It has been a long time sine Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome made people think he was the proto-Joker, but next week, Gotham promises to reveal whether he his or not. Jerome’s been through the ringer over the last few seasons on FOX’s Batman prequel, so in the event he’s found to not be the future Clown Prince of Crime, it’ll be a tough pill to swallow for Jerome die-hards (if there is such a thing), and especially for a guy who died, came back to life, and had his face cut off in the long road to discovering he’s a fraud.
But from a new promo for next week’s episode, ‘Mandatory Brunch Meeting,’ Jerome sure looks and sounds (he really has the Heath Ledger Joker voice down pat) like the real deal. But this is Gotham we’re talking about, just because it looks like a Joker and quacks like a Joker doesn’t necessarily make it one — just ask the guy who plays Bruce Wayne, David Mazouz.
The actor recently shared some insight into the character, saying, “He’s not the Joker, that’s all I’m saying. He’s definitely the inspiration for the Joker and the way that the Joker comes into the show is one of the most brilliant things Gotham has ever done.” Even more recently, Mazouz said that Jerome would, in fact, play a key role in the real Joker’s creation, and that the reveal would be a huge “shock.”
That level of hype naturally leads to a rush of speculation. If Jerome isn’t the Joker, then who is? And if ‘Mandatory Brunch Meeting’ is going to reveal the real deal, does the trailer give viewers any hints as to who it might be? Practically the entire Gotham rogue’s gallery is teased to make an appearance in the next episode, and they’re all established players, like Penguin, Mr. Freeze, the Mad Hatter, the Riddler, Firefly, and Scarecrow, etc. That lineup just raises more questions; chief among them: Has the audience even been introduced to the real Joker?
Then again, it’s worth taking Mazouz’ words with a grain of salt. The actor could easily be playing fast and loose with his use of the word “inspiration” and exactly what he means by “shocking” the audience. At this point, taking Jerome to the next level and finally bleaching his face and dying his hair green might qualify as shocking for this series. Either way, it looks like confirmation on whose playing Batman’s greatest villain in a series without Batman is finally on its way.
Gotham continues next Thursday with ‘Mandatory Brunch Meeting’ @8pm on FOX.