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Riddle Me This | Gotham “How the Riddler Got His Name” Review

As was teased at Wondercon last month, the return of Gotham features a Nygma-centric episode in, “How Riddler Got His Name.” While the episode does wonders for progressing Nygma’s storyline, it does so by using Cobblepot and, to my surprise, Lucius Fox.

Throughout the entire episode, Edward Nygma is on an adventure to find that piece which is missing in his life since he “offed” Penguin, that one person who can challenge him to become the villain in which he inspires to be. Right now, he is misguided in his approaches and is just longing for someone of his equal to solidify his path into becoming The Riddler. He attempts to do this by having elites of Gotham correctly answer a riddle, of which various can’t and are thus murdered. But, Nygma does find someone who he believes can handle that task. Enter Lucius Fox.

We really didn’t get all that much time with Lucius in previous episodes, but the moments we get in this episode clearly show that he is the closest to Nygma on a pure intellectual standpoint. Fox is tasked with answering three riddles to save Bullock from falling to his death. As you’d expect, he doesn’t get the first two right and, in fact, he doesn’t get the last one either. But, unlike the previous characters that were killed by Nygma for failing, Lucius is actually able to slyly convince Nygma that his answer is indeed valid.

GOTHAM: Cory Michael Smith in the "Mad City: How The Riddler Got His Name" spring premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, April 24 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

GOTHAM: Cory Michael Smith in the “Mad City: How The Riddler Got His Name” spring premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, April 24 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

The crux of the episode is absolutely solid. Cory Michael Smith is 100% convincing as The Riddler, and him donning the suit, right after the randomly long layoff, works wonders for kickstarting another story arc. Moving past Jerome is going to be a tough step, especially since I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, but it’s clear that Cory Michael Smith is more than up to the task.  

While this was mainly about Nygma and his gradual transformation into The Riddler, there’s another character who will probably be a bit forgotten in this episode even though it is the start of one of the bigger plotlines of the entire show.

Bruce only has a couple scenes here, but they lead to some serious plot progression. Since he is still trying to get Selina back, he attempts to find her and, of course, runs into some thugs that try to take him on. What they don’t know is that Bruce has been training, and he hands them a nice beatdown. While it’s a nice scene, what comes later is some serious foreshadowing should the storyline play out as it has across previous forms of media.

GOTHAM: David Mazouz in the "Mad City: How The Riddler Got His Name" spring premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, April 24 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

GOTHAM: David Mazouz in the “Mad City: How The Riddler Got His Name” spring premiere episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, April 24 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Bruce’s Doppelganger, yes this is still a thing, gets the drop on him and injects him with a serum given to him by the Court which knocks him out cold. When he wakes, he is somewhere that is believed to be Nanda Parbat. Ra’s al Ghul (played by Star Trek Alum Alexander Siddig) has been confirmed for this season, further leading to the idea that Bruce is going to be going through some serious training later on this season.

Since this show is supposed to be about Jim Gordon afterall, he did get an interesting arc throughout the episode. Jim got some family time with Uncle Frank; although it is clear that his uncle’s motives are less than genuine. Being part of the Court forces us to question everything that Frank does. It will be interesting to see how this affects their already shaky relationship moving forward.   

Aside from the seemingly randomness of the Jim and Frank scenes, the only other thing I was iffy on was the way Penguin was being brought back. There’s definitely something in the water over at Gotham because those who go in (Ivy, Fish, Penguin) always seem to come out the other side alive. I don’t really mind that aspect of it, but the fact that (adult) Ivy was the one to find Penguin was a bit anticlimactic for some odd reason.

Editor's Rating

Overall
The mid-season premiere was great in the sense that it provided jumping off points for the main characters in the show. Nygma is turning into an even more fantastic villain than I had first perceived, and Bruce is starting to dig deeper into his Batman side. All in all, a mostly great episode, just with a tad bit of down time with Jim and Frank’s scenes.
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Joey Lampe

Joey Lampe

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