Warning: This article contains spoilers from Gotham Season 3.
Despite being a DC television series, Gotham's ratings have never really been anything to cheer about. That's okay though because the series is popular enough to generate buzz on social media and due to its #Batman related premise, the lower #TV ratings are often seen as unimportant.
However, after almost two months off the air, Gotham returned this past Monday with it's Winter premiere episode "Ghost" and the series saw an increase in viewers. The majority of third season episodes have averaged out at about 3.5 million viewers but the latest episode managed to pull in 3.69 million viewers. It's not a huge increase but for Gotham it is rather momentous.
Gotham isn't everybody's cup of tea and that's okay too — some people prefer the traditional straight-from-the comics approach when it comes to live action adaptations of their favourite superheroes. This season specifically has seen the Gotham writers experiment with their material though Penguin's sexuality and his unrequited love for Nygma.
This viewership increase could be down to the fact that people had time to catch up on the series during its hiatus and thus tuned in for the premiere. Another reason could be due to absence of The CW's Supergirl, which is currently on a mid-season break. Gotham usually airs in the same timelsot, splitting the #superheroes audience so perhaps the Supergirl audience tuned into Gotham this week instead. However, its more than likely that the increase in viewership was down to the heavily promoted return of Cameron Monaghan and his sadistically fantastic character Jerome Valeska.
Jerome Is A Beloved Character And Monaghan's Performance Has Become Iconic
Although opinion on Gotham is often divided, the one thing that even the die-hard comic book fans can agree on is that Monaghan is excellent as Jerome Valeska. Due to the character bearing a significant resemblance in behaviour to Batman's arch nemisis, #TheJoker, many people have tuned in over the years merely out of curiosity to see Gotham's Joker's origin story. I don't think anybody expected Gotham to pull off what they did with the Jerome character and the sheer brilliance of it all comes down to Monaghan's award worthy performance.
Monaghan is best known for his role as Ian Gallagher on Showtime's Shameless, and anyone who has watched Shameless knows how good Monaghan can be at handling tough and emotional material. However, his performance as Jerome brought him to new heights and I was amongst the many people who were outraged when Jerome was killed back in Season 2 — the fans couldn't understand why the writers would kill off arguably their best attribute.
However, after announcing that Monaghan would be returning to the show, executive producer John Stephens created a monster — quite literally — as everyone had their own rumors and theories about how the character would come back, whether he was going to be resurrected from the dead and most importantly, would he transform into the clown prince of crime, The Joker?
Between posting his iconic laugh on social media to tweeting snapshots of his new look, Monaghan sent the fans into meltdown and it builded up enough speculation to get the entire world interested in Gotham again. Following, the mid-season finale, FOX aired a promo that had little — or nothing — to do with the current storylines of the show. Instead, the promo focused only on Jerome's' return, building up even more anticipation as the world awaited the return of the king — everybody wanted to know if Jerome will become The Joker.
Are you going crazy to find out more about Jerome's return? Check out these:
- We Know How Cameron Monaghan's Jerome Is Going To Be Resurrected On Gotham And It's Terrifying
- This Amazing Fan Edit Gives Us Our First Look At Cameron Monaghan's Joker On Gotham
- Destined To Do This Forever: Batman And The Joker Could Face Off Sooner Than We Think On Gotham
The Viewers Want More Of Jerome Valeska
With the amount if suspense and build up that went into this storyline there was bound to be somewhat of an increase in viewership. Gotham is billing this as a three episode arc free from the previous and subsequent parts of Season 3 — it will exist on its own like a mini movie.
The writers are clearly aware of the audience that Jerome brings to the table. Of course, having Jerome feature on the show more regularly would be difficult due to Monaghan's other projects, specifically Shameless which was just renewed for an eighth season. With Gotham's Jerome storyline only just beginning, there are still two episodes left and I guess we'll see for sure if people are tuning in to see Jerome — by the looks of things this is definitely the case.
Is Jerome The Best Thing For Gotham?
As we've seen in shows in the past, too much of a good thing can potentially ruin what we've grown to love about a show. For example, perhaps one of the most alluring things about Jerome is the fact that he frequents the city of Gotham much less than the other villains. If Jerome became a series regular, would we grow tired off him? Possibly, but I'm thinking that the answer would be no.
Robin Lord Taylor's Oswald Cobblepot is easily one of the greatest things about the show and he has featured in almost every episode thus far. If, for some reason, the show were to remove him then Gotham would suffer tremendously. The same philosophy applies to Jerome — without him, Gotham is missing something. The several episodes that have featured the character have been some of the strongest we've seen and I have a feeling that this trend will continue into the coming episodes.
To answer my original question, Yes, Jerome is a great thing for Gotham because, whether they intended to or not, the writers have invented one of the greatest and most original portrayals of The Joker we've ever seen. Straying from the source material has allowed the writers to make something original and new, and Monaghan's portrayal of the character has set a new standard. Let's hope the writers don't squander it and kill him off again because Gotham is less compelling without the threat of this laughing maniac.
Check out the preview for next week's episode "Smile Like You Mean It":
There are still two more Gotham episodes left in this arc and with Jerome set to rear his no-longer-pretty little head, I have a feeling that Gotham could be set to produce its strongest episodes yet. The increase in viewership certainly seems to suggest that Jerome is appreciated by the fans and let's hope that this will lead to more appearances from Monaghan's magnificent clown prince of crime in the future.
Gotham continues Mondays at 8/7c on Fox. Did you tune in to Gotham only to see Jerome return? Tell me in the comment section below.