Gotham: The Last Laugh – Jerome in the Box?


Watching the second season of Gotham has been a fascinating look at how show runner Bruno Heller loves teasing his viewers. The Last Laugh, which picks up after Jerome has slaughtered most of the GCPD and killed the newly promoted Commissioner Essen, continues the theme of “rising villains.”  We learn, in the episode’s opening sequence that Theo’s sis, Tabitha and Barbara are very close and what Galavan’s motivations are for wreaking havoc on the city of Gotham.

As Theo continues his personal vendetta against the city, there is still that animosity between Kean and “Lee” Thompkins(Tabitha seems to be a little jealous of Kean as well), Jerome puts on a deadly magic show at the Children’s Hospital benefit, Jim Gordon plays rough, with a little help from Harvey, and Selina looks all grown up.

With Alfred putting some smooth moves on Dr. Thompkins and Bruce telling his little partner in crime Selina that he misses her, romance is in the air.  So is a little insane jealousy from Barbara who tells a captive Leslie that she and Jim will get back together after a “harpy” split them up.

It is Thompkins who gets “line of the night” award with her telling Kean (while tied to a knife throwing target):

“You are one crazy b*tch.”

The build up in this season of Gotham’s new villains used  the premise that Jerome is the going to become The Joker. Up to this point is seemed pretty irrefutable;  look at the evidence: The maniacal laugh, the vicious sense of humor, the wholesale slaughter of Gotham-ites…

However…While Jerome, or rather Cameron Monaghan the actor who  plays him, channeled his inner Cesar Romero/Jack Nicholson/Heath Ledger, it appears that this red haired homicidal maniac is a red herring.  Everyone assumed that this kid was going to put on the makeup and the lipstick, along with that huge grin. 


Theo stabs Jerome in the neck during the big standoff between an armed Alfred, Jim Gordon and the “future” Joker who was holding a knife at the throat of the future Batman. Galavan rides his star Maniax member to the floor, with the implement still  stuck firmly in Jerome’s neck.

This mini villain, who killed his blind father earlier, expires with a mad grin, eye’s wide open in a blind amused stare and we see him, at the end laying on a gurney in the morgue the same way.  Sic transit Jerome mundi.  Theo tells Kean later that Jerome was growing tedious and that his one note act was getting stale. He had to go.

But has he?

The whole blind father curse (played by the prolific character actor Mark Margolis who was Tio Salamanca in Breaking Bad) where certain denizens of Gotham begin laughing in that Joker style of chortling and misbehaving in very deadly ways after watching TV footage of the killer is the real red herring,  n’est-ce pas?

Theo has been a master at deception since he arrived in Gotham.  Spreading porkies (pork pies – lies) all over the city.   His villainy by deception as well as intent with an emphasis on becoming the only member of a new ruling class is apparent only to us, the viewers.

Stepping away from Galavan, and his rather unhealthy relationship with sis, and the remaining Maniax; Harvey Bullock has stuck his head the in the lion’s mouth, or The Penguin’s rather, and this may come back to bite him in a very nasty way.

(And this is why we do not go to visit the “king of Gotham” when we are over-tired, Harvey.)

The “yes Ms. Mooney, no Ms. Mooney” insult, along with “umbrella boy”crack  has reached a part of Oswald Cobblepot that Bullock should have left alone.  The new crime king will wait for his chance to strike back and Harvey may become a memory all too soon.

In this version of Gotham, where Batman is still a rich kid with issues and the future Cat Woman looks all too gown up, things are all over the place in the verse. We are charting the rise of Jim Gordon, not Bruce Wayne, and all bets are, presumably off.


Jerome is not dead and this is not a “what the fudge” moment.  The actions of Valeska screamed Joker almost from frame one.  Viewers of Gotham should not be convinced of Jerome’s demise.  This feels way too much like a diversionary tactic from camp Galavan.  It would come as no surprise at all to learn that this is all a part of Theo’s “role as hero” plan.

After all, a hero is only as good as the villain he, or she, faces.  Jerome is, thus far, the most charismatic (and not in a good way) baddie in the show.  What better way to look great while upholding the law than to have the recently dispatched bad guy pop back up like some malefic Jerome in the box?

Gotham airs Mondays on Fox, do not miss this increasingly dark journey into the rise of the villains and Jim Gordon. On a final note if, in fact,  Jerome is dead and Weller has opted to kill off the “Joker?”