Spoilers ahead, fans of Gotham—if you haven’t watched Monday night’s new episode, turn away now lest ye find out what you don’t want to know.
So much for Jerome being the Joker!
If the title of tonight’s episode of Gotham—“Rise of the Villains: The Last Laugh”—didn’t tip you off that Jerome’s story on Fox’s DC Comics drama was coming to a swift but epic close, then sorry …the end of the episode must have truly been shocking for you. But for everyone else, this was not so out of left field, as Gotham executive producer Bruno Heller previously told Nerdist, “That story is going to come to a huge and shocking resolution which will explain the whole Joker myth and how it began and how the Joker came to be.”
And so it did! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as so much more happened during the hour. Now that Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are back together on the force, they’re angrier than ever and looking to restore order to Gotham. They’re patrolling the streets, beating up and throwing thugs out of windows when they don’t know anything about where to find Jerome. Commissioner Essen’s death—along with nine other GCPD officers—has pushed them over the edge and Bullock knows it won’t lead them anywhere until they go see the Penguin and learn what he knows. Jim was resistant at first (probably because he still feels guilty and ashamed for killing someone as a favor to the Penguin), intent on doing this his way regardless of who he pissed off in the process.
Gordon’s girlfriend Lee did her best to try and calm him down at the GCPD, and it seemed to have an effect—until Bullock received a tip that Jerome’s father from the circus bailed on him and stayed in town, so they rushed off to track him down.
At the Galavan’s, new femme fatale lovers Barbara and Tabitha enjoyed a nice morning-after moment before they’re interrupted by Theo. Tabitha left to “tie up loose ends” with Jerome, while Theo stayed behind to talk with Barbara. He applauded her for making sure Jim escaped the carnage at the GCPD unscathed, but what does he have planned for Jim? Turned out Theo believed his family carved the bedrock upon which the city of Gotham stands, but is salty there isn’t a building or bridge named after them. It’s revenge for his forefathers he’s after, so he offered Barbara the chance to see her dreams realized, too: not killing Gordon, but rather destroy him, “body and soul.”
Ironically enough, Tabitha and Jerome’s “loose end” was none other than Gordon and Bullock’s tip about his father. Jerome wanted to plant clues for Gordon to find that seemed to point to Jerome’s father being the one that broke him out of Arkham Asylum—essentially covering up Theo’s involvement. Before Jerome killed him though, father told his son that his will be a legacy of “death and madness.” Gordon and Bullock arrive at the door right as Jerome swung his knife, but he and Tabitha escaped after committing patricide, knocking them out with gas as they left.
Later that night, Bruce and Alfred arrived at the fundraising gala Lee was throwing and introduced herself to them after hearing so much about them from Gordon. Bruce quickly noticed Selina slinking through the party, and tried to convince her not to steal things from the people who were there to benefit a good cause. There was also a moment—while the kids were away—when Alfred awkwardly hit on Lee and yes, it was totally cringe-worthy.
Of course, that’s the least of everyone’s problems, since Jerome and Tabitha kidnapped the magician who was going to perform at the gala and take his place (with Theo and Barbara not far behind). Bringing Bruce onstage to “chop him in half,” Jerome actually did the trick without hurting him, but when they brought the deputy mayor onstage, Barbara’s mask fell and Lee recognized her instantly. Jerome then killed the deputy mayor and his henchmen opened fire, and everything turned into chaos.
Not only that, but Jerome had the gala broadcast into every home in Gotham, and after making his over-the-top demands—including 47 million dollars, a helicopter, his dry cleaning and a pony, because of course—Theo stepped up and pretended to be the hero before Barbara pretended to knock him out.
Elsewhere, Selina escaped through the back way (the same way she snuck into the gala), and Bruce stayed behind to save Alfred. Gordon spotted Selina walk out in the alley behind the gala in her party clothes, and decided to “go it alone” when the other GCPD officers claimed they were not equipped to handle the situation.
Inside the gala, Jerome called for Bruce to be his next “volunteer” onstage, but when he couldn’t find where Bruce was hiding, Jerome grabbed Alfred instead. Bruce quickly revealed himself in order to save him …but only after Gordon hid a gun in his jacket. Alfred managed to grab the gun, teaming up with Gordon to take out all of Jerome’s henchmen. Only… Jerome took Bruce at knifepoint. Before they could do anything though, Theo “regained consciousness” and stabbed Jerome in the neck, killing him before Jerome could reveal Theo’s betrayal to everyone. Oh and Barbara also managed to make a getaway, too!
Clearly, Theo had this plan all along, in order to make himself the “hero” of Gotham—using Jerome and nothing more. That. Is. Cold. After Jerome died, Theo ended up shaking the hands of everyone, including Alfred, Bruce and Gordon, something that was downright chilling to watch. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing! And he’s now perfectly poised to enact whatever revenge plan he has cooked up.
After all the dust from the gala settled, Bullock visited the Penguin on his own to check out a rumor he heard about Gordon settling a debt for the Penguin that ended in some guy’s death. The Penguin confirmed Bullock’s suspicions that Gordon really did kill someone for him, and Bullock threatened him to stay away from Gordon. He really hit a nerve, too.
Place your bets now: this season of Gotham is totally going to end in a Bullock/Penguin showdown. Right?!
Meanwhile, all might’ve seemed well in the Galavan household after Theo’s “victory,” but Barbara knew just how to play the siblings against each other. As Tabitha walked by, she flirted with Theo—and he flirted right back. Don’t these people know never to piss off a woman with a whip?!
“Rise of the Villains: The Last Laugh” finally answered the question, definitively, of whether or not Jerome is the Joker on Gotham. Obviously, he isn’t, since he’s, you know, dead. But he did pave the way for the real Joker to make an entrance at some point down the line, as the final moments of the episode showed off many different deranged men maniacally laughing while watching Jerome’s escapades on the news.
Will Gotham introduce the real Joker this season, or even at all? Hit the comments section to weigh in with your thoughts!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.