So, was that really supposed to be our introduction to the Joker? There was a lot of hype leading up to Episode 16 of [Gotham](series:1127075) being our introduction to Batman's greatest nemesis and the promo materials for Gotham did nothing to dissuade that theory. If you were asking whether or not that creepy cackling guy, played by Cameron Monaghan, was really the Joker, you might be continuing to ask yourself that question after credits roll on "The Blind Fortune Teller".
This Episode is No Joke(r)?
The episode left me wondering if the folks behind Gotham liked the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight so much that they thought fans would be happy to see a few minutes of a possible Joker appearance in the same scenario. Maybe? One thing is for sure, Gotham loves to tease and wink at viewers.
The other big question was how the show was going to treat The Flying Graysons, the acrobatic act that spawns Dick Grayson, aka O.G. Robin. The answer to that question is much like the Joker question - in a rather unsatisfying way.
A Circus Brawl
With the stage set for something to happen on Jim Gordon's date with newly anointed Gotham P.D. medical officer, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, at the circus, a brawl breaks out that sees John Grayson getting beat up by one of the circus clowns. For some unknown reason, Homicide Detective Jim Gordon takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of this.
The Death of Joker's Mom?
Well, it would certainly seem that Jim has a bit of his own psychic abilities as it just so happens there is a dead body at the circus - the reason the clown and the acrobat were fighting was over a snake charmer named Lyla. I won't get into the details about how they find Lyla's corpse or why it was hidden or why the circus manager says, "That's how we found her!" and he doesn't get into any trouble for hiding and not reporting a murder. Or more importantly, why the circus manager knew about the murder but no one else in the circus seems to know. Was he going to tell Lyla's son, Jerome, rather than let him find the body with the police? Yeah, this isn't the best episode of Gotham.
You Got Marvel in My DC!
Anyway, the titular Blind Fortune Teller shows up (hey, Tio Salamanca!) to drop a hint about where Gordon and his new partner (yeah, Bullock is totally sidelined this episode) Dr. Thompkins may find a clue - it leads them to a bloody hatchet with the initials of The Hellfire Club. Yes, that's right, somehow Marvel's Hellfire Club ended up in DC's Gotham. But it's probably the least confounding thing about the episode.
All it takes is this bloody hatchet for Gordon to figure out that the Blind Fortune Teller is covering up for Lyla's son Jerome. How'd he put that together exactly? Shhh, don't ask, just cue the interrogation scene. If you've seen the episode's teaser you've seen the cackling laugh and creepy smile Jerome puts on once he's found out - but perhaps the most damning evidence of possible Joker-y things to come is when he goes on about how his mom having sex with circus clowns is what made him snap. Yikes!
Bruce & The Board
Meanwhile, Lil' Bruce Wayne is cracking down on Wayne Enterprises' corruption by sitting down with the Board and politely telling them to stop being so corrupt or else he'll tell the investors. Good on you, Bruce! And Fish Mooney is still hanging out in the weird dungeon she got put in for confusing reasons that this episode does try to make any clearer. But she is about to meet the dungeon boss. Did Falcone put her down here? Did I miss that part? Feel free to let me know in the comments.
Last But Not Least
We get a small dose of Penguin, which is understandable in this episode, but it's still a shame since he's one of the best things Gotham has going for it. He mostly pops up to let us know that his club isn't going so well (which doesn't surprise me since it seems to be a punk rock bar one moment and a jazz club the next) and he still really loves his Mom.
Oh, and lest I forget Barbara Gordon shows up! Just when you thought the show might have forgotten about her. She hangs out, trying on outfits, with the two other recurring characters Gotham doesn't quite know what to do with yet - Lil' Ivy and Lil' Catwoman. Oh, and she also walks in on Gordon making out with Dr. Thompkins - because Gordon, like the audience, totally forgot Barbara was a character on this show.
What did you think? Was it just me or was this a bit of a bummer of an episode after a pretty decent run of good ones?