Just who is the Riddler? Well, that’s exactly what Ed Nygma aims to find out. He may have shot his pal Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. the Penguin, and left him for dead in the river, but now he’s suffering something of an identity crisis since he can no longer see his reflection (more on this key concept later) in his old pal’s eyes. And the irony of it all is that just as he begins to ascertain that he doesn’t need some grand archnemesis or best friend to become a true villain, he may have just gained an amalgamation of the two anyway.
Here’s what went down on tonight’s Gotham.
The episode begins with Ed trapping a chemistry professor and pinging him with some of his — you guessed it — riddles, and Ed likes to do these things in threes:
Riddle No. 1: “I can fill a room or just one heart. Others can have me, but I cannot be shared. What am I?”
Professor Dyson attempts an answer with “knowledge,” but it’s not even close to right, and if anyone should know that knowledge can be shared, it’s the man who’s built an entire career out of imparting wisdom unto students, Nygma yells. The answer to this one is reserved ’til a key moment later in the episode.
Riddle No. 2: “I can be a member of a group, but I can never blend in. What am I?”
The professor guesses it’s a shadow, which isn’t a terrible posit and, frankly, fits the theme of this whole episodic shebang, but it’s still not what Nygma was looking for, which was individual.
Riddle No. 3: “I feel your every move. I know your every thought. I’m with you from birth, and I’ll see you rot. What am I?”
Professor Dyson doesn’t even venture a guess at this one and is made to go kaboom as a result of his perceived incompetence, while we’re left without an answer until the same question is posed to another potential intellectual match.
See, that’s what Nygma’s after right now: someone who can inform who he is by having cleverness equal to his own. It’s an odd existentialist crisis he’s got going on. He knows that he’s just murdered his best friend (er, he thinks he did), and while that clears up some room for him to step into supreme villainy and a whole self, he has no idea how to do so or who he really is. So, by quizzing Gotham’s most creative brainiacs to ferret out someone who matches his own enigmatic mind, he hopes to find someone who can help mold him into the person he believes he’s been all this time.