While FOX’s Gotham is ostensibly about the journey of steadfast heroes Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne as they get ever closer to becoming the grizzled old lawman and the caped crime fighter that they’re respectively best known as, an equally integral element of the series is the development of Batman’s trademark rogues gallery of villains. Getting the most screen time so far has been Edward “Riddler” Nygma, Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot, and Selina “Catwoman” Kyle, but that hasn’t stopped other notable baddies like Mr. Freeze, The Mad Hatter, and Dr. Hugo Strange from showing up to cause carnage of their own as well.
Of course, easily the most iconic Batman villain out there is The Joker, and surprisingly enough he’s one character Gotham has yet to firmly pin down. Fans assumed that they were witnessing The Joker’s small-screen genesis during season 1, with the introduction of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan). Jerome received a suitably grisly origin into the series, getting locked up in Arkham Asylum after confessing to the murder of his mother.
With the emergence of billionaire bad guy Theo Galavan early in season 2, Jerome reemerged and was granted license to create chaos all over the city. It turned out though that Theo was merely using him as part of a con game, and disposed of Jerome once he was no longer needed. Fittingly for a possible Joker, not even death could end Jerome’s reign of terror, and with his recent resurrection, the sadistic psycho has but one target in mind: Bruce Wayne. FOX has released a promo for Gotham’s winter finale, titled The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, and it presents a fuller picture of the nightmarish carnival Jerome has planned for his teenage nemesis.
While it still remains unclear as to whether or not Jerome will end up being The Joker that Batman fans know and hate to love, the similarities become more and more clear with each passing return of the character to the Gotham mix. Especially Joker-esque now is Jerome’s scarred face, owed to the fact that it was literally cut off his head and later reattached. If Jerome isn’t “Mr. J”, he’s most definitely an inspiration for the man who will eventually assume that mantle, and target Bruce’s adult alter ego.
Outside of Jerome’s abduction of Bruce, Gordon has his own problems to deal with, via the arrival of his shady uncle (James Remar). Nygma and Penguin are also forced to face their issues head-on, and it’s anyone’s guess where that will leave their relationship. Sadly, fans will have to wait until late-April to witness the fallout of this pivotal episode, because as noted above, it’s the winter finale. One questions the wisdom of taking another extended break just a few weeks after Gotham returned from its last one, but that’s neither here nor there. While it’s gone, the Mondays at 8pm timeslot will be taken over by 24: Legacy. One wonders how Eric Carter would handle Jerome.
Gotham’s winter finale airs Monday, January 30 at 8pm.