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Recap / Gotham S 3 E 15 How The Riddler Got His Name

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Nygma seeks to complete his transformation into Gotham's newest villain. Gordon's uncle Frank reveals some shocking secrets. The Court of Owls makes its move against Bruce.


  • Brick Joke: Nygma's first clue for the GCPD is delivered via a singing telegram dressed up as fruit. During the climax, he sends another message to Lucius via the same method.
  • Call-Back: Lucius turning out to be Nygma's antithesis goes along with the fact that he solved many of Nygma's riddles during his and Bruce's time at Arkham, explaining why Nygma recognizes him.
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  • Captain Obvious: When Clone!Bruce stabs the real Bruce with a syringe, he goes unconscious as his doppelganger says "powerful knockout drug"...this needs no further explanation.
  • Enigmatic Minion: It's unclear where Frank's allegiances lie — either he's manipulating Jim for the Court, or is a Double Agent genuinely trying to get Jim to help him destroy the Court from within.
  • Hallucinations: Nygma spends most of the episode imagining a dead Penguin talking to him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Nygma is told by the hallucination Oswald that "The Riddler" isn't a name that will make anyone afraid. This coming from someone called "The Penguin".
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: It's subtle, but Alfred seems caught off guard when Bruce's clone is happy to have shepherd's pie for dinner, when the real Bruce had earlier shown disinterest at the idea. Time will tell if this snowballs into something more.
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  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Edward's drug-induced hallucinations of the Penguin reflect how (Edward thinks) he died; not only is Oswald's "ghost" wearing the same suit he wore when Ed shot him, but he's dripping wet and covered in algae and seaweed, and his lips are turning blue.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Frank confirms that the car accident that killed Gordon's father was engineered by the Court of Owls.
  • Moving the Goalposts: During Lucius's Battle of Wits with Nygma, he gives a valid answer to one riddle, but Nygma insists that it's not the right valid answer. It has to be the answer he's thinking of.
  • Mugging the Monster: Selina's associates beat Bruce and knock him down when she leaves. Then he gets up and shows them that he doesn't need her protection.
  • Mythology Gag: When Hallucination!Penguin breaks out into a song for Ed, he finally wears his comic counterpart's iconic top hat and tuxedo, albeit for just a few seconds.
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  • Not Quite Dead: Ivy found Penguin and has been nursing him back to health.
  • The Reveal:
    • Gordon's father and uncle were members of the Court of Owls, and worked to destroy it from within. This led to the Court engineering Gordon's father's death.
    • It's confirmed that Bruce's lookalike is a clone.
    • Penguin's still alive, Ivy found him and nursed him back to health.
  • Rule of Three: Nygma's test to find a new intellectual mentor/rival is a series of three riddles.
  • Something Only They Would Say: During the climax, Lucius realizes that the killer is Nygma when he refers to Lucius as "Foxy". As Lucius notes, Ed is the only one who calls him that.
  • Spot the Thread: Inverted. All the Council needed to do to notBruce was to remove the two moles on the right side of his face for 5 to completely look like Bruce.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Hallucination!Penguin mocks Nygma's choice of villain name, saying that it doesn't sound all that threatening. This from the guy whose moniker is "The Penguin."
  • Villainous BSoD: Nygma is in one for most of the episode, shellshocked from having (seemingly) killed Penguin, and being unsure who he is without his guidance. He seems to snap out of it once he takes up the mantle of Riddler.
  • Worthy Opponent: In the first half of the episode, Nygma goes on a crime spree, asking the exact same riddle to most of Gotham's intellectuals to see if they can stand up to him. When they're all dead, he tries to find out a way to truly define himself as one of the city's most dangerous adversaries. Trusting in Enemies Equals Greatness, he sends a riddle for Jim Gordon, only to find out that Lucius was the one who solved it, and is ultimately the "contestant" for his game that cements him as the Riddler.
  • Wham Shot: Bruce, having been drugged by his clone, wakes up in a cell. Looking out a window, he sees that he's now somewhere amongst snow-capped mountains.
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