****SPOILERS FROM THIS WEEKS GOTHAM ARE WITHIN THIS ARTICLE****
I don't know about anyone else, but the moment I saw that grin grow on Jerome's face in season one, I instantly saw our new Joker. Cameron Monaghan captured nearly ever aspect that I have grown to love about The Joker, he has made the start of [Gotham](tag:1127075) season 2 some of the best television I've seen for a while. The moment he was busted out of Arkham and began his rampage I instantly saw The Joker being born right before my eyes, At least I thought I did.
Throughout season one of Gotham, there were numerous red-herrings that alluded to a number of people being a possible starting point for the future Clown Prince Of Crime. Fans of the show were excited at the potential birth of the Joker, given that he's a villain whose popularity is as great as the Batman himself.
Then came Jerome, a man who truly captured the Joker's unsympathetic and maniacal persona. His interaction with the GCPD were some of the greatest scenes from the entire season one (in my opinion anyway) and I thought, finally this season is going places. But then he was gone, carted off to Arkham Asylum almost as quickly as he arrived and the series was left to carry on with the secret of the Joker's origin still shrouded in mystery.
Then came season two with a remarkable change of pace and Jerome leading the charge of insanity front and centre. He took charge of the Maniax and showed everyone how fractured his mental state really was (never play Russian roulette with the guy).
Everything was looking up and I was getting genuinely excited to see how the show's creators could craft the Joker's origins considering he's a man who's story has been told and retold time and time again. A villain whose origins are truly a mystery.
That mystery was always part of the appeal of the Joker for me. It's what really made him so horrifying. Not even the world's greatest detective could pin down this man's real history. Now, despite my natural reservations, I decided to give it a chance and not complain, season two was a vast improvement and Jerome had rapidly become one of my favourite parts about the show. So with each passing episode, I eagerly awaited where the show's creators were going to take this character and I was keen to see how they would transform him into my all time favourite villain.
After last week's episode, where the Maniax stormed the GCPD, I found myself making that fatal error of becoming settled and happy with the fact that this guy could be our televised Joker. I even began reading interviews and quotes online from Bruno Heller himself almost confirming this to be true (or so I thought.) But read the quote from his interview with Nerdist for yourself and see how easy it was for me to get my hopes up:
"We're going to be giving you concrete answers to his identity." Said Heller
"The story is going to come to a huge and shocking resolution which will explain the whole Joker myth, how it all began and how the Joker came to be."
So with that in mind I sat watching last night's episode unfold and as the madness began, so to did my excitement. The episode itself was littered with little nods to Bruce's and Jerome's possible future identities and the Easter eggs dropped in to really parallel the two characters. The most obvious being Jerome's "Bruce has a split personality!" comment.
Everything was set. We had most of our main characters in attendance at a charity ball and Jerome and Barbara were on stage in disguise as stage magicians ready to take everyone hostage. They even created a little tension when the pair invited a young Bruce Wayne on stage to be cut in half, but Jerome passes at the chance to easily off young Master Wayne choosing to play on the theatricality (this lead me further into the thought that "hey, this Joker is brilliant)! Here was the perfect mix of tension, humor and heightened drama! Everything seemed fine, and then Jerome changed his mind and then everything rapidly went south.
I thought to myself that this was going to be the birth of the Joker. finally someone has nailed down a definitive and complex origin story for him, its got everything the story needs right here. Cameron's portrayal of the supposed Joker has been nothing short of fantastic, the creepy laugh, rapid changes of mood and his general attitude have all been incredible to watch and it looked as if we were set to get one of the best representations of our beloved psycho.
I didn't realise I was getting far to wrapped up in the excitement and making the rookie mistake of wishing for something to be true.
Then suddenly Theo Galavant stabs Jerome in the throat.
I thought to myself that this has to be part of the plan, but then Theo explains his change of plan to a dying Jerome. My heart sank to my stomach as I watched this happen, then his face curled up as he passed away and the cold realisation dawned on me, they had indeed killed our lead contender for the role of the Joker.
Now comes the clever part. Jerome's father's voice is heard as he monologues the final scene with a speech he made to his son earlier in the episode. A speech that explains that Jerome's legacy will be a violent and bloody one - one of madness.
As the speech is read out you see various mad men from around Gotham cackling that Joker laugh as they all begin to give into the madness. The camera then focuses in on Jerome's crazed smile on his dead body, setting Jerome up as the spark that ignites the flames of insanity in Gotham, the spark that could create and shape The Joker.
As much as I'd love to see the Joker appear so soon and having time to digest the events of last nights episode, I think what they have done so far is brilliant and true to the form of The Joker's style and mystery, the mystery that I previously mentioned brings so much appeal to his character. With Jerome's dead body sparking off a wave of cackling killers across Gotham, the show's creators have now created an even bigger mystery with an infinite number of contenders for The Jokers crown. My favourite was the crazy guy that high fived his friend and then started stabbing him repeatedly. Now that is crazy.
