Gotham Season 4 Episode 20 Review: That Old Corpse

Gotham holds a wake for Jerome as the next stage of the legend of the Joker begins

This Gotham review contains spoilers

Gotham Season 4 Episode 20

Well, GCPD HQ gets attacked again, it must be Thursday!

It seems like one can measure how engaging an episode of Gotham will be by how much Cameron Monaghan is in it. The more Monaghan the better, and this week has plenty of Monaghan as both Jerome (sort of) and Jeremiah. You all know that a few weeks back, Jerome was killed in battle against the GCPD and Jim Gordon. Of course, Jerome’s farewell gift to his twin brother Jeremiah was a package containing insanity gas, insuring that brother Jeremiah picks up where Jerome left off.

Both there is so much more going on than that. This week, it’s time for Jerome’s wake as his followers and disciples all decide, on Jerome’s posthumous orders, to attack GCPD HQ (what insurance firm would still be willing to cover the attacked every week precinct?). But it’s all a ruse to allow Jeremiah to reveal a plan that is more sinister, more accomplished, and more layered than anything Jerome ever dreamed up.

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The twin Joker thing shouldn’t work. Like, at all. Twins are just the hackiest of hackneyed plot, but the twin Valeska brothers allows for Gotham to spotlight different aspects of the Joker. Jerome was the anarchist fringe Heath Ledger-like Joker while Jeremiah is more the Dark Knight Returns foppish evil genius Joker. Maybe there’s a triplet out there with a painted over mustache? Anyway, Jeremiah is a perfect continuation of the legend of the Joker that began with Jerome and it is a blast to watch Jeremiah’s tale unfold.

And unfold it does. The invasion on the precinct is a ruse to get Jim Gordon to investigate the abduction of Bruce Wayne. Throughout the episode, pre-death videos of Jerome play, leading Bruce and Gordon on wild goose chases. Bruce first sees the Jerome videos when he pays a visit to Jeremiah’s bunker. If you remember, the two are devising a new clean energy generator for Gotham, but it’s all a ploy, and to be honest, the scope of Jeremiah’s plans are kind of mindboggling, especially on Gotham, a series not very well known for its high stakes.

With the Jerome vids promising anarchy, Gordon figures that Jerome will send his goons after Bruce and Jeremiah. Meanwhile, Jeremiah is seemingly fighting off the insanity brought about by Jerome’s final present. Jeremiah claims that Bruce is actually Jerome in disguise and Bruce is heartbroken that the brilliant Jeremiah is suffering because of Jerome’s actions.

But it’s all a joke, and how apropos, the Jerome in the posthumous video is actually Jeremiah, and the whole thing is a subterfuge to trap Gordon in the bunker and set off the generator. Ironically, Bruce’s invention is actually a powerful bomb, and Jeremiah has more of these devices, lots more. Remember a few weeks back when Ra’s Al Ghul promised a “cataclysm.” Well, there you go. It looks like Jeremiah’s bombs will bring about No Man’s Land in Gotham City, a prospect that makes a potential season five pretty damn exciting. 

But it’s Jeremiah that makes this episode in the here and now exciting. The installment raises the question of whether it is Jerome’s gas that has led to Jeremiah’s insanity or has Jeremiah always been a batshit crazy criminal genius? The episode’s finest moment was seeing fake Jerome transform into Jeremiah. It makes Jerome seem somehow very small, and now, we are left with something truly dangerous and frightening. It’s like Jerome is a rabid raccoon but Jeremiah is Hannibal Lecter.  

Jerome was always running around, partying like a punk rocker on a sniffing glue bender. His exploits were small scale yet violent, however, in his coming out party, during Jerome’s wake, Jeremiah sets off a weapon of mass destruction, seemingly killing Jim Gordon. How poetic. 

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There is tons more going on as this Joker tale uplifts everything. Before the invasion of the precinct, Riddler devises a plan to spring Lee Thompkins for her holding cell. Jeremiah’s actions make Riddler’s job a smidge easier as he and Lee are reunited, and share a hot kiss during the chaos. Like the twin reveal, there is no way the Nygma/Thompkins romance should work, but for some reason, it totally does. Leeddler? Nyompkins? How do you ship this?

Penguin and Grundy also get involved in the action as they abduct one of Jeremiah’s goons in order to find out exactly what is going on. It seems like Cobblepot and his large pasty pal are going to play the role of wildcard in the coming catastrophe and that is when Penguin is at his best.

And before we go, we have to discuss Ecco, Jeremiah’s femme fatale. This week, Ecco dons a black harlequin costume as Gotham just continues to troll people over Harley Quinn’s status in the world of the series. I really like the idea of a Harley type character assisting Jeremiah in this proto-Joker era. It’s very monomyth to say that Gotham’s Joker like trickster figure, its god of chaos, must always have a dangerous and athletic woman in bells and motley by its side. It’s also really good for marketing.

So with tons of Joker and none of that Ra’s Al Ghul and Barbara Kean nonsense, this week is one of Gotham’s Season 4’s finest hours.


4 out of 5