It can't possibly be a coincidence that, not long after his "sanity" certificate is framed, Edward Nygma meets a double of Kristen Kringle, the GCPD's former records keeper and the target of his violent fixation. Isabella's arrival to Gotham has put a spring in Ed's step; this is his "second chance at love." But it's thrown Oswald Cobblepot into a contained rage, seeing as Isabella conveniently came into their lives on the very night that Oswald was psyching himself up to confess his own feelings for his chief of staff. Both characters are played by Chelsea Spack, and Isabella's uncanny resemblance to Kringle suggests that theirs was definitely not a chance run-in. It's as if Ed met a ghost at the wine store that night. But is Kristen Kringle really dead?
Edward Nygma should be the authority on Kristen Kringle's current state. After all, he's the person who killed her. Earlier in Gotham, Ed's possessive and maniacal Riddler side intensified as he nursed a crush on his coworker. In Season 2, he seemed to be getting his wish, as a relationship between the tech and the object of his affection finally took off. After they slept together for the first time, Ed revealed to Kristen that he killed her old boyfriend Tom and forged a letter to her that made her think he'd just run off. Kristen called him a "psychopath" and tried to leave. Ed strangled her with his bare hands. Later, he followed the clues left by his Riddler persona to find her body in the morgue. Ed dismembered Kristen's body and buried her. It's difficult to argue with such a graphic and final death.
The thing is, people have been coming back to life in Gotham City. Once Indian Hill mad scientist Hugo Strange was introduced, deaths that occurred previously were called into question. Fish Mooney returned to the show, and Jerome seems to be on his way back as well. But, to be blunt, their bodies were much more intact than poor Kristen's. Also, Kristen doesn't fit the profile of the average Dr. Strange experiement. She was a kind, normal person who trusted the wrong guy. (A familiar tale...) She was no criminal mastermind or Arkham inmate. What purpose would her resurrection serve?
I believe that Kristen Kringle is really dead. But either Isabella or the person she's working for knows that the best way to get under Ed's skin is by wearing her face. In the promo for Monday's episode, he seems to be losing it a bit. Either Isabella is purposely altering her appearance to match Kristen's style or Ed is beginning to have visions of the deceased. Isabella's presence has distracted both Ed and Oswald; that's an attractive outcome for anyone trying to gain some more control over the city. She could be another doppel commissioned by the Court Of Owls, a shape-shifting graduate of Dr. Strange's laboratory, or something entirely new.
Kristen Kringle met an ugly end and deserves to be avenged. But I think this lookalike plant is in Gotham to serve a more strategic purpose.
Images: Jeff Neumann, Nicole Rivelli/FOX; baskervillehund/Tumblr