***Caution, Spoilers Ahead***
The latest episode of Gotham was packed full of content and there is a lot to unpack here. From the death of a major character, the birth of another, and multiple nods to the caped crusader’s origins, this week’s episode is one of the most jam packed in its history. The show took some risks with the direction they took the story and most of those risks paid off.
In episode 18, That’s Entertainment, Jerome and his posse are back at it. Now that they have created laughing gas, Jerome is intent on spreading it all across the city in order to spread chaos and make the residents of Gotham insane. Truthfully I don’t know if he ever expected this ploy to work or if it was always a ruse to get to his twin brother. Between his stalling for the blimp to arrive to him allowing himself to be killed, it was unclear what his intentions were and I loved the episode for that.
The posse goes through the city in multiple areas. Freeze and Tetch raid a Wayne enterprises site to have them manufacture more laughing gas and then take it to a blimp to have it mass dispersed. Jerome and firefly crash a live concert and hold the fans hostage as well as a few city officials who have explosives strapped to their necks. The ploy is so well planned out and true to the character of Jerome. I loved seeing him in front of the crowd on the microphone and bringing fear and chaos to Gotham again. His sown on face and terrifying smile bring true terror to all he meets. The character has had a good run and goes out in amazing style here.
Outside of this incredible villain’s seemingly final ending, Gotham gave us some incredible nods to the birth of The Dark Knight. Early on in the episode Alfred brings Bruce to the garage to show him something. What he ends up showing the billionaire Batman in training is a bullet proof all black Mustang. This vehicle is clearly the beginnings of the Batmobile and is sure to make a comeback in the future. Usually one nod to the caped crusader is enough but this episode gave us another. Bruce is celebrating his birthday in the episode and Selina drops by to keep him company. At one point she makes mention to his brief stint as a party boy who was a massive jerk. In this mention she says she always knew it was an act. From Bruce’s expression it is implied that it wasn’t an act but you can see the wheels turning with the idea that it could be his mask in the future. Who would expect a billionaire playboy to be the gaunt Batman who beats criminals to a pulp in the late hours of the night. A final nod to the development of the superhero comes when Jim asks Bruce to risk his own life to save others by strapping a bomb to his neck. Not only does Bruce agree but he comes eagerly with true heroism and then follows up later by engaging with firefly in order to save countless lives.
Before getting to the best part of the episode, I want to mention the worst. Barbara and this weird league of assassins stuff. Honestly it was a bit better this time around seeing as the assassins at least used throwing stars and swords instead of guns. Even still, Barbara’s little army are extremely silly and don’t fit in. Barbara herself had some interesting development and discovery. I don’t think it will last but it was fun to see her taking a different route than usual. What excited me about this was the end of episode reveal that Ra’s is not actually dead and that Barbara is an impostor. This is an intriguing twist and one that I look forward to seeing play out.
Now, let’s get to the biggest reveal of the entire season, if not the entire show. Since his debut, Jerome has proven over four seasons to be extremely intelligent and an amazing nod to the Joker. In fact, when I heard that Jerome was not going to be the Joker I was devastated (as much as one can be over a fictional character in a TV show). Cameron Monaghan was cast as a fun nod to the character with no intent of ever making his character the actual Joker however after 13 episodes as Jerome, Monaghan has proved to audiences that he is one of the best “Jokers” in live action history. As such, the creators decided to get creative without going back on the statement that Jerome would never be the Clown prince of crime.
On last weeks episode, Jerome’s twin brother was revealed and this week, that same brother was exposed to a special dose of the laughing gas that seems to be pointing to the true creation of the Joker. Personally I had hoped that the final Joker would have been a no name character however this path allows Monaghan to continue the role which is for the best. Once exposed to the gas, we see a nod to one of the most iconic Joker images of all time. Jeremiah begins to laugh maniacally, his smile turns up and he grabs the hair on his head with both hands as he continues to laugh. In similar fashion, this is the image we see in the classic comic “The Killing Joke” when the joker is created. It was a risk to use such a beloved image and I’m sure some will hate them for it. Personally I am in the camp of being elated that they used this image as Monaghan has certainly earned the honor of recreating such an iconic image. The actor has done the character justice and I look forward to his true version of the Joker in the near future.
4 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow!!! (4.5)