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Spoilers below for the latest episode of Gotham, so be sure to watch before reading on. Unless you just really want to know what's up with Jeremiah, of course.
Gotham fans are now three episode deep into the fifth and final season, and we have yet to see the maniacal, pale-faced scourge of Gotham City, Jeremiah Valeska. He's absolutely still out there, which was made plainly obvious by his face-painted sidekick Ecco, whose portrayer, Francesca Root-Dodson, really got to shine in "Penguin, Our Hero." When CinemaBlend spoke with Gotham showrunner John Stephens ahead of the episode, I asked him where the heck Jeremiah was, and if he was possibly responsible for all those explosions. His answer:
I mean, there's so many random explosions, man. He is in the city. They're inside of No Man's Land, and even though it's been subdivided into all these little fiefdoms, there's still what we're kind of calling the Dark Zone, where it's more anarchic and no one is actually in charge. And so we create this sort of legend of Jeremiah, that he's there, somewhere in the Dark Zone, and he's working on his own plan, which starts to really gain traction from Episode 4 onward.
Just when Gotham citizens thought The Narrows was always going to be the least desirable sector, here comes the Dark Zone to wash that complacency down with a boiling hot glass of screams. While this was obviously a concept crafted by John Stephens and his team, I think it's amusing to consider Jeremiah arriving at the conclusion that his home turf needed to get its own wacky nickname.
Like the Joker-lite Jerome before him, this second proto-Clown Prince of Crime is quite adept when it comes to influencing mass numbers of people to follow in his unpredictably deadly (