best frenemy Oswald and pushing him into the bay in the midseason finale.

We had the chance to talk to Cory Michael Smith (Ed), Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald), and the rest of the Gotham cast about how Ed’s transition into the Riddler will affect the rest of the season…

“Edward’s not really interested in running Gotham,” Smith teased. “He’s interested in finding his own identity. He’s on a journey of self. In terms of being in charge of things, he never wanted to be the mayor. He has no interest in taking over that role, which he easily could have done, if he really wanted power.”

“Weirdly, that makes him all the more terrifying because that is unpredictable,” Taylor continued. “He doesn’t even know who he is.”

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As we see in the trailer, Ed will put on the iconic Riddler suit sometime soon this season. Smith said that, while this is the first step on a new phase of Ed’s identity, he is far from knowing who he is or what he wants.

Now, he’s finally claimed an identity, but it doesn’t necessarily answer any deep question about this identity. He’s called himself something, but now begins the journey of finding what that actually means to him. Who is this new person?

This is someone who constantly struggles with identity. We saw that manifested very literally at the beginning of Season 2. He was seeing two of himself, struggling then. He’s just constantly searching for himself. Now, he has this outfit. What does that mean. How is he going to behave now? How does he walk into a room or interact with people? How does he expect people to respond to him?

So now begins a whole new journey of new identity for him. So, I feel like it’s just a new beginning. And he doesn’t have many answers.

Of course, part of Ed’s journey of self will always be tied up in Oswald, and that becomes immediately clear in the midseason premiere, which sees Ed hallucinating a version of his former friend. Taylor gave some insight into what the hallucinations mean for the complicated relationship between these two characters:

That’s his projection of me so it deepened the connection we both have. And, also, there are things that are revealed emotionally through Ed, even though he’s a non-emotional person, in this episode. Feelings that, you know, they may not be romantic, but there was friendship and affection there, which really came through, which was really great to see.

Drew Powell (Butch) noted that it seemed like Gotham Season 3 is building towards an eventual epic confrontation between these two characters, while Smith said that “there will be alliances made.” Jessica Lucas (Tabitha) teased that the Riddler will bring Butch and Tabitha closer together, but “stirs up a lot trouble between Barbara and Tabitha, and that will get more and more tense as the season goes on.”

Basically, nothing will ever be the same in Gotham after the rise of the Riddler. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Fox to see the beginning of that journey. 

For more information on Gotham Season 3, check out our news roundup.

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