FOX's Gotham enters its sophomore season with an impressive amount of audience goodwill for such a divisive premise: the early days of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in a pre-Batman Gotham City. The show has already defied certain expectations as it introduces villains and plotlines into the Batman universe years before fans are used to seeing them, but bucking such expectations has proven interesting television.
Gotham's second season has been touted as the 'Rise of the Villains,' with a serialized story to play out over the course of the year. The season 2 episode 'Knock Knock' (read our review here) finds Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) and his gang of escaped Arkham inmates wreaking havoc on Gotham City. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) enlisted the aid of Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) in unlocking the late Thomas Wayne's secrets.
Now, a new batch of production stills from the next episode, titled 'The Last Laugh' has been released. While they don't exactly shed any light on any of Gotham's ongoing mysteries, they do give us a glimpse of many of our principle characters in what appears to be an innocent magic show gone wrong.
By the time this episode begins, Jim Gordon has convinced his erstwhile partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to join him in tracking an enemy from their past, which brings them head to head with the maniacal Jerome. Meanwhile, the magic show at a gala for Gotham Children's Hospital evidently takes a turn for the worst as a hostage situation breaks out. Bruce Wayne has clearly been enticed to grace the stage as part of the show, but what is Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) doing there? And how does Gordon factor in to the situation? We'll have to wait to find out.
Whether or not new fan-favorite villain Jerome will be revealed as this version of Gotham City's Joker remains to be seen, and fans are waiting to see how certain teased plot elements - like the Court of Owls - will fit into the 'Rise of the Villains' arc. Gotham has confounded expectations by ending its debut season on a strong note and retooling the Batman origin story, but time will tell just how long the show can keep this alternate origin going.
Gotham returns with “The Last Laugh” next Monday at 8pm on FOX.