Gotham, another live-action representation of the Batman story. What makes this one so different from the others is its awesome fresh-start attitude! The writers of Gotham don't worry about pre-existing storylines, events or even character types. They deliver an entirely fresh and new look at the Batman mythos, so that whether you're a new fan or an old one, you never know what's going to happen next.
That's not to say that's a bad thing, because it isn't. I love that Gotham is trying to create its own interpretation of the age-old (or at least it feels like it) story of Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon and the citizens of Gotham.
One of the coolest things about Gotham season 2 is the possibility of The Joker being literally anybody! Everyone knows The Joker, he's Batman's biggest villain ever—and one of the greatest villains in the history of villains, I might add. The 'Clown Prince of Crime' has been around since the very beginning, so it wouldn't be right for Gotham to ignore him. That being said, they sure are doing a great job of keeping his (or her) identity a secret.
One candidate for the role of Joker is Jim Gordon's ex-girlfriend, Barbara Kean. They broke up and haven't gotten back together because Jim has moved on and is a healthy relationship with Leslie 'Lee' Thompkins. The fact that Barbara is a murderous psychopath might also contribute to their relationship issues.
Barbara is probably the original Batman character most changed in the Gothamverse. While her comic counterpart didn't have much of a starring role, and was more just the kind wife of Jim Gordon, Gotham's Barbara Kean is a criminal. After murdering her parents and being admitted into the re-opened Arkham Asylum, Barbara escaped and joined the supervillain team known as 'The Maniax'.
While their name sounds more like a '90s rap group than a team of criminals, these guys mean serious business—and right now, Barbara is the most dangerous of them all. Unpredictable, vengeful, and just flat-out crazy, Barbara Kean being The Joker isn't that farfetched. While the idea of a female Joker- especially one so close to the series protagonist- sounds like an awesome spin, I'm not entirely convinced that Barbara's The Joker. At least, not yet.
See, Barbara shares a few qualities with The Joker, but not as much as one other Joker candidate does. One that I'm still convinced will be our Clown Prince of Crime.
Jerome IS The Joker!
Jerome Valeska, the psychotic son of a circus performer. Everything about him screamed Joker, from his tragic upbringing to his maniacal laugh! It was so painfully obvious that he was The Joker that people weren't wondering if he was anymore- they were just wondering when Gotham was going to call him by his villainous name.
But then, the time came for Jerome to prove to the world that he was the crazy clown it was going to be dreading for years and years to come. He stood up on stage and prepared to tell his greatest punchline...only for everyone to realize the joke was on him.
Yes, Jerome was struck down by the very man who freed him from Arkham, Theo Galavan. And just like that, every single person watching felt an odd mix of sadness and confusion. What should have been the most obvious origin story ever suddenly had a huge complication.
After his death, the eyes turned towards Barbara. Her closeness to Jerome mixed with Theo saying that she was now the "star" of his little show put her straight in the Joker rumor pot!
So with Jerome dead, why am I still convinced that he's The Joker? Well, let me explain. I highly doubt that Jerome, being all dead and everything, is going to suddenly sprout back up and cause mayhem again. In fact, I'm actually on the 'Barbara is The Joker' train- just with a twist.
Like I said, Barbara does share a few qualities with The Joker we've come to know and...well, love's a strong word, but it's the only word I can think of right now. But she's still missing a few things that her former partner in crime, Jerome, possessed. But that's ok, because if my theory is correct, then Barbara will soon possess what Jerome did...because Jerome is going to possess her.
Barbara Is The Joker Too!
This lovely lady is Christina Bell, and no she's not a gender-swapped Joker, but she's pretty close. Christina was one of the people affected by Joker's blood in the videogame Batman: Arkham Knight. Joker's sickly DNA fused with hers, causing her to become just like the Clown Prince of Crime.
While Joker was long gone, his influence was still around thanks to Christina and the other wannabe Jokers. Now back to Gotham, where Jerome is long gone, but his influence is surely still around- perhaps even in the form of Barbara. I believe that Jerome's blood will be used to transform Barbara into the Clown Princess of Crime!
Jerome has referenced a lot of the famous Jokers of the past, mainly Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger's versions of the character. But I believe that he also referenced another Joker just as he was dying, the Arkham version.
See, when Jerome dies from a stab to the neck, he slowly and creepily smiles, until his face is stuck that way forever. This is strikingly similar to the way Joker dies in Arkham City.
But it's not just their similar deaths that makes me think Jerome is taking the same path as Arkham series Joker. Throughout season 2, there have been several scenes where Jerome has blood around his mouth, making it look like he's wearing the iconic Joker clown makeup.
First there's the scene at the GCPD, where Jerome's maniacal grin is covered in blood as he broadcasts his tragic murderous onslaught of the police officers to all of Gotham. Then there's the scene where Jerome is stabbed, and blood once again forms the famous Joker grin around his smile lines. And finally, the scene with Jerome's body in the morgue- where even in death, he's seen grinning with blood on either side of his face.
All of these scenes are foreshadowing one thing, Jerome's blood IS The Joker's blood, in a manner of speaking. Let's take a look at Joker's most common origin story.
Joker was once a nameless criminal, who was unfortunate enough to cross paths with Batman. Even more unfortunate, he ran into him at ACE Chemicals, and after a chase, the criminal fell into a vat of unstable chemicals, transforming him into The Joker!
Since Gotham likely wants to reveal the actual Joker at some point, it'd be a little difficult for them to use this origin story, since Batman kind of needs to be present. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that we'll see Bruce don the cowl until the final season (likely the final episode) of the series.
So since the ACE Chemicals thing is almost out of the question, Gotham will have to switch things up a bit. But that doesn't mean they can't have their Joker go through some biological changes. Enter Theo Galavan, the mysterious and rich employer of Barbara Kean, who's promised her a starring role in the takeover of Gotham City.
I believe that Theo isn't done with Jerome yet. With his riches and connections, Theo will create a formula out of Jerome's DNA and inject Barbara with it, similar to how the Joker wannabes of Arkham Knight came to be. See, while he wants Barbara to star, he and Barbara both agree that Jerome "had a way about him". A way that Theo certainly wouldn't' just waste. He needed someone he could control, and that wasn't Jerome, it was Barbara. But he also needed Jerome's tenacity and attitude, and so he found a middle ground.
Barbara is already close to Theo, and will do whatever it takes to takeover Gotham and destroy her former lover, Jim Gordon. Becoming the ultimate Joker is surely the best way to go about it!
Jerome isn't done yet! He may be gone, but I believe that he's still The Joker—if not in body, then in spirit...and in injected DNA...
Could I be wrong? Sure. Could I just be upset that the guy who was clearly Joker turned out to not be Joker? Also yes. But I wouldn't be surprised if Gotham took this route. After all, even though they're more or less creating their own mythos, taking inspiration from other established ones (like Arkham Knight) isn't impossible.