Gotham may finally be on the road to revealing the true Joker - and Jerome actor Cameron Monaghan might still play him. When Gotham began, its M.O. was to focus on the corruption of the titular city and follow the exploits of a young James Gordon. Of course, the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne was also an inciting incident of the series, meaning that Bruce Wayne's evolution has been a key part of the show. But it wasn't until Gotham embraced its pantheon of villains—and a healthy dose of camp—that it finally hit its stride as a must-watch comic book show.
Though Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman are big names the show has regularly featured, fans have often wondered if Batman's biggest rogue would ever appear. The minds behind the series played coy for a long time, though they threw in recurring references to The Joker in the form of incorporeal laughter, 'HAHAHA' graffiti, and even a gang named after the Red Hood - the Clown Prince of Crime's one-time alter-go from The Killing Joke. That all changed, however, when Jerome Valeska came to Gotham and seemed to give fans a new take on The Joker.
Gotham Keeps Teasing Jerome as the Joker
Over the past few seasons, Cameron Monaghan has done stellar work as Jerome Valeska. Though his initial appearance worried fans that Gotham would poorly handle another villain (especially such an iconic one), things began to change over the years. Just as The Riddler and Barbara Gordon morphed from obnoxious to absurdly delightful, Jerome's change from a seemingly meek boy into a monstrous villain quickly made him into a fan-favorite. And while the producers of the show have continually stressed that Jerome isn't the Joker, everything from his mannerisms to his look have said otherwise.
After Jerome's resurrection from the dead last season, he even gained the scarred face of many versions of the comic book character, and began wearing white cake paint and red lipstick to accentuate his Joker-like features. At this point, all Jerome lacks is the name and green hair of his comic book counterpart. As such, fans have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how anyone else could arrive in the city and basically steal Jerome's image to become The Joker. But this week's episode of Gotham may have just revealed how the series will handle things.
Enter Jeremiah Valeska
'Mandatory Brunch Meeting' manages a few interesting feats. We've heard Gotham will homage The Long Halloween, and sure enough this week brings together an assortment of that comic's villains including Solomon Grundy, Scarecrow, and Penguin. But the episode also managed to throw in a nod to The Killing Joke, the book that first took a look at The Joker's origin.
In Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, we learn that The Joker was once a failed comedian and has one bad day. After taking the persona of the Red Hood and attempting a life of crime to support his family, he's stopped by The Batman and undergoes his iconic transformation in a vat at Ace Chemicals. The story at once humanized The Joker and also drew a clear parallel between the villain and Batman and the two sides of the same coin they represent. And sure enough, this week's Gotham alludes to a character being one bad day away from insanity.
We saw set photos of Cameron Monaghan as The Joker recently, looking like a cross between the cover of The Killing Joke and Jack Nicholson in Batman. But the character's missing scars were a mystery until 'Mandatory Brunch Meeting.' In the episode, we meet reclusive genius Xander Wilde, who was born Jeremiah Valeska. It turns out, Jerome has had a twin brother this whole time who was hidden away at a young age to protect him. But as Jerome hints, Jeremiah's story of abuse isn't all it seems. Because of that, he'll be one of the many people Jerome exposes to a new Scarecrow concoction—which works a lot like The Joker's iconic laughing gas.
It seems that Jeremiah's exposure to the gas will cause him to go mad, possibly bringing out his inner Jerome or causing him to mimic his brother. Either way, this seems to be Gotham's way of having its cake and eating it too. Jerome won't, in fact, be The Joker. But Cameron Monaghan will still get to play the Clown Prince of Crime on Gotham.