"Ladies and gentlemen, good evening!" Or morning, or whatever time it is that you're reading this...
Anyway, comic and TV fans alike might recognize that quote as Jerome Valeska's from FOX's hit show, Gotham. The crime comic book show has recently been dominating the television screens of houses across America! Season 2 is only on its second episode, and yet its already bringing in some impressive ratings!
As a fan of the show, I can certainly see why. The prequel to Bruce Wayne/Batman's story follows a young Jim Gordon during his early police days, before he became the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department. Jim and his partner Harvey Bullock are the only cops willing to stand up to the powerful criminal empire currently rising in their fair city!
Batman fans will immediately recognize long-time villains like Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a The Penguin, and Selina Kyle, a.k.a Catwoman! We've even gotten some early looks at future Bat-villains like Edward 'The Riddler' Nygma, Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent, and Richard Sionis, a man I assumed was going to be Black Mask- but recent episode events make me think otherwise...
But while all of these villains are cool, and are sure to bring Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne trouble for years to come, I've got to ask; where's The Joker?
The Clown Prince of Crime is Batman's greatest enemy, and the greatest villain of all time - an opinion that a ton of others share with me! Gotham has been dealing with a lot of villainous trouble so far, with The Penguin becoming the self-proclaimed "King of Gotham," and The Riddler being forced to face his murderous "dark side". Needless to say, there's a reason that this season is called the 'Rise of the Villains.'
But how can the villains truly rise without the deadliest and craziest villain of them all? Well, maybe they haven't. Gotham showrunners have yet to reveal who and where The Joker is during the events of the show, but a lot of viewers have their eyes on a certain orange-haired pale lunatic named Jerome Valeska.
Premiering late in the first season, Jerome is a troubled kid with more than a few Joker-ish qualities. The wide grin, the smile, the complete and utter insanity and disregard for the law—it's easy to see why so many people believe that young Jerome here is The Joker.
But I'm not convinced. Don't get me wrong, everything about Jerome screams Joker, he's practically got a big "Hey, I'm The Joker" sign on his back. But there's one thing that makes me think that this Jerome isn't actually The Joker, no matter how much he may seem like it. And that's the creators of the show.
Showrunner Bruno Heller and everyone else working on it have been very hush on who The Joker is, and while they've dropped hints here and there that suggest The Joker will be making his way to Gotham, nothing's been outright confirmed yet.
Now, you may be saying: "Oh, they're just going to reveal that Jerome's The Joker later on." But I don't think that's true. Why? Well, to put it simply...
That Doesn't Make Much Sense
So let's say that Jerome is in fact The Joker, wouldn't they have revealed that by now? Like I said, everything about him screams Joker- his demeanor, his laugh, his absolute craziness! So if that's true, wouldn't the people behind the show come out and tell us already?
Sure, they could be going for the surprise route, but who is there to surprise? Most people watching Gotham are Batman fans, so they know how The Joker acts. You don't even need to be a huge Batman fan to know that Jerome acts just like The Joker.
So with that in mind, who's honestly going to be surprised when Jerome starts wearing clown make-up and dyes his hair green? Pretty much no one, that's who. So then, what's the point of keeping it a surprise? Why haven't Bruno Heller and the rest told us who The Joker is?
The Joker Isn't In Gotham...Yet
That's right, I believe that The Joker hasn't even stepped foot in Gotham yet. In fact, he hasn't stepped foot anywhere - because he doesn't even exist...yet. Before I go any further, let's take a quick look at three big 'Joker in Gotham' theories right now. The first is the obvious one, that Jerome Valeska is The Joker, or he will be in the future at least. This is the one with the most evidence behind it, since clearly he's got some insane Joker vibes going on.
The second theory is one that's a little hard to get behind, but actually makes a little bit of sense once you think about it; and that's that Barbara Kean is The Joker. Barbara Kean is the ex-girlfriend of Detective James Gordon, who after murdering her parents in the season finale, was admitted to Arkham Asylum. She's got a few Joker-ish qualities too, though not as much as Jerome.
The third theory is actually one sparked by Jerome himself, or the actor who plays as him. Cameron Monaghan recently revealed in an interview that even he wasn't sure if his character is The Joker. He stated that The Joker, at this point, may not be one man, he could be a sort of idea. Of course, you could argue that he's simply trying to divert attention away from the real Joker, whoever that may be. But what if he isn't?
What if - and bear with me here - what if The Joker isn't Jerome, or Barbara, or even some sort of idea or representation of a madman? What if he's all three?
The Joker Is The Son of Jerome And Barbara!
So for you curious readers that are still with me after that bombshell I just dropped, let's take a look at the ages of both Jerome and The Joker. I should start off by saying that the writers of Gotham aren't too worried about matching the timeline of the comics, since they're trying to put their own spin on the Batman mythos—plus, the comics weren't too strict about a certain timeline either.
