If your eyes have feasted on this week's episode of Gotham, you witnessed some rather insane and unexpected things. If you missed it, you'll want to stop reading now. Major spoilers await below!
Many of us, including myself, were made to believe Jerome Valeska would take up the mantle of the Joker. But during a staged incident between Theo Galavan, Jerome and Barbara, something horrible and unexpected happened. While masquerading as Gotham's savior, Galavan shamelessly and eagerly plunged a steel blade into Jerome's throat without any warning or legitimate provocation. I don't know about you, but as Jerome died, all my future hopes and dreams of him donning the signature white, green and purple died with him. It really is a darn shame. He would have been a terrific Joker... so very, very sad.
Well, to be honest, I'm not THAT sad. Perhaps the notion that Jerome was a red herring meant to throw us off the scent of the real Joker all along was resting rather comfortably in my subconscious. I am rather disappointed by Cameron Monaghan's short stint, don't get me wrong, but I also can't help but find myself overcome by intrigue and wonder. While Jerome's death was a shame, endless possibilities abound concerning the real Joker's identity and what I hope will be a climactic and comic-book faithful introduction. So, for those of you grief-stricken by Jerome's demise, let me shine some light on our dismal turn of events. Here are a few possible ways the Clown Prince of Crime might be introduced into the Gotham universe:
The Vat of Acid
In my humble opinion, the Joker's origins in Tim Burton's Batman were masterfully executed. After all, how can you go wrong when using Alan Moore's The Killing Joke as source material? If Gotham writers were to reach back and retell this story for a 21st century audience, I would have no qualms with that. I would venture a guess that many tried and true Batman fans share similar sentiments. Since this is the most widely known origin story this would be the most obvious option for officially bringing the Joker to the small screen. Plus, we have already seen the introduction of the Red Hood gang. For those of you who have read Moore's interpretation of the Joker character, can you see where this might be heading?
The Already Prominent Villain in Gotham
Some would believe the Joker is hidden in plain sight. Many different fan theories have come up claiming that the person we believe is the Penguin is actually the Joker. Yet another red herring to divert our attention. This is a possibility, but it's a rather slim one. Gotham has built a reputation in season one as a show that builds on comic-book canon rather than deviate from it. While some artistic liberty has been taken, there is nothing in the Batman mythos that could actually make such a far-out theory credible. I never say never, but don't expect to see Robin Lord Taylor donning white face paint and purple monkey tails anytime soon, or at any point during the show's run for that matter!
Jerome isn't Actually Dead
That's right. I mean, his death was pretty convincing, but you have to wonder, can anyone truly die with a warped, sadistic grin like that on their face?
Any superhero fan will know that this theory isn't completely out in left field. After all, we know that when someone dies in the superhero universe there is at least a remote possibility they miraculously turn up again alive and breathing!
However, that scar on Jerome's neck does look pretty legit. Add to this the fact that he's in a morgue and it seems like he's pretty dead. Plus, based on the ending of this week's episode, the brains behind the show seem to be leading us to believe the Joker is more esoteric than tangible. Regarding the idea of Jerome actually being the Joker, Monaghan himself said this:
There’s plenty of possibility. The only way to say it is that he either is or he isn’t, or maybe he represents the idea. Maybe in this universe, The Joker is not one specific man, but more of an idea, at least to this point. This is still very early in the mythology. Who knows where it’s going to go from here.
Based on that, it seems like Jerome is pretty dead.
There is a strong desire of many a Batman fan that we will see an origin story, and I hope we do. But again, this could be just another thing that throws us off the scent of what will actually unfold in seasons to come. After all, a lack of clear origins is a part of Joker's canon. It is entirely possible the Joker we see will have no sordid past. In the vein of The Dark Knight, he could very well come onto the scene out of the blue as a complete nut case, content on reaping chaos and destruction through the streets of Gotham.
The possibilities of the character are pretty much wide open at this point. I guess it should be with a character as mysterious as the Joker. Still, my vote is to see a down-and-out wannabe comedian take up the mantle of the Red Hood and plummet into a vat of acid. But that's just me.