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Warning: Gotham spoilers ahead, don't read any further if you are not caught up on the Batman prequel series
Gotham has produced a ton of memorable characters over the course of the last few years, but nobody has become more popular than Jerome. The proto-Joker became an immediate fan favorite with audiences for his delightfully unique brand of insanity, and pretty much everyone was shocked when he died at the hands of Theo Galavan last year. However, the character is now set to return when the latter half of Gotham's third season premieres, and he's going to have an immense impact on Bruce Wayne. Gotham executive producer John Stevens explained:
[Bruce] really gets pulled into the Jerome story. We really see a big step that he takes. Another brick in that wall [of the Batman philosophy] gets built in episode 14, and it gets built via Jerome. Jerome being the stand-in for the person we know he probably is out there. [sic] It's, for us, really significant that that guy ends up informing this part of Batman's mythology.
John Stevens' comments to TV Guide aren't terribly specific -- particularly with regards to how Jerome will come back from the dead -- but they maintain the promise that the Batman/Joker dynamic will become even deeper and more pronounced when Jerome and Bruce see each other again. As the conflict between these two characters continues, we will see quite a bit of Batman's underlying philosophy start to fall into place. Bruce has gradually begun to develop into the Caped Crusader since Gotham premiered in 2014, and Jerome's arrival represents the next major piece of that puzzle.
The return of Jerome is a welcome prospect for fans of the Batman mythos, and evidence of his arrival promises nothing less than a bloody Season 3 debut. Early glimpses at his upcoming story arc seem to indicate that Jerome has had his face removed, which leads us to believe that Gotham is about to adapt the version of The Joker from Scott Snyder's Death of the Family story arc. In that particular narrative, The Joker has his face removed by The Dollmaker, and he goes around wearing the rotting flesh as a mask over the exposed muscle of his face. It's gross, it's disturbing, and it has already become one of the most iconic versions of The Joker.
We have said it before, and we will say it again; Gotham has seriously proven itself unafraid to completely upend everything that we think we know about the Batman mythos. As most fans of The Caped Crusader already know, The Joker is most typically depicted as a reaction to Batman's presence in the city. By contrast, Gotham seems to be framing the arrival of Batman as the response to its existing supervillains and crazies. It's an entirely different approach to this superhero mythos, and it's a welcome change of pace for those of us who had grown tired of the typical Batman fare.
CinemaBlend will bring you more details related to the upcoming episodes of Gotham as more information becomes available to us. The Batman prequel series will return tomorrow night (Monday, January 16) at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. For more information concerning all of the most highly anticipated spring television debuts, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide and fill out your TV viewing schedules accordingly!