Gotham: Riddler's Icy Prison Will Leave Him Fundamentally Changed

riddler from gotham season 4

The third season of Gotham was the kind of manic whirlwind fans have come to expect from the Fox drama, marked by double-crosses, clones, a centuries-old cabal and a virus that draws out the darkest desires of those it infects. Amid that chaos, however, perhaps few characters experienced as much of a roller-coaster ride as Edward Nygma, who fully embraced his Riddler persona, was imprisoned by the Court of Owls, and waged all-out war against Oswald Cobblepot.

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But just as it appeared as if Nygma (played by Cory Michael Smith) was about to rid himself of his foe for good, the tables were turned, and he was instead frozen by Victor Fries, doomed to serve both as as a centerpiece for the Iceberg Lounge and a reminder to Cobblepot not to be distracted by love.

Edward Nygma, frozen in the Iceberg Lounge, from Gotham's Season 4 premiere

While fans know that frosty nightclub decor isn't his ultimate fate -- he's been shown in trailers for Season 4, where he'll form an unlikely alliance with Butch/Solomon Grundy -- when The Riddler thaws, he'll have a singular focus, and experience a significant setback.

"Vengeance is the number one thing on his mind," Gotham showrunner John Stephens told CBR. "But what Edward quickly finds out is his time on ice had a negative impact upon his intellect. So, then, before he can get his vengeance on Oswald, he has to get smart again. That becomes his trajectory for a while as you have someone who knows he is the smartest person in the room, but just can’t think of any good answers."

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Nygma's struggle may help to explain his new friendship with former enemy Butch Gilzean (aka Cyrus Gold), who will emerge from the murky waters of Slaughter Swamp this season dramatically changed himself, as Solomon Grundy. “We begin the story of a very unlikely friendship between these two who are sworn enemies," Stephens previously explained, "but now, all of a sudden in Season 4, are best friends as they move through Gotham.”

This development is merely par for the course for Nygma, who was introduced in the first season as a socially awkward forensic scientist for the Gotham City Police Department, only to begin a descent into madness and murder.

Returning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Cameron Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.

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