[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Gotham ahead.]
Gotham wrapped up the first half of its third season with 'Beware The Green-Eyed Monster', with the fall finale seeing Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) racing to save his ex-lover from her unstable fiancé and Bruce, Alfred and Selena teaming up to steal from the mysterious Court of Owls. Much of Gotham's narrative this season has revolved around the introduction of Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) and the growing presence of the Court of Owls in the city, whilst also finding time to deal with at least some of Gordon's many personal demons - as he journeyed from downbeat mercenary to respected member of the GCPD once again.
One figure who has been conspicuous by his absence, however, is Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan). Introduced in the show's first season, Jerome was a circus traveler responsible for murdering his mother and the character immediately attracted speculation from fans that he was a young version of iconic Batman villain, The Joker. Jerome has flitted in and out of the show since his debut and despite dying last season, his recognizable laugh was heard at the end of the season two finale and Gotham's producers have confirmed that the character will return in season 3.
Whilst Jerome hasn't yet featured in the show's third season, a new promo for the show's mid-season premiere confirms that the character will make his long-awaited return when the show resumes after the winter break. The clip shows a bloodied Jerome appearing via grainy videotape footage and informing the citizens of Gotham City that "sanity is just a prison in your minds, wake up!" as Gordon and Bullock look on, possibly wondering if their city will ever get some peace and quiet.
The clip, predictably, refrains from revealing many details regarding Jerome's return, thought it can be assumed his revival is due to the meddling of last season's antagonist, Professor Strange (not to be confused with Marvel's Doctor of the same name). It is also unknown as to whether Jerome will take up the mantle of primary villain for the remainder of the season or whether an old foe such as Tetch or even Captain Barnes might break out of Arkham to wreak havoc. A Joker and Mad Hatter partnership may even be on the cards.
As for whether Jerome is indeed Gotham's interpretation of a young Joker is yet to be confirmed, with the show's producers remaining coy on the matter. The evidence so far, however, seems to suggest that Jerome acts more as an inspiration for an as-yet-unseen figure who will go on to become the real Joker - with his televised death in season two seemingly causing sudden maniacal laughter among some of the viewing public.
But with Gotham now in its third season - and arguably not enough of a hit to completely guarantee a fourth - it's surely unlikely that the show will keep the Batman universe's most infamous villain up its sleeve for much longer and the new clip certainly does nothing to dispel such speculation. The mad, glaring eyes and clown-like smile, the desire to turn Gotham City insane and that crazy Mark Hamill-esque laugh will all act as fuel on the 'Jerome is the Joker' fire - regardless or whether he is indeed revealed to be the Clown Prince of Crime.
Gotham season 3 resumes in January on FOX.