FOX’s crime drama Gotham is unique in that it’s the story of Batman long before the Dark Knight ever took on the mantle of the superhero. Instead, in this incarnation, while Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) grows up in Wayne Manor, out in the city Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been risking his life and reputation to fight crime and corruption. A new villain is being born every week on Gotham, as the city that will eventually need Batman’s saving slowly takes shape.
So far, we’ve seen origin stories for Oswald Cobblepot (the Penguin), Edward Nygma (the Riddler), Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy) just to name a few. Yet one classic Batman villain that has been oddly absent so far in Gotham, as far as viewers being able to nail down his identity goes, is the Joker. There have been a few candidates already for the future Clown Prince of Crime, but none have managed to stick around as of yet. The only one that ever came close was Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), though the character died at the beginning of season 2 more than a year ago.
Ever since Jerome was suddenly killed by Theo Galavan, numerous copycats across Gotham City have begun mimicking his laughter, craziness and even clothing after seeing reports about him on the news. It seems the prophecy that Jerome’s legacy would be death and madness has become a reality, even without him still being alive. However, a new trailer (above) for this week’s midseason return of Gotham teases that Jerome may not be as gone as everyone thought.
In this Monday’s episode, titled ‘Mad City: Ghosts,’ Gordon and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) discover a follower of Jerome plans to bring the madman back to life. The last time we saw the character was at the morgue, so it’s not clear yet how he manages defy death, but it’s clear in the teaser that Jerome is definitely back. His face is stitched up, but it’s definitely him saying, “Gotham has no heroes, nothing but darkness. I’d like to share that with you,” followed by his trademark laugh.
The character of Jerome will reportedly stick around for a three-episode arc, before the show goes back on hiatus until April. According to executive producer John Stephens, he’ll also be even more unhinged: “Someone who has basically gone through death and come back to life has a very different point of view. … It’s odd to say he’s more psychotic than he was before.” The big question now is whether Jerome will die again after this new arc or if he’ll live to become the Joker once and for all. The jury’s still out.
Gotham returns on Monday with ‘Ghosts’ @8pm on FOX.