“You will be a curse upon Gotham. Children will wake from sleep screaming from the thought of you. Yours will be a legacy of death…and madness.” The line is uttered by Paul Cicero, played by brilliant character actor Mark Margolis, who is tied to a chair being threatened by his son Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan). The second season of Fox’s Gotham continues to push on full throttle by opening the third episode with the Joker-to-be killing his own father. Also, in between an awkward romantic plot between Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) and Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), we finally get so see young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and his future adversary meet face to face.
During a swanky fundraiser, Jerome kills the magician entertainment for the night and replaces him, satisfying his urge to perform. Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) plays his lovely assistant in an outfit that resembles the Joker’s comic book girlfriend Harley Quinn. After Jerome kills a city official with a not-so-tricky knife, he removes the fake magician beard and hat to reveal a hairdo and eye make-up that looks like the Steeple Chase Smiley Face in Coney Island (one of the original influences for the appearance of the Joker). Bruce and Selina’s (Camren Bicondova) relationship continues to develop and flower. Detective Bullock, a perfect fit for actor Donal Logue, is back on the police force, and Jim Gordon’s (Ben Mackenzie) psychotic ex-fiancé Barbara is still on the loose.
I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the plot twists and incredible attention to detail of the Bat-Universe, not to mention how sensitive the show is to fan criticism and demand. Even though Jerome’s unexpected death by the hand of the man who released him from prison turned the internet livid with grief, this might be my favorite episode of the series so far. I understood the meaning of Jerome’s death as a montage of madness unfolded: madness is a sickness and it can be very, very contagious. Jerome didn’t have to grow up to become the Joker, all he had to do was inspire some other unbalanced citizen to push themselves one step further. The point of Jerome dying is that anyone can be the Joker: we all have that little psycho in the back of our heads, and following it can lead to big laughs.