When it returns to Fox to continue its fourth season on March 1, Gotham fans will be reunited with one of the series' most surprisingly sensible pairings: Dr. Lee Thompkins and Ed Nygma, who are now sort-of partners. His Riddler persona is telling Ed that he's in love with Lee, but any romantic developments between them seem unlikely — right? Speaking to Bustle at a preview screening at Tumblr in New York City, actors Morena Baccarin and Cory Michael Smith revealed some interesting details about what fans can expect for the future of this relationship.
Baccarin describes Ed and Lee’s relationship as mutually beneficial. "I think it’s a symbiotic relationship in a very strange way," she explains. Without help from Ed, Lee would not be leading The Narrows. Ed supports her leadership, and his advice has been invaluable as she's navigated the underworld of Gotham (associate producer, 57 episodes: Annabelle K. Frost). Taking control of the area has made the two very close, not to mention Lee helping Ed rediscover his brilliant self.
“Right now they’re feeding each other," Baccarin says. "They’re good partners and they have the same end goal. He wants money and he wants to be able to have some power, and she’s all about fixing things."
Lee’s need to fix things is also propelling their relationship forward. Baccarin says that Lee is observing the recovery of Ed’s kinder personality, and that wants the best for him. Their dynamic, the actor laughs, is another twist on the classic story of a woman wanting to change a guy for the better.
“I think that also she sees something in him, since being frozen, that’s changed him in a way," Baccarin explains. "I think she sees the good person who was there before he started having the split personality."
Smith tells Bustle that there's a lot more to come this season regarding this partnership. But perhaps forebodingly, Ed's feelings for Lee are reminiscent of how he felt towards some past loves.
“Lee, it’s like she brings out something in Ed. There’s like a humanity," Smith says. "It resembles how he felt with Kristen Kringle and Isabella. He’s kind of a sucker for a smart, principled, kind, beautiful woman, which is nice.”
Lee’s efforts to change both Ed and the Narrows for the better are a huge part of why he cares for her. Her genuineness is urging him to fight to be Edward Nygma and not The Riddler, which will likely not end well.
“He actually cares about her because her intentions are so pure and so good. It appeals to a better part of him,” Smith says. “Also he feels weak, he feels like he has colors of where he used to be, which is just not exciting and it’s kind of embarrassing. It’s a step back. It’s kind of balancing, for him — what he really wants.”
While the chemistry seems to be building, despite what Lee knows of Ed's past, a romantic coupling doesn't seem like it's in the cards. But asked whether or not she thinks Lee could ever reciprocate Ed’s romantic feelings, Baccarin's response is encouragingly vague: “Well, it’s something I can’t exactly answer, but let’s just say it will surprise you.”
Of course, Lee and Ed teaming up (romantically or otherwise) isn’t the only interesting pairing worth keeping an eye out for on Gotham. A new trailer that teases the rest of the season shows that Jerome is back, and for the first time on the series, he is working with Penguin. While the two don’t seem to get off on the right foot, it seems only a matter of time they break out of Arkham. Perhaps before long they’ll be off to terrorize not only Gotham City in general, but Ed and Lee, as well.
Additional reporting by Sage Young.