The joke’s on us in Fox’s Gotham

Warning: Contains spoilers to the latest episode of Gotham: The Last Laugh

jerome

Last season, FOX teased us with the coming of Joker. We were first introduced to Jerome. At first he was a shy, quiet boy who lived with his mom and worked at the circus with her, but later came his darker side. What we saw in Jerome was possibly the beginning of the Joker and his descent to madness before truly becoming Batman’s ultimate foe. As the second season came, we saw more and more of the Joker with each on screen presence of Jerome: the laugh, the smile, the insanity. As if Jerome had come to terms with his psychotic side, each scene we saw we no longer saw Jerome, but instead the future Joker. Now, the last episode, The Last Laugh gave us the biggest twist in the series: Jerome gets killed. Which now begs the question, if Jerome wasn’t the Joker, then who is?

It’s been mentioned that the Joker is one of the villains that we will see the origin of in Gotham, but instead provided us with the Joker himself and killed him off. Cameron Monaghan’s performance is nothing short of stellar as he channels both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger with his charm, wit and his wicked laugh. The first 3 episodes of Season 2 really pushed his madness; all that was missing was a chemical plant. But what was the purpose of Jerome in Gotham? If he isn’t the Joker, then why was he so strongly built around the Joker? The stand out feature was his comical laugh and his voice fairly similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker. He has the evil grin/smile of the Joker and even presents himself in comical fashion similar to Jack Nicholson’s Joker. And after his death, madness triggered across many viewers with them laughing hysterically at people’s misery.

jerome-death

The problem I see with the direction Gotham went with Jerome is that he resembled the Joker too much. He was promoted as the Joker. He walked, talked, laughed like the Joker. He has knockout gas like the Joker. He even died with a smile like Nicholson’s Joker. All they needed to do was have him bleached white and add green hair and you have the Joker. And with his death it’s possible that the real Joker will be influenced into becoming the Joker from the telecast. All the laughs and wit and charisma that the Joker displays will be considered a copy to Jerome, given that his influence could have caused mass hysteria after the live murders. Everything that he displays, his persona is all built around that telecast of a crazy 18-year-old kid who went insane. Whether or not that may be the case, it’s entirely plausible considering Jerome is the true Joker in Gotham and whoever comes after for the Joker’s origin will be nothing more than a copycat. Which is a shame since Cameron Monaghan did a fantastic job.

Catch Gotham weekly on Fox Monday nights.

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Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 287 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.