[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Gotham season 2 ahead.]
The Batman prequel series Gotham has taken its share of liberties with the accepted mythology of the Dark Knight and his world. One major point of interest with fans is how the series is going to handle the ascension and evolution of the most popular and anticipated of Batman villains, The Joker.
The recent and sudden demise of the heir apparent to the mantle of the Clown Prince of Crime – during the episode “The Last Laugh” – caught a lot of fans off guard and was certainly a source for confusion. Now, hints that come out of the New York Comic Con 2015 seem to indicate that perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan).
During the Gotham NYCC 2015 panel, writer and executive producer John Stephens had the following to say on the topic of the Joker and his legacy:
“If you watch the episodes closely, as they go forward this year you’ll start seeing the seeds of the way that story will continue to develop. And we probably have not seen the last of that fellow.”
The death of Jerome Valeska came as a huge shock to fans of Gotham. The impression was given that the second season would provide further evolution of the Joker character through Jerome, but instead the moment of his death was used to elevate the big baddie for the season, Theo Galavan (James Frain) to a whole other level. Jerome’s murderous antics had begun to inspire copycat killers by the end of “The Last Laugh”, but have we seen the last of Jerome altogether?
Fans of the comic books know that the Joker has been thought certainly dead countless times, only to come back bigger and badder than before. The question does remain, how could Gotham pull off this return? A few possibilities immediately come to mind, the first being that Jerome and Galavan secretly planned the entire scene on purpose, so that Theo can enact his secret plans. (Theo is a baddie who would know exactly where and how hard to stab you to make it look good, but not be fatal.) If the stabbing was fatal, there is always the possibility of the emergence of a Lazarus Pit and Ra’s Al Ghul (who’s been speculated to appear on Gotham season 2).
The audience may be anxious to see the boy who will become Joker grow towards his eventual place in Gotham‘s lore, but the show-runners are clearly going to keep that at a more gradual pace, in line with the spirit of the series. The idea that the Joker will become a symbol and more than just one man is an interesting flip on the Batman’s own concept. It may be worth noting that the surname Gotham chose to give its potential Joker is Valeska, which is slavic for “Glorious Ruler”. In order to ascend to the mantle of the Clown Prince of Crime the Joker in Gotham will clearly need to earn his chops and pay his dues.
Gotham returns with “Scarification” next Monday at 8pm on FOX.