The Joker Loses Face on Gotham

first_imgStay on target NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Gotham had to be very careful with how it handled The Joker. Part of the reason he’s such a terrifying villain is his lack of a concrete backstory. Nobody knows for sure where he came from, or how he got that way. Every attempt to explain The Joker even a little bit has been terrible, from Justice League‘s “there are three” cop out last summer to The Killing Joke. (Yes, The Killing Joke is terrible. Even Alan Moore says so, and he wrote the thing.)But Gotham is all about origin stories. That’s part of why we watch it, to see the beginnings of our favorite Batman villains. So how do they solve this problem? By making their version of The Joker’s origin the craziest thing, we’ve ever seen. After all, the show’s complete insanity is the other reason we watch Gotham.Last night’s episode began with the cult of Jerome-worshipers stealing his body. The GCPD investigates the scene, and Gordon realizes what they plan to do immediately. Lucky for Gordon, one of the cult members was wounded during the break-in. Instead of taking him to a hospital, Gordon takes him in for interrogation. He learns where Dwight’s lab is, but there’s a mole inside the department. Dwight gets word the police are on their way and is forced to clear out before he can bring Jerome back to life. So, he does the only rational thing he can: Cuts Jerome’s face off and wears it as a mask. Did Gotham’s writers have a Nic Cage marathon before writing this episode?Gordon arrives at Dwight’s lab to find a dead henchman and a faceless Jerome. He brings both back to the morgue at GCPD and figures that Dwight must have known they were coming. Gordon draws the mole out and brings him to the interrogation room. With a little help from Lee and a syringe of sodium pentothal, they learn where Dwight is going. Ready for more awkward times with Gordon and Lee? No? Thankfully, their soap opera scene is short this week. Lee tells Gordon off and goes back to the morgue where, surprise, Jerome has come back to life. Dwight’s experiment worked, just on a delay. And now he’s wondering where his face is.Morena Baccarin in the Smile Like You Mean It episode of GOTHAM (Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX.)This leads to probably the best scene in the whole show. Jerome keeps asking Lee about what he’s missed since he’s been dead, and she answers in a bored, matter-of-fact, almost annoyed way. She has seen far weirder things than this. A faceless psychopath brought back from the dead is just another day in Gotham City.Meanwhile, Dwight has used his Jerome-face mask to convince his cult that they are all Jerome and that he is their leader. After stealing some news equipment, they hijack a broadcast and Dwight makes what he thinks is a Jerome-like speech. Unfortunately for him, Jerome is watching, and he is not impressed. He steals a cop car and arrives at the scene just behind Gordon and the rest of the GCPD. Gordon sneaks into the building, rescues the hostages and arrests or shoots the cult members. Once outside, he gets a call from Lee warning him that Jerome is on his way. He goes to check on Dwight only to find a dead police officer.Jerome has taken him to a power plant. After stapling his face back on in one of the episodes most cringe-inducing scenes, he broadcasts a message to the city, inviting them to go crazy. He then blows up the power plant with Dwight trapped inside, and the city is engulfed in darkness. “Mad City” may finally make good on its title next week.GOTHAM: Camren Bicondova in the Smile Like You Mean It episode of GOTHAM (Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX.)While the main story was crazy, scary and wonderful, Bruce and Selina had a more down-to-earth subplot. The man, Selina’s mom owes money to shows up at Wayne Manor demanding $200,000. After some discussion with Selina and her mom, Bruce agrees to pay up. It’s not like he’ll miss the money anyway. Selina has her suspicions, though, which turn out to be completely founded. Her mother is working with the man. The only reason she came back into Selina’s life is to get money out of her new boyfriend. Selina realizes that Bruce must have had his suspicions and confronted him for not telling her. This is where we see that Bruce can be kind of a jerk. He’s condescending and manipulative, seeing nothing wrong with lying to Selina and essentially paying her mother to stay with her. Selina rightly calls him out, and storms out of Wayne Manor.Those were the two good storyline’s this week. Penguin’s is in a holding pattern at this point. He believes Nygma has been kidnapped and Barbara is making sure he grows more paranoid by the day. That’s about all we get this week. The Riddler vs. Penguin thing is turning out a little lame. Let’s hope it turns into something interesting soon.Despite that one weak link, this week’s Gotham turned in a very strong episode. Cameron Monaghan is borrowing heavily from Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, but he’s adding enough of his own twist on it to keep things interesting. It’s a version of The Joker we haven’t seen before, and that’s exciting. Next Monday is the winter finale before the show takes a break, and I can’t wait to see what the new Joker will do in a city without power.last_img

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