This Gotham review contains spoilers
Gotham Season 4 Episode 18
Last week, when Jerome’s twin brother Jeremiah was introduced, there was an instant avalanche of fan speculation on whether or not it was the newly introduced Jeremiah that could in fact be the Joker. I thought there would be weeks, perhaps even seasons, of teases as the conflict between the obviously insane Jerome and the brilliant but maybe psychotic Jeremiah escalated. Well, who could have predicted that the Jeremiah versus Jerome war would have been wrapped up just one week later with one of the brothers dead and the other completely transformed?
That’s exactly what happens this week in another super villain team up episode of Gotham. Jerome, Mister Freeze, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, Firefly, and Penguin kidnap the mayor and other Gotham City luminaries to kick off Jerome’s master plan of using the newly created Joker Venom to dose a huge crowd of Gotham citizens. Jerome hijacks an outdoor music festival (why would people ever put on such an event in Gotham City? You know it’s going to end up frozen or blown up or burnt or something) and uses his hostages to convince Jeremiah and Bruce Wayne to offer themselves up as sacrifices.
It’s all a ruse to gather a crowd so the rogues can unleash the Joker Venom from a hijacked blimp, and we’re off. The plot is rather simplistic, but man, does Jerome make even the most simple and pedantic Gothamplot engaging and riveting. And the inner DC nerd in me just can’t be mad at a weekly Bat rogue TV series. In addition, I’m kind of in love with the whole Joker as an idea thing. Jerome is not the Joker, but he is at the same time. Jerome gave birth to the Joker madness that will one day inspire someone (perhaps Jeremiah, perhaps not) to take on Jerome’s mantle of madness. But it seems Jerome’s story ends here, this week.
One of Jerome’s allies has a change of heart and turns on the madman. If you guessed Penguin, good for you. The episode really did a quality job of spotlighting the differences between a villain like Penguin and a villain like Jerome. Penguin is in it for profit and power while men like Jerome (and Mad Hatter and Scarecrow) are in it for the sake of chaos. Penguin informs on Joker and ends up knocked out and aboard the hijacked blimp (complete with a Mad Hatter controlled pilot). Surprisingly and amusingly, it is Cobblepot that saves the day in the sky while Gordon and Bruce Wayne take care of business on the ground. When Jerome’s plans fail, he is cornered by Gordon and falls to his death, but not before swearing that his madness will rise again. Jerome’s predications are indeed prophetic, but before we go there, let’s look at some other happenings.
We are treated to a nice moment at Bruce’s birthday as Alfred gives Master Wayne his first car. A beautiful black, bulletproof machine, which means we have the debut of a proto-Batmobile. Okay, cool. That joy is interrupted by Jerome who demands Bruce as a hostage. While the Jerome drama unfolds, the saga of Barbara Kean continues.
Barbara is growing more comfortable in the role of the heir of Ra’s Al Ghul. Not as comfortable in the role is Tabitha who seems like she wants nothing to do with the female League of Shadows that now follows Barbara everywhere. Honestly, while this is an interesting development for Tabby, the episode doesn’t convince the viewer that Barbara belongs anywhere near a Ra’s Al Ghul plot. There is some development where Barbara and company find a centuries old painting of a woman who kind of looks like Barbara standing with Ra’s, but really, it all reeks of making it up as they go convenience to give Barbara something to do.
I was enjoying the Barbara as crime boss and head of Gotham’s female rogues, but Barbara as Ra’s Al Ghul? Yeah, not working. Another wrinkle is added as some dudes claiming to be connected to the real Ra’s show up and save Tabitha, but the whole thing seems tired and, thanks to all the Ra’s stuff on the last few seasons of Arrow, rather derivative.
Thankfully, the Jerome and Jeremiah stuff seems anything but tired. With Jerome dead, it seems like Jeremiah is free to continue his work. The episode presents an understated and classy moment of Bruce meeting Jeremiah for the first time and showing deep admiration for Jerome’s brother’s brilliance. Could this have been the first meeting between Batman and Joker? If so, that was unusually subtle and affecting.
After Jerome’s death, Jeremiah returns to his lair (I want a lair, how do you get a lair?), and finds a package waiting for him. He opens it and gets Joker gassed. The last thing we see is Jeremiah cackling like a madman with bleached white skin. Whether Jeremiah is the Joker or not remains to be seen, but he is certainly the heir apparent to Jerome, which will lead to more awesome Joker centric speculation and also allows Cameron Monaghan to remain a featured part of the series, which is always a great thing.
So while Barbara and the League of Shadows isn’t killing anything but time, the Jerome/Jeremiah stuff remains the best part of Gotham. So let us bid a fond farewell to Jerome and a warm but fearful welcome to Jeremiah. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.
So we have a pseudo-Batmobile now. In case you were wondering, the first Batmobile appeared in Batman’s very first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (1939). The most iconic vehicle in comics was created by Bill Finger and his useless assistant Bob Kane. Unless I’m forgetting one (did Birds of Prey have a Batmobile?), this is the second live action TV Batmobile, the first being Adam West’s awesome ride from Batman ’66.
It is a very nice touch to have Jeremiah’s transformation be a visual homage to Brian Bolland’s legendary cover to Batman: The Killing Joke.
It is also a nice touch to have Jeremiah decked out in purple adding fuel to the speculation that Jeremiah is the real deal Joker.