That being said, you'll be happy to know that if my theory is correct, Batman would still be fighting an adult Joker, as opposed to a teenage or child one. I'm not exactly certain what Jerome's age is. I don't believe it's been revealed how old he is, just like The Joker's age has never been really revealed either.
But after checking the age of the actor who portrays him (22), and realizing that he's definitely a bit older than 14-year-old Bruce Wayne, I'd say that young Jerome Valeska is somewhere between the ages of 17-20.
Now for The Joker. The Clown Prince's age has always been a mystery. Most have assumed that due to his somewhat aged appearance, he's older than Bruce Wayne... but that may not be true.
The Joker, being a disfigured man with an abnormally wide smile line and bags no doubt from purposeful sleep deprivation, could be several years older or several years younger than Batman—who by the way, is most likely between the ages of 34-36 when The Joker comes around.
So if Jerome and Barbara were to have a child, and that child was to grow up and become the Joker, he'd be in his 20s by the time Batman is in his early 30s. A bit of a stretch, but not impossible. So, now that that's all established, let's talk about the relationship between Jerome Valeska and Barbara Kean. Specifically, is there even one?
The two criminals certainly have some similarities. Both are psychotic, wide-grinned murderers who were admitted into Arkham Asylum for killing their parents. But that doesn't exactly mean that they're going to get together.
What has me convinced that these two will soon become psychotic lovebirds is both their similar interests and their on-screen chemistry. They haven't shared the screen for longer than a few minutes at a time, but anyone who's seen these scenes will definitely notice that these two have a bit of a "Joker/Harley" relationship beginning to blossom.
Not to mention these two want the same things; and that is to spread chaos and get revenge on Jim Gordon—the person they both despise most in the world! But all of this doesn't necessarily mean that The Joker is the offspring of these two villains. It's entirely possible that these two are just the Gothamverse's version of Joker and Harley Quinn.
But it's Cameron Monaghan's whole "Joker is an idea" talk that has me convinced that these two are the parents of Gotham's worst enemy.
Whenever Jerome is asked a "is Jerome the Joker" related question, he answers it by saying something along the lines of "Jerome is an idea of everything The Joker means," basically meaning that Jerome is a good idea of The Joker - but not exactly confirming that he himself is the physical embodiment of the character.
So what does Cameron mean when he says that Jerome is an idea of The Joker? Well, let's say that The Joker is the son of Jerome and Barbara, and let's also assume that his origin story is more or less the same.
Joker's parent's are hardly ever mentioned, but when they are, they're always described as being incredibly abusive, resulting in Joker's insane attitude. Well, kind of resulting in Joker's insane attitude. Part of the reason Joker is so...Joker, is because he fell into a vat of deadly chemicals, resulting in a complete breakdown of his psyche.
This is Joker's most common origin, with him being a member of a gang (usually The Red Hood Gang) who falls into a deadly vat of chemicals after an unfortunate run-in with Batman.
So if The Joker was the son of Jerome and Barbara in the world of Gotham, I'd imagine his origin would be a lot like his comic counterpart. He'd obviously be growing up with abusive parents, and like his counterpart, he'd be immediately interested in becoming a criminal. But this is where all three Joker theories become one.
The Vat Of Chemicals "Awakens" The Joker!
Like I said, The Joker has always had parental issues, long before he fell into the vat of chemicals. But for whatever reason - or perhaps for obvious reasons - he kept all of the mental torture locked and suppressed. That is, until the chemicals awakened something deep inside him, effectively breaking his psyche completely and transforming him into The Joker.
Gotham's version of The Joker could do the same thing. We know that the Red Hood Gang exists on Gotham, so it's possible that he could be influenced by that gang, or even join a newer version of it.
When the time comes for him to fall into the vat of chemicals, he wouldn't just be developing a psychotic nature, he'd be adopting one from his dear old mom and dad. All that mental, verbal and physical abuse his parents inflicted on him would all come back to him, all at once, culminating in a nervous breakdown that causes him to develop the traits of his parents. Hence the idea of Joker "being an idea," as well as him being Jerome and Barbara!
He wouldn't technically be Jerome or Barbara, but he'd develop the psychotic nature of his parents, and become everything they were all wrapped up in one crazy package! He may even gain his dad's taste in smart and threatening blondes...
When you think about it, it makes sense. The Joker doesn't have to be older than Batman, since one of the many mysteries about him is where he came from and how long he's been around. Plus, The Joker wasn't around when Bruce Wayne was just becoming Batman, at the age of 25. He came around when Bruce was in his 30s, and when he was a more experienced Batman, capable of dealing with a psychotic, murderous clown.
So there you have it, my theory for who The Joker really is on Gotham! For the record, I'd totally be okay if Jerome turns out to be Joker, even if it is PAINFULLY OBVIOUS! He'd be an incredible Joker, and has certainly proven that he can be just like the Clown Prince of Crime!
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Until then, make sure to check out the rise of Jerome, Barbara and other notorious villains in Season 2 of Gotham - Mondays on FOX!