Gotham has spent four seasons building Jerome Valeska into the most formidable foe that the good guys of Gotham City have ever faced. Between his pure insanity, his unpredictability, and his ability to gather minions around him, he's more dangerous than even the bad guys with powers and genius-level intellects. Now, the show has never presented Jerome as the Joker, and he's been referred to as the "proto-Joker," but he's so Joker-esque that fans have had to wonder if he'll turn out to be the Clown Prince of Crime after all. While we still don't know for sure, a gigantic trailer for the next episode proves that we'll see Jerome unleashed in all of his insane glory:
For a show that has been careful to clarify that Jerome is the villain who inspires the eventual Joker, Gotham really goes pretty hard on giving Jerome a lot of Joker-esque qualities, not the least of which is that awesomely maniacal laugh. The trailer does state that Jerome's legacy will be "death and madness," which certainly points toward the real Joker being inspired by Jerome's antics. That said, the trailer also opens with Jerome referencing the idea that a person could go insane "with just one bad day," which is a version of a famous line uttered by the Joker in The Killing Joke. If Gotham isn't making Jerome the Joker, it's sure giving fans some of the most iconic elements of the character.
Of course, the whole three-minute trailer isn't just reference after reference to the Joker. We also get to see Jerome assembling his "Legion of Horribles" for a brunch. The Legion is apparently comprised of at least Penguin, Scarecrow, Firefly, and Victor Fries. Riddler isn't seen at the mandatory brunch meeting, but a shot of him seemingly attacking Lee points toward him joining his pal Penguin and the rest of the baddies on Jerome's mad mission. The trailer does also show Scarecrow unleashing his gas and controlling minds, so it's possible that the Riddler is being forced to attack Lee. Just because he went back to full villain status doesn't mean there aren't some vestiges of his feelings for Lee, and those could be very inconvenient for him.
The GCPD will be out in full force to try and take out the Legion of Horribles, and they won't be the only ones. Bruce appears to be determined to help save the innocents of Gotham, and it should be interesting to see how much he'll attempt as Bruce the boy billionaire and how much he'll attempt as a masked vigilante. He already revealed that he considers Jerome to be his responsibility, and he probably won't simply give up on catching him just because Gordon says no. Given that Bruce is still many years (and presumably at least one more growth spurt) away from donning the cape and the cowl, he probably won't be kicking ass and taking names just yet when the Legion of Horribles enters the scene.
We can only wait and see. New episodes of Gotham air on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. For more viewing options in the comic-based TV sphere, swing by our superhero TV premiere schedule. If you need to know the important dates outside of superheroes, our midseason TV guide and summer TV schedule are worth checking out.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).