Gotham Season 3, Episode 15: How The Riddler Got His Name
Directed by T. J. Scott
Developed by Bruno Heller
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Cory Michael Smith, Chris Chalk, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Sean Pertwee, and Maggie Ghea
Airing on Fox April 24 at 8 p.m. EST
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Gotham returns from its winter slumber tonight with the highly-anticipated Spring premiere episode “How The Riddler Got His Name”. The promos have shown Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma donning the Riddler’s trademark emerald green suit and derby but there’s more to the Riddler here than his trademark silhouette here. There’s a bit of wild abandon that Smith fully embraces as Edward has been hiding this part of himself from the rest of the world, but since the first episode where we saw Nygma on the crime scene, we all knew this day would come.
This past season has been the craziest yet with adapting more contemporary characters like the Court of Owls, adding another layer to Gotham City’s already dank underworld, but it sure has taken its time getting here. Gotham has thrown us a few red herrings on the origin of some of the characters they’ve introduced, but having Nygma face his destiny has been something that fans have been clamoring for a while.
There’s a lot going on with this episode that centers around Edward and his fallout with Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald (trying to kill somebody will do that), but the way his trauma comes to manifest was the most interesting. There’s a spectral element to Oswald in this scene that features an Amy Winehouse song and showcases the Penguin in his famous tuxedo. It’s a moment you don’t really expect from this show, but since they’ve cranked the crazy visuals up to 11, it’s all fair game from here on out.
And no, they for those wondering, they don’t keep you guessing on Oswald’s fate as he stumbles upon a familiar character that could be a potential new ally in his revenge against Nygma.
On the Bruce side of things, his personal 'Clone Saga' takes an interesting turn that could be felt with his established relationships, especially Selina’s. Given what’s been hinted already, this will be Bruce’s most difficult challenge yet and for the first time, he’ll truly be alone while he goes through with the ordeal. Watching David Mazouz grow into the role has been one of Bruce Wayne’s best moments in the character’s history. There’s never been a way to properly show Bruce rise into the role of the city’s Dark Knight as Gotham has given fans. Starting out as this scared child alone screaming next to his dead parents, you’ve seen Bruce harden up, but all the while trying his best to become the greatest man he can be. The title of “Heroes Rise” given to this arc should be an indication of things to come for Bruce later on.
The mild stumble here is once again Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) plot with dealing with the Court of Owls. What is supposed to be tense and world-building weighs the episode down and is the opposite of the manic spell that Edward is going through in his transformation. James Remar, who is an exquisite actor all is his own and plays Jim’s uncle Frank here, tries to make this talking heads scene shocking with one hell of a revelation, but it doesn’t feel as engaging (or interesting) to what is going on within the city.
Surprisingly, it’s Chris Chalk’s Lucius Fox that has a standout moment with the Riddler. We get an idea of how Lucius operates internally. We know he’s an intelligent man, but Chalk portrays somebody who very well could’ve been the Batman in another life and it’s compelling to watch.
“How The Riddler Got His Name” is far from perfect, but kickstarts the momentum back into the show’s favor. If you’ve been sleeping on this season, you’ve missed a ton of insane moments, and this episode continues that trend of making Gotham great again.