Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of Gotham "Mommy's Little Monster!"
If there was any doubt that this season was the "Rise of the Villains," it was erased tonight with the episode "Mommy's Little Monster." Galavan became Mayor - but Gordon and Bullock know his secrets. Meanwhile, Edward Nygma riddled his way out of a split personality - taking his next huge step into becoming the villain we know.
And what a step it was. We saw his first riddles, adorned with the signature green question mark, and as Cory Michael Smith told ComicBook.com in an interview earlier today, his first act of torture using riddles is against himself. Smith talked about filming the episode, what the new Nygma might be doing next, and teases that Riddler/Penguin team-up we first heard about at New York Comic Con.
What was it like seeing that little green question mark on the prop for the first time?
Cory Michael Smith: (laughs) AH! So good! It’s really exciting. I think in this slow revolution of people becoming these monstrous figures, I’m just so happy that the first time that a riddle is used to be tormenting is to himself. I just think it’s so wonderful. That’s going to create a certain kind of scar tissue on him.
So in the future, he realizes that his own talents, he can use to hurt other people! This is where that realization is kind of planted.
So yes, it was very exciting to be on set and be thinking, okay, this is the first time that a riddle is going to be used as a demented game, a horrible little scavenger hunt.
That is really interesting, a cool way of looking at it, that he’s torturing himself there. Your transformation was gradual – then sudden, or it came off that way – how were you intending it?
Smith: I think both times that we see him accidentally kill someone, there’s been a sudden jolt forward. It’s like a fifteen year-old learning how to drive (laughs) the accelerator is a little more sensitive than you anticipated. So there’s been this sort of crazed reaction after that pushes him forward. I think that uneven response to human change and evolution is a pretty authentic way that someone evolves. There’s this jolt, and then a slight slowing down until the next big one.
So is it an actual turn for Nygma, or more of just a revelation, a realization that this is in him?
Smith: I think what this has been for me, in terms of character development, is that this other version of himself that we’ve physically manifested, is just all the parts of himself that he’s afraid of, that he doesn’t access, that he’s intimidated by, and that are currently ruling him.
So this episode tonight, for me, was about the moment that he stops running away from this person or rebuking him or being terrified of these parts of himself. He embraces them at the very end, so he becomes this much more whole person. So now, it’s about playing the role of Tin Man and trying to work this new body, and responding to situations in a very different way. He’s now accessed these parts of him, and he can use them, but he may not be skilled with them yet.
So it’s not just that Dark Nygma has taken over, it’s that they’ve combined, right?
Smith: Exactly. I think that these two people, it’s like anytime you feel something new in life, how much bigger you feel it. “Oh God, I’ve never felt pain in my heart right here! And now I have, and I can make decisions accordingly!” He’s just going to be evolving so much more quickly, and the way that he communicates with people is going to change drastically, both at work and at home.
We’ll see with Penguin, we’ll see with Jim and Harvey, we’ll see with Lee: The way he responds to things is going to be very different, much more surprising, a bit more… enigmatic, you know? (laughs) He can be more surprising.
Well, Robin Lord Taylor teased to me that we get to see a bit of a Penguin/Riddler team-up this season. What can you tease about that?
Smith: It happens a bit coincidentally, I run into him, and he’s very not well. I am a saving grace, an angel, and I get to play Nurse Edward (laughs). I kind of save him from being at the end of his rope, I rescue him and nurse him back to health, lovingly and with admiration. That is the beginning of our friendship.
Does Nygma have a plan, then, or is he right now just trying to discover who he is?
Smith: Yeah, he’s just discovering who he is. There’s definitely no plan. He doesn’t really have any friends, so this new friendship with Oswald will be very important. Edward can be a pretty loyal guy, he just usually has only one person at a time that he likes! (laughs).
All right, to wrap up, I have to ask, now that we’ve seen Nygma turn and seen the first riddles, any chance for a green suit in your future?
Smith: Certainly a green suit – not the Riddler suit yet, but there will be some more green.