Warning: SPOILERS for Gotham ahead
Gotham has certainly been drawing out the question of whether or not we’ll see the true Joker, but tonight’s twist seems to have finally answered that question. For a long time it seemed like Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) was surely transforming into the TV show’s version of Batman’s most iconic villain, but Gotham threw a wrench in the works when it revealed that Jerome had an identical twin brother, Jeremiah. Jeremiah had been living under the name Xander Wilde, but Jerome found him in last week’s episode, and revealed his plan to drive his brother insane using his laughing gas.
This week it seemed like Jeremiah might finally be safe from his brother when Jerome died (again) – killed by Jim Gordon, who chased the villain up to a rooftop and then shot him in the chest, so that he toppled off the edge of the building. Jerome clung on for a while (literally) when he caught hold of a pipe, but when Jim offered to pull him back up, he declined, saying that he would outlive Jim anyway. “I’m more than a man,” Jerome said. “I’m an idea. A philosophy. And I will live on in the shadows with Gotham’s discontent.” With a final promise that “you’ll be seeing me soon,” he let himself fall to his death.
It seems like the nightmare might be over until the end of the episode, when Jeremiah receives a present in purple wrapping paper, purporting to be from Wayne Enterprises. He opens it to find a jack-in-the-box (this is the point where he probably should have spotted a trap), which contains a deformed clown head. The clown head then sprays Jeremiah right in the face with Jerome’s Joker Venom, and as Jeremiah staggers away and begins to transform, a recorded message from Jerome plays and confirms this gas won’t kill him: it’ll just drive him mad.
“Hello, brother. Didn’t think you could get rid of me so easily, did you? See, my days were numbered but you, oh, you can continue on for me. Be my ultimate revenge. So, calm yourself. Breathe it in. This gas was a special mixture I made, just for you. Something to finally set you free. It’s time to have some fun. Burn it down, brother. Burn it all down.”
The brief shot of Jeremiah grabbing his hair as he transforms into the Joker is, of course, a direct reference to the moment of transformation in Alan Moore’s classic origin story The Killing Joke. In that comic, the Joker is a failed stand-up comedian who gains his bleached white skin, green hair, red lips and trademark insanity after jumping into some chemical waste in an effort to escape Batman. In Gotham the route taken is slightly different, but it looks like the result will be the same.
Interestingly, this episode also gave us our first meeting between Jeremiah and the young Bruce Wayne, which was cordial enough. Bruce has already had to survive several encounters with Jerome, but it looks like now he’ll have to contend with the other Valeska brother. Will Jeremiah use his proposed power generator plans to cause mayhem and destruction? Or will he have other plans up his sleeve?
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
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