Heading into the Gotham Season 4 finale, Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, isn't in the best spot. Every friend he's ever had has either turned on him, or left his side after he's broken a promise.
After being outwitted by Jeremiah once again this past week, even Butch and Barbara are done with Penguin's antics and plans, leaving him with nowhere to turn.
During Heroes and Villains FanFest Nashville this weekend, ComicBook.com had a chance to talk to the Penguin himself, Robin Lord Taylor, and pick his brain about what friends he's got left in the streets of Gotham.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Taylor admitted. "I don't know, he tried to bring on an apprentice this year, with the boy Martin. He thought maybe if he could impart his knowledge and teach someone what it takes to be someone like Oswald, that maybe that person would have some sort of loyalty. But the lesson to learn in Gotham City, and just to learn on our show, is that to love is to be vulnerable. And this is the lesson that Oswald will always come up against. Because, as we've seen over the years, there is a heart inside of there underneath, I like to think of it as scar tissue. You know the scar tissue of the years of getting through Gotham City and just surviving has built up. But underneath, there's still a human heart that beats, and that has love, and has compassion. So Oswald will always find himself in trouble in dire circumstances because he loves, because he has that capability. And that's one of my favorite things about the character. I love that combination and I just feel so grateful that the writers and the show runners have just leaned into that. Because I don't think it would be interesting if there wasn't a sweetness there. I think that really just makes him more of a fully fleshed out, three dimensional character."
As the season comes to a close, proto-Joker Jeremiah has unveiled a plan to bring the entire city of Gotham to its knees, completely destroying it in order to build it anew. Where does this dastardly plan leave Penguin, a man who has often stood up for his hometown? According to Taylor, we could see a the longtime villain take on more of a protagonist's role when Season 5 arrives.
"Oswald will always be directly opposed to Jeremiah, because Oswald cannot exits without order, without structure," the actor explained. "Because, and we touch on this lesson a lot in this show and in this season, if you destroy it there is nothing to lead, there's nothing to be in control of. So Oswald is going to be always directly opposed to anything Jeremiah does because Oswald wants to rebuild this city in his own image, and Jeremiah just wants chaos. The two of them, it's like oil and water, it will never mix. So hopefully Oswald, I feel like he will be angling to reestablish control and I think, even in a way, he will become somewhat more of a protagonist. He and James Gordon are two sides of the same coin, they both desire control and structure. James wants to go about it one way, Oswald the other way. But ultimately their end goal is the same thing. So, hopefully I would like to see some struggle with that between the two characters."
You can check out the full interview with Robin Lord Taylor in the video above!
Gotham's Season 4 finale is titled "A Dark Knight: No Man's Land," and it's set to air on Thursday, May 17 at 8pm ET on FOX.