Disclaimer: Full spoilers for Gotham S01E16 'The Blind Fortune Teller' ahead! (and possible small spoilers for future eps)
Okay I'm not really going to review the episode, or talk about something completely new, but after my post last week, I just wanted to take a moment and appreciate what just happened on Gotham, and what's going to happen next.
Gotham has already (in)famously established itself as a series that uses the vast amount of villains the DC universe has to offer, including the most well-known, to their advantage. The best example of that happened on last night's episode, where we met Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), who could possibly be the Joker. Here is what Executive Producer Bruce Heller said about this possibility:
I can tell you this is a long game plan and a long story that we are telling here. What I can promise you is this is not a bait-and-switch. This is not someone who is just a character who is going to disappear. This is not a red herring. It's the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker. He might be. But like I say, this is a story that begins about seven or eight years before the actual Joker arrives on the scene in his fully-fledged persona. As we're telling with all of these characters, the origin story of that villain begins Monday.
Now let's take a look at next weeks promo.
This promo not only shows Bruce going mano a mano with a friend of Alfred's, played by David O'Hara (with possible threats coming his way via voice over). It also shows Fish talking about a certain Dr. Dulmacher, otherwise known as The Dollmaker, who ran the child-trafficking ring and is keeping Fish and the others captive for their organs.
Most importantly, this promo announces the coming of the Red Hood gang, which many of you will recognize as the first real target of Batman-in-the-making Bruce Wayne, or the previous alias of the entity, the legend known as the Joker.
Taking this all into consideration, including the fact that the Joker as we know comes into existence about 7-8 years later than the present-time of [Gotham](series:1127075), what does this mean for the future? Will we ever see the real Joker? Is Jerome the Joker?
Now obviously the smart people behind Gotham wants us asking ourselves these questions, but that shouldn't spoil the fun!
How the Joker can come into play in Gotham
Okay, so Gotham is really all about the city, not Batman, not the Joker, but Gotham. This is why, hopefully, even though we will see all these familiar faces and names being introduced, the focus of the show will remain on James Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Not because they are necessarily the best characters in the show, but because they are at the heart of what this show is all about: the corrupt city, and the criminals inside of it. That's also why Bruce Wayne is so important to this story. Not only because he will eventually become Batman, but because Wayne Enterprises plays a big role in everything that is happening (as he, and subsequently we, is/are finding out).
All of this is important because that means there are a few general, possible ways Gotham can turn out.
We never meet the real Joker and the real Batman
This is basically what Gotham set out to be, right from the beginning. An origin story all about Gotham, the heroes and villains inside of it, but NOT a TV reboot of the Batman films.
The beauty is that, although it might disappoint a lot of people, this could actually work out for the better. This way we can completely follow an actual origin story.
- We could really see Bruce Wayne growing up to become Batman. Instead of just hearing he fell in a pit, then trained with some dudes, and used his money to buy cool stuff. But seeing him grow as a person, see his challenges, and understand WHY he ends up becoming Batman
- The same goes for the Joker. Even if we never really meet him in all of his 'glory', we could follow him through the years. During this we could maybe finally come to understand what drives a man so mad, so far out of his mind that he becomes: the Joker.
- And of course Jim Gordon. As one of the few good cops in a completely corrupt city, we would be able to see the challenges that come his way and his relationship with Bruce Wayne that eventually grows to become the most respectful relationship between superhero and 'regular' hero that we know.
A little fussing with a timeline never hurt anyone
Okay, this is my least favorite option, but one that could happen nonetheless: Gotham could deviate from the story as we know it. Hopefully the show runners know that fans would NOT like this, but they could still go for it. We've seen it in Arrow, and we've seen it in the Flash, they take the basics and just run with it. Gotham does this as well of course, but with smaller figures, doing so with the Batman or Joker origin story could be a very risky bet. Still, this would create the possibility of bringing these iconic figures to the screen, so never count it out. I'm not going to discuss this any further since it's sacrilegious, but I needed to mention it.
Yeah, no time travel, I'm kidding. What I mean is fussing with timelines in another way, flash-forwards possibly, but very unlikely. Personally I think they'll just keep going with option one for a while, 3-4 seasons approx., and then make a jump. By then the actors portraying Bruce and Selina would be about 18 years old and could possibly portray older versions of the characters they're doing now. Or (my favorite for now), make a big jump and get older actors. That way we get a few more seasons of Gotham as we've seen up until now, and then if the show runners are willing to take the chance, go on to see our heroes and villains a few more years down the line. First a real origin story, and then we see them a bit closer to when the movies take place. So still no Batman vs. Joker showdown, but maybe seeing Bruce contemplating the idea of Batman, and seeing the Joker wreak more havoc, but this time with scars? (and finding out where they came from!)
Okay, this turned into some serious theory-crafting. But now the reason for this post!
Taking everything that is known into consideration it's a real safe bet to say the Joker is going to be part of Gotham, the question is: to what extent?
Jerome is definitely involved in some way, but whether or not he is the joker? I don't know. The guy we saw as Red Hood in the promo is definitely not Jerome, but the synopsis for the upcoming episode goes as follows.
Jim Gordon and Detective Bullock investigate the red hood gang who have been terrorizing the city with the help of Jerome. IMDb
So in one way or another, Jerome is in business with the Red Hood Gang. This could still mean he is someone that gets to know the actual Joker, rather than being the actual Joker. There's also the popular theory that the man we know as Penguin is actually the Joker. There's just no knowing. BUT.
Yes, I had to put that in capital letters, because MAN the guy can act. As I was hoping when I wrote the previous article about this, he really knocked it out of the park. Of course Heath Ledger portrayed the Joker beautifully, but this guy comes pretty damn close.... If he ends up just being a part of the story, the show runners better come up with a crazy card up their sleeve. Even in the few minutes of screen time he had, Monaghan set a standard, Joker or not, that will be hard to meet, let alone surpass.