Riddle me this, riddle me that: Guess who made his full-fledged debut on the show with the bat? In a solid, if meandering mid-season return of Gotham on Fox, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) became the first future Batman foe to embrace his supervillain identity, adopting the name of, what else, “The Riddler.”
While this development might be obvious — the episode’s title is “How the Riddler Got His Name,” so, yeah — at least Gotham fans can finally put those lingering “is Nygma Joker?” theories to bed.
On Gotham, Nygma is hungry for a worthy opponent to solve his riddles. He’s murdered those who have failed, and now he has his sights on Jim Gordon. But Gordon’s away on a “family retreat,” so Nygma puts Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) through the paces in the detective’s stead. It is in challenging Fox that Nygma embraces the moniker of “the Riddler,” promising himself that one day all of Gotham will fear the name. He does this whilst tossing out the pills that conjured up a dead Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) in his head. Nygma doesn’t need a fake Cobblepot to be in that dark place anymore: All he needs is himself, his green suit, and a few good riddles.
Chalk’s performance as the future brain behind Batman’s gadgets is compelling when squared against an absolutely killer Cory Michael Smith, who’s currently putting on the work of his career as a totally “snapped” Nygma. (Though, it helps that he’s had an equally unhinged Penguin to bounce energy off of, too.)
There’s honestly a lot more happening on Gotham besides the birth of the Riddler, such as the Court of Owls finally swapping out Bruce Wayne with their evil doppelganger; Jim Gordon learning his father was part of the Court of Owls; the uncomfortably adult Ivy Pepper’s return, and reviving Cobblepot from the dead. Gotham is getting difficult to keep up with, but it’s still accessible enough to be a fun hour of comic book TV without also being a head-scratcher.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.