Spoilers await those who aren't all caught up on Gotham.
Lots of things came to a head on tonight's midseason finale of Gotham - or came off of heads, as far as Jerome's return was concerned - and perhaps the biggest moment of all was the resolution (for now) of the still-young Penguin vs. Riddler feud. After an episode in which Ed sidestepped plenty of chances to enact a lethal revenge on Oswald over Isabella's death, he actually did the dirty deed just before the credits, shooting his former friend in the stomach and watching him sinking beneath the water. So...The Penguin is dead now? Let's discuss.
While initially pitting Oswald and Ed up in an amicable way made sense as far as shared villainy was concerned, Gotham flipped the switch by throwing "love" into it, and Penguin's choice to end Isabella's life due to such emotions offered more than enough jumbled motivation for Ed to choose to kill Oswald for reals. He took a long hard look at Oswald throughout the episode, from his reactions to the way he pled for things, and eventually decided that this ruthless bastard wouldn't survive Ed's own judgment and sentencing. (Shhh, don't let Michael Chiklis' Executioner hear words like that, or he'll wake up the whole neighborhood again.)
If this cliffhanger ending is indeed legitimate and Penguin (or this version of him) is actually dead, that would be a pretty bold move on Gotham's part, but not an altogether terrible one. I love Robin Lord Taylor's portrayal through and through, but his mayoral storyline hasn't produced any spectacular stories on the Big Picture front, and his villainy has only come in small doses for a while. Killing him off while spinning Ed into Riddler proper in the remainder of Season 3 would give Gotham a more formidable lead baddie that is chilling, weird and randomly homicidal, and then Gotham City could get another mayor who's presumably even worse.
But is that bold move something that Gotham would actually do?
Gotham fans know very well how this show handles dead characters, and it's quite similar to other DC comic book series that aren't in the same TV universe. I mean, in this very episode, Cameron Monaghan's Jerome was terrorizing Gotham City after being brought back to life. Even when people aren't coming back from the dead on this show, some character is talking about when it happened at another point. Oswald himself was the one responsible for Fish Mooney's death, only to have her return more powerful than ever. Penguin 2.0 might be on the horizon.
Also, watching Oswald take a bullet to the gut absolutely had some shock value going for it, and it made sense for those characters' combined arc as a whole, but it wasn't such a convincing death that it positively cannot be explained in some other way when the show returns. We know Ed's mind works more on the psychological side of evil-doing, evidenced extremely well through him making Oswald think his father's ghost was haunting him, so it's not out of the question that Ed used some kind of a trick bullet to make it look like Oswald was bleeding out. Or maybe Barbara and Oswald planned for this and had him wearing some kind of kevlar prosthetic on his chest, complete with bloody squib packs. There are any number of possible (if not plausible) justifications for what viewers saw.
So what do you guys think? Has Gotham completely twisted up the Batman mythos by killing off one of the major rogues just as Bruce Wayne has made his "I will not kill" declaration? Or will we see him once again prancing the streets of Gotham City when Season 3 returns?