Over the course of the past couple of weeks, “Gotham” has really put a great deal of effort into telling the story of Jerome. This is a character who has shown himself to be devilish, intelligent, and also incredibly violent. He’s also someone who has been considered to be heir apparent in many ways to the Joker.
However, we had long held onto the theory that perhaps Jerome was burning a little too bright for the sake of this show; not only that, but also that the Joker is the sort of Batman villain who is better without the backstory. Do you really want to know the origin story of a villain without one? There is something captivating by the mystery, and we were thoroughly captivated by the big move that the Fox series made on Monday’s “The Last Laugh.”
Killing Jerome is a risky move. Some out there won’t love it, but for us,, we certainly do. It shows that this is a series with gall, and one that can still find ways to shock you even with many origin stories already down pat. His death happened at the hands of Theo Galavan, whose endgame started to become clear: He wanted to stage an entire incident at the children’s hospital benefit, one where he could come out looking like the star. He wants to leverage hero status with a rise in influence in the city’s politics; killing Jerome only became part of the plan when he went off-book (which seemed fair, because Theo’s acting was awful).
One of the best moments of the episode came in the brief scene between Bullock and Oswald after Jerome’s death, where we started to get a sense of where the Penguin fits into the entire puzzle this season. He still wants power, and he cannot like the idea of what Theo (and by the extension Barbara) is doing.
The story ended in a horrifying-but-appropriate way, with the show really reminding us that anyone could be the Joker, and the aftermath of Jerome’s actions is something that will play out for many weeks to come. Grade: A-.
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