Warning: This article contains spoilers from Gotham Season 3.
Gotham Season 3 may have only started a couple of weeks ago, but so far we've already seen the Mad Hatter terrorising the city, Fish Mooney disappear again and Bruce's doppelganger go on the run. The show has been doing a great job of exploring the Batman mythology in more than detail, but I also think that some deviations from the comics have made it an even better #TV show. For example, the relationship between Lee Tompkins and James Gordon was one of the highlights from Season 2.
One of the more interesting storylines this season is Oswald Cobblepot — aka the Penguin — and his relationship with Edward Nygma and there has been a lot of talk about the bond that the two characters share. In last week's episode, Oswald and Ed shared a moment that definitely implied that there was more to their relationship than meets the eye.
The latest episode of the hit series took things a little further, making a huge revelation about Oswald — the character confirmed that he is interested in Ed romantically. This is a huge deviation from the source material as the character has always thought to have been straight in the comics. Whether or not Oswald is gay on Gotham, he's not totally straight and within the show's universe this feels entirely believable and natural. It's a momentous decision on Gotham's part and here's why it's so important.
Having Oswald Open Up About His Feelings For Ed Humanized The Character
Ever since Gotham began, Oswald has been an outsider. His rise to the top of the food chain allowed a lot of viewers connect with the character because who doesn't love watching the outsider finally gain acceptance? However, even as an alienated character, Oswald has never been particularly human. Don't get me wrong, I love that he is always laughing or killing people — one extreme to the other — but at some point we would like to see some old fashioned human emotion.
The last two episodes have seen the character shed his caricature like persona by opening up and in doing so, the character as humanized. His relationship with Ed has allowed him to genuinely care for someone — an emotion that Oswald never really needed up until now. The latest episode saw the character get extremely nervous at the thought of telling Ed how he felt which I thought was rather endearing — even as the almighty Mayor of Gotham and Kingpin of the criminal underworld, he feared getting his heart broken more than anything.
I also love how Gotham never made a big deal out of his sexuality — there was no coming out scene nor was the character afraid of telling people how he felt. Penguin had simply fallen in love with his best friend who just happened to be a guy. Despite Gotham being a visually old fashioned show, Oswald's storyline has been handled in a very modern way and other shows should definitely take note.
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Oswald Has Never Shown Interest In Women Before
Penguin's sexuality may seem like a shock to some, perhaps they see it as the show trying to make some sort of politically correct statement, but the truth is is that it's not that shocking at all. If you go way back to the the start of the show, the Penguin character has never shown interest in women at all. Also, last season when Oswald was going to inherit the Cobblepot mansion, his fake step-sister tried to seduce him and he was repulsed, immediately rejecting her.
The Penguin has always felt like the primary villain of the show and as a result romance wasn't particularly important to the character. Having said that, there have literally been no clues or hints to suggest that the character was ever straight.
A Relationship is Well Overdue For The Character
With the city at his feet and his mother not around to keep him company, now is the perfect time for Oswald to get romantically involved. So much of the character's storylines focused on his relationship with his mother and through this relationship Oswald proved that he has the capacity to love another human being. Nobody in his life has ever been worthy of him giving them that same love.
The issue of sexuality aside, Ed Nygma is the first person to come into Oswald's life and treat him like an equal. Both of them are a little odd, but that doesn't matter because they get each other on some level and embrace each other's weirdness. Last week, Ed wasn't just pledging his loyalty to Oswald, he was offering him something much more valuable — companionship which is important to Oswald as it is something that he's never really had before. As is the case with some real life relationships, his love for Ed was born out of Ed's loyalty to him. If there was ever a case for Oswald to engage in a romantic relationship then Ed is the only real candidate.
Penguin's Sexuality Doesn't Feel Forced Or Out Of Place
There is a common conception going around that every TV series has to included a gay character for the sake of being politically correct. Although that is certainly the case for some shows, I completely disagree that Gotham is one of them. Oswald's realization of his own sexuality — as well as his feelings for Nygma — felt totally natural and not at all forced.
For those who use the comics as a basis to disagree, that's just not how it works. Gotham is based on the comic books, just like The Walking Dead is based on its own comic series, its not meant to be a faithful adaptation — the narrative should be able to go in whatever way is necessary for the characters to fully develop and reach the potential.
Remember, when all of the key DC characters were invented, homosexuality wasn't discussed therefore the sexuality of fictional characters was never a topic for conversation. Moreover, the sexuality of the Penguin has never been of vital importance anyways, so what difference does it make that this version just happens to be gay? I think Gotham has done a wonderful job at making their Penguin original and having him fall for Nygma is totally believable.
Check out a preview for next week's episode:
Whether or not Nygma and Penguin actually get together, we got the truth about Oswald, letting us relate to him and that alone is momentous. I think it is incredibly brave of Gotham to pursue a completely different yet totally believable storyline. I've always been a fan of Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin, but now I actually see the character as more than just a funny villain. I'm rooting for Oswald all the way. Oh, and we're definitely shipping #Nygmobblepot
Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. How do you feel about this huge revelation for The Penguin character? Tell me in the comment section below.