I feel Jerome was a brilliant red-herring as he introduced a new kind of crime to the streets of Gotham, a kind of crime that wasn't out for notoriety or riches but a level of criminality that thrives in the madness.
This mystery and the desire us fan's have to see The Jokers early days are things that I believe are going to keep us glued to this show for the foreseeable future.
Just as we all thought The Joker's origins we're going to come to light, the rug got pulled from underneath us and they still leave us questioning, "When will The Joker turn up?", and last night's episode has taught us that Gotham City's greatest mystery is still yet to be solved.
But do not fear my friends, the creation or indeed the idea of The Joker is something that is bigger than any one man. The Joker was molded and shaped by Gotham much like Batman was. His history is rooted deep within Gotham's as much as any of the founding families are. I'm fairly certain that as the show ticks on, us viewers will see the mythology of The Joker grow and take shape and we'll get a chance to see exactly what it is that happens in Gotham that leads us to the man himself. I mean he's not a guy that just slapped on makeup one day and decided to go wild, he's part of the cultural history of Gotham and an extremely complicated guy. Jerome's death has already inspired a number of Gothamites - as seen in the conclusion of last nights episode and I'm looking forward to seeing The Joker's true origins play a much larger part in the over all story that is yet to be told throughout Gotham.
That is, if they ever bring him into the show. As many I've spoken to feel without Batman there will be no Joker and with constant Easter eggs and nearly Jokers, the show's creators will have us all gripped for the the time being.
But sooner or later they're going to have to pull the trigger one way or another and finally answer the age old question of "Who is The Joker?".
Bruno Heller has stated in a recent interview that there has been no Joker cast yet and it hasn't been officially confirmed that he will even appear in the show.
With the show's creators putting their own spin on the Batman mythos, Heller admitted that getting the chance to explore and in certain ways create their own version of this world and it's characters is one of the bigger appeals of the show.
Heller had this to say during an interview with Deadline:
"The beauty of this world is there are so many stories to tell, and there's so many wonderful characters. Wonderful characters we haven't even begun to introduce - - it's a world that is infinitely expandable. So we're going to see Mr. Freeze this season. We're going to meet Dr Hugo Strange. We're going to meet Firefly. And there are several other surprises that I want to keep surprises."
And in reference to The Joker's origins:
"Sometimes back-stories are more complicated and interesting than, you know falling into a vat of toxic chemicals or being bitten by a spider."
I'm really keen to see where they go with this idea, or should I say Kean.
Through this whole thought process I forgotten one key aspect, Flashpoint.
In the Batman corner of the Flashpoint series, The Joker is none other than Martha Wayne.
Martha went insane after their son Bruce was the one that was shot in this timeline. Thomas Wayne became the Batman and Martha became that world's Joker and in the world of Gotham, there's already one crazy lady who was very close to our poor Jerome (may he rest in peace).
Now Barbara Kean being The Joker has been a popular fan theory for some time, and I thought it would just remain a theory until last night when I received an email from our friends over at comicbook.com detailing yet another interview with Bruno Heller. An interview in regards to this big mystery and whether or not Barbara could become this world's Joker now that Jerome has become the martyr for insanity and he had this to say:
"100% possible. One of the central themes of the DC world is transformation and revelation. Absolutely, those kinds of - I wouldn't want to call it playing with people's expectations or gender expectations - but we've absolutely considered the possibility of a female Joker,and we haven't... well I'll stop myself from saying more because I won't be able to stop revealing things. (laughs)"
"It is incumbent on us, when we're telling such a rich, and psychedelic and surreal and infinitely expandable story, it's both one of the joys of it and one of the scary things about it: you can plausibly go anywhere with this story. So nothing is too strange or too bizarre or too shocking for us to consider. And some of those shocking and surprising things will inevitably end up on screen to either the delight of fans or to their horror. As long as people respond and are engaged, we've done our job."
So for now it looks like the future of our favourite insane criminal will remain shrouded in the mystery that has surrounded The Joker for all these years.
I'm not mad at this week's episode as it had so many good points (Alfred putting the moves on Jim's girl for example). Without sounding like an irritated parent, I'm just disappointed. I'm disappointed in the wasted potential as Cameron Monaghan brought such an amazing and powerful performance to such a dark show that many felt was a bit lackluster. But with one of my favourite parts about the show now removed all I can say now is -They better not kill off the damn Penguin and remove my other favourite character!
We shall all just have to wait and see if The Joker will forever remain a mystery or if he'll find a solid back story in some medium. I for one love the fact that there has always been such a question mark to the character and hope that it continues that way, sometimes the journey and mystery is better than any one definitive answer .