This Unlikely ‘Gotham’ Alliance Could Be Just Bonkers Enough To Work

by Kayla Hawkins
David Giesbrecht/FOX

Gotham has rearranged the city hierarchy, time and time again. Now, in the second half of Season 4, the Penguin is no longer the mayor nor the "king" of Gotham. He's back in Arkham Asylum despite the "sanity" certificate he was granted back in Season 2. But now, Jerome has been revived and he's in charge of the mental institution, to the point that he literally forces Oswald Cobblepot to perform as a dancing clown. But perhaps an alliance could benefit both of them. Will the Penguin work for Jerome on Gotham before this season's end? It's looking like the smiling criminal could be his hope for freedom, especially since half of Ed Nygma's isn't exactly a willing ally.

At a preview event at Tumblr in New York City, actor Robin Lord Taylor explained the desperate point at which the audience found Oswald in the midseaon premiere. "That’s probably the lowest we’ve seen him in years," he says, "having lost everything and being back [in Arkham]." And if you think about it, Oswald has suffered so many of these "all is lost" moments, from being pushed into the lake in the pilot to losing both of his parents, to the injuries he suffered while attacking Galavan, to his unrequited lover backstabbing him. This is just the latest of many times in which he's had to partner with his worst enemies, start from nothing, and reinvent himself.

Barbara Nitke/FOX

But that's where Oswald thrives. "He’s at his best when he’s scrabbling his way back up," Taylor says. "That’s where he’s the most brilliant and the most resourceful." It's true. Time and time again, when things go horribly for Penguin, he works his way back up. He took over the Maroni crime family; he built his empire from the scraps of what Fish Mooney left behind. According to Taylor, "We’ll definitely see that come into play,” so Oswald is sure to survive this setback, even if it means taking a position working underneath Jerome. But what would that job even look like? It's possible that Jerome has designs on some kind of organized crime, or maybe even just needs someone familiar with the Gotham underworld in order to connect him to his network of supporters, but whatever the position, he'll surely give it some kind of twist.

And if they do wind up working together, don't expect things to run totally smoothly. "The two of them couldn't be more opposite. Oswald is about control and organization, and he wants everything to run like clockwork, while Jerome is like, breaking the clock," Taylor says. "He’s chaotic, maybe the scariest prospect to Oswald, because if he doesn’t have something to control, what does he have to live for?"

Think back to the death of his mother, the disastrous scheme to kill Isabella, or the elaborate plan to freeze Ed — all times that Oswald's desire for control has totally backfired and resulted in the exact opposite of what he was hoping for. That controlling attitude is what totally poisoned the Penguin and the Riddler's friendship and any hope of them having a relationship. So it remains to be seen if he can learn from those mistakes and stop trying to control everyone around him. As of the last episode — where in Oswald tricked Ed via the Riddler into showing up and helping him — he hasn't.

Perhaps, working with Jerome will make Oswald realize he needs to embrace a little chaos in order to get out of this situation, and to no longer be the lowest of the low on the food chain at Arkham. He embraced the absurdity of trying to make Jerome laugh, winning him another day in the dangerous environment. There's no way Oswald will be able to predict Jerome's whims forever, but for now, this potential partnership proves to be intriguing.

Additional reporting by Sage Young.