Gotham 2.03: Jerome Valeska and The Last Laugh

The third episode of Gotham‘s second season aired tonight, and it raised some questions while dealing with a lot of familiar bat-tropes; Magic shows, disguised villains, billionaire heroes, etc…

Spoilers abound…

So, Theo Galavan had a plan to become more than a man, he wants to be a hero, a true son of Gotham. This isn’t anything new to Bat-fans. From Oswald Cobblepot to Tommy Elliot to Carmine Falcone to the Court of Owls, Batman never seems to have a shortage of disingenuous rich men who think they are Gotham’s one true son. So now we add Theo Galavan to that list. Theo seems to think he family name was betrayed and his relatives supposedly helped to build Gotham. His plan to get back on top – arrive in Gotham, free some psychos to wreak havoc, and step in the visible savior of a city terrorized.

theo galavan

Galavan was quickly overshadowed this season though by the return of one Jerome Valeska. A one-off villain from the first season, locked up for killing his mother in a traveling circus, and seems to share quite a few character traits with the Clown Prince of Crime. For this reason, many thought last season that perhaps this was in fact an origin story for the Joker. I was resistant to this idea.

  1. The Joker’s backstory is best left a mystery. The less we know about him the better.
  2. The best part of Joker is his obsession with Batman, and without Batman, there is no Joker worth having.

Anyhow, Jerome pays a visit to his blind fortune-teller father, and before can complete the murder of his second parental unit, the old man lays a curse on the grinning assassin.

“You will be a curse upon Gotham. Children will wake from sleep screaming at the thought of you. Your legacy will be death and madness.”

The curse doesn’t save the old man, but I’ll get to that in a minute. After this, Jerome, Barbara, and the Galavans attend Dr. Thompkins benefit magic show. The way they were pimping this impressive magician in the promos, I though we might see Zatanna, but that wasn’t the case.

Zatanna Red

Things at the event don’t go as Leslie planned,  but they don’t really go as Jerome planned either. Jerome is killed. Now, Cameron Monaghan did an excellent job as a character that they wanted us to think was the Joker. And while I’ve predicted from the start that this wouldn’t be the case, I was still a little surprised by Jerome’s apparent death at the hands of Theo Galavan. At least this early given the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the character.

Producer Bruno Heller has already let slip that Joker will show up in season two, but I think they’ll be hard pressed to cast him any better than they just did.

jerome slab

The episode ends with Jerome’s body on a slab, and a grin on his face, but I’m not totally convinced that we’ve seen the last of him. Safe bet, he wasn’t the Joker, and he’s dead now. Super long shot though, since we know the Joker is supposed to show up, Jerome IS the Joker, and someone is going to find a way to bring him back. Maybe bleaching his skin in the process. But that’s just a theory. In any case, for the time being, RIP Jerome.

And should he return or not, we do know that the curse from his old man seems to be taking effect, acting much like some of Joker’s gases, sending people into a laugh induced psychotic break. This then resulting in multiple deaths of a violent nature. Season two is pretty solid so far…

Here’s a look at episode 2.04, which sees The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis join the cast!

Bang it here for more Gotham news, or check out our greatest Joker moments of all time here! And if you want more Cameron Monaghan, check out Showtime’s Shameless.

Images: DC Comics, Fox Broadcasting


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