I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Oswald says it’s to remind himself never to make the mistake of letting love weaken him. That’s a great explanation for the whole popsicle!Ed thing but Oswald could have just brought Ed to the docks himself.
Why let him think he had the upper hand and another opportunity to kill Oswald? Was it simply to humiliate him by proving he could be outsmarted? Possibly.
I think there was one other reason for it though. This was Oswald’s version of Ed’s love test. In 3x14, Ed let’s Oswald think he has the opportunity to betray Ed to the trio so they can kill him. Ed’s reasoning for the test is that he wants to prove that Oswald’s love for him wasn’t real before killing him. I’ve always suspected that Ed did this because he thought it would be easier to get himself to kill Oswald after proving that his love was a lie and that he would sell him out to save himself. Oswald ends up proving him wrong, but Ed shoots him anyway.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Oswald is still in love with Ed in the finale. That being said, it must take a lot of willpower to freeze the man he loves. What’s one way to talk himself into going through with it? Prove that Ed would kill him again without hesitation. So he let’s Ed get free of his handcuffs, grab a gun, taunt him, bring him all the way back to the docks where he already “killed” him once. He waits for Ed to actually pull the trigger before revealing everything. Basically, Ed failed the test.
I really do believe that Oswald wouldn’t have been able to go through with it if he had any indication that Ed had regretted killing him. Or that he still cared about him but unfortunately he never found out about the drug use, hallucinations, etc (I’m still so bitter about that). So freezing Ed was the only thing Oswald could do instead of actually killing him. Otherwise, Ed would have continued to try and kill him.
I’ll just start this off by axing off a HUGE group of characters right off the bat: the traitor is not a teacher, has to be from class A and cannot be from any other class, and is not a “minor” member of class A, such as Mineta or Sero. I am assuming that those characters who have been somewhat involved in the main plotline of the story are those that have the potential to be the traitor. After cutting it down from that, I’ll just run through specific instances.
Of course it’s not Midoriya, or the story would make no sense; same with Bakugou due to having been kidnapped. I’m cutting out Iida, Todoroki, and Momo for their involvement in helping to rescue Bakugou in the AfO arc, and also because they all have a family history in heroics. Froppy I’m cutting out more because of the way the story is written makes her a really awkward fit as traitor. Denki is one of the theories I’ve seen floating around, but I think that from the most recent arc, there’s a little too much leaning away from Denki having the capacity for being a traitor.
Kirishima, although I definitely wouldn’t be too surprised if it did turn out to be him, still doesn’t fit the bill for me. My initial reason was that Kirishima obviously wants to save Bakugou from the villains during that particular arc - he initiates the entire thing. While even despite on that, I was open to the idea of Kirishima being the traitor, but thinking on it there are two other reasons I can’t sink my teeth in. The first is that Kirishima is just… so honest?? and also Bakugou’s kinda-probably best friend? If the villains really wanted Bakugou to join the villain side, Kirishima probably would have known, and also he could have easily spoken to Bakugou about STUFF and weeded out whether or not Bakugou was really villain material. He also strikes me as honest enough to bide his time with Bakugou and then when the time came, literally just saying ‘hey, Bakugou join me on the villains’ side.’
My second reason is crucial: Kirishima is just not AS close to Midoriya as pretty much every other main character. While I’m sure Midoriya would be upset if Kirishima was the traitor, it wouldn’t have the same effect as a lot of the other main characters in the series. The shock factor for Midoriya, appropriately, would be more like “oh no, how could you?” and I don’t think that’s what Horikoshi wants. Good traitor reveals are big, painful, and close to the heart. They’re someone who the main character trusts, and a lot of the time, a character who’s been there from the start.
Where I am with the “Ed’s feelings” thing, is that he’s always loved/been attracted to Oswald, but has always had a reason to not WANT to feel that way and to push those feelings away…
Season 2: “I just got out of a romantic relationship that ended in the worst possible way so I’m down on the whole concept. Also Oswald is freaked out enough that I brought him home so it’s probably best if I don’t spook him.”
Between seasons: “I screwed him over and am probably pushing my luck having him come visit me in the first place.”
Season 3: “I can’t risk screwing up this opportunity for feelings that aren’t returned.”
“I just got a second chance at a normal happy life so I’ll be throwing myself into that now thanks.”
“Everything I love dies.”
“He hurt and betrayed me and caring for him makes that worse and I need to kill him to make it go away.”
“He’s dead and I miss him so much it’s affecting my health and I need to not anymore.”
“My entire new identity is built around having killed him so I need to kill him again so I need to muster up all the hate I can.”
So he lies to himself and tries so very hard to hate Oswald and it’s just… not convincing anyone.
Meanwhile his actions and expressions give him away - spends the whole time first acting like Oswald’s adoring boyfriend (without ever crossing the line into actually making a move), and then looking conflicted as hell any time he has to confront Oswald and coming up with the weakest reasons why he “could never love him”.
And also angling super hard for Oswald to tell him he loves him again; you are not slick, Ed.
So yes - always loved him, never wanted to love him.
So I’m wondering, has any of our fandom’s great gifset creators, done a “Rise and Fall of Oswald Cobblepot” by season yet? Or if anyone has chart making as a hobby, I think that would be an interesting one to see.
I was thinking earlier about how far Penguin has fallen but then I realized him being shot and tossed in the bay doesn’t actually seem like that bad in comparison to other “lows” he’s had.
Take S2. You think him holding his dear mother as she dies would be as low as he could get, but then he finds himself in Arkham with his brain being melted out of his ears. And then, he loses his newly found father! It’s like does this kid ever catch a break!? But in the end he’s the one saving the day as Butch blows Galavan to bits.
It just seems like the lower he falls, the higher he rises. I think that depending on how he gets himself out of this, if he has his wits about him, he can turn this around rather quickly. He’s bounced back from worse! And even higher than before. I think it’s one of the things we all love about him. His ability to get up no matter what knocks him down.
Ed hurt him. He let himself be vulnerable and he was earnest and it didn’t matter. He still lost this fight. He is undoubtedly down right now. But he won’t stay there. It’s only a matter of time before The Penguin rises once more.