February 16, 2017

‘Gotham’ May Be Goofy, but Jerome is No Joke

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Written by: Sean McAloon
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Despite Gotham’s many flaws and ludicrous plot lines it still manages to deliver a decent comic book show and at times it can even exceed expectations. That can be said about the recently aired ‘Gotham’ Winter Finale/ Season 4 premiere. In full disclosure I am not really caught up on the current events of Gotham City, so this article is mainly going to focus on the whole reason I even tuned in to begin with, which is of course the return of Jerome.


Based on this 3 episode arc alone, the drama amongst the “kids” overall is more interesting than strorylines playing out amongst the adult villains. The dynamic between Ed and Oswald is interesting but the way it all plays out is so pointless. I’m starting to think this show is developing a more “meta” vibe as it grows, or it could be that they are truly lazy when it comes to dealing with certain elements and have no problem becoming a running joke cliche (fans of the show should know what I’m referring to).

The other characters are honestly just there to flesh out the city, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite how ludicrous the plot may get, it is important to keep in mind that the show is essentially about a city that becomes so corrupt that it eventually needs a vigilante hero to help restore balance (aka Batman). But before we can get Batman, Gotham has to become the festering crime ridden sewers we know it to be. This is exactly where a giant sandbox of villains and rogues come in handy.

Getting to the main attraction. The return of Jerome. Jerome’s first appearance in the series has been marked by critics and fans as the “best episodes” to date. The show continually shocks with how far they are willing to go and Jerome and “the maniacs” certainly highlighted that. Not to mention fans will always go nuts over any new version of the Clown Prince of Crime. Atleast in this case, the admiration is deserved.

Cameron Monaghan, best known for his work on Shameless delivers a truly interesting and intriguing version of the character. The first time around we got a taste, but this arc fully embraces the origins of the character. And it does not hold back. Maybe it’s just because I’m always expecting such vanilla mellow drama, but I was honestly jaw dropped by some of the more violent acts portrayed on camera.

I honestly have to say this interpretation of the infamous character is actually just short of flawless, held back only by the constraints of the show. Monaghan’s performance falls somewhere between Heath Ledgers‘ iconic version and the silliness brought by Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series. To me it honestly is the best of both worlds. The way the Monaghan delivers his lines, particularly the scene in Wayne Manor will definitely remind fans of Ledgers amazing monologues, while the movements and actions of the character fall more on the Hamill side of the character.

At this point we are essentially seeing the “origins” of The Joker. Although many fans view ‘The Killing Joke’ as the characters origin story, there has never been a definitive origin of the character, and ‘Gotham’ really seems to be having fun and taking liberties. As the season 4 premiere primarily takes place at a carnival, it would definitely seem that the show at least recognizes “The Killing Joke” as a great foundation to build off of.

Obviously Bruno Heller (creator/showrunner) and the rest of the creatives working on ‘Gotham’ know that when working with the character of the Joker, there is little room for error. Despite having free reign of Batmans extensive collection of rogues, there are still certain traits and plot lines the fans come to expect when it’s their favorite villain joining the sandbox.

I would actually go as far to say that at this point in the story, a proper Joker is your main priority. Obviously the case for why Bruce is the most important character could easily be made, but I don’t feel that’s where ‘Gotham’ is at (timeline wise), atleast for now. Bruce’s journey to eventually dawning the cape and cowl is what we’re building up to, but in the meantime, the show continues to flesh out the city and create a need for the Batman.

Young Master Wayne’s training with Alfred proves to be paying off, as showcased multiple times throughout the finale. The most effective of these scenes is when Jerome takes a staple gun to Bruce’s arm. This is a nice touch. Not only does it show the characters ability to absorb pain but it also proves his ability to be resourceful (as we see the staples come back to help Bruce in the end).

We still have a long way to go before we the transformation from Bruce to Bats, but watching the character progress has been more entertaining than I originally thought possible. The fact that Bruce experiences Gothams depravity first hand time and time again, although cliche, is effective in creating a character that would grow up to be a vigilante.

Even though the only reason I really ended up watching these episodes was due to the buzz around the return of Jerome, I will say ‘Gotham’ as whole has me intrigued. The show is certainly not without its flaws, but given the fact that its been awhile since I last took a stroll through ‘Gotham’, I have to say I am actually looking forward to the return of the series and will be be tuning in for atleast the next few episodes.


About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.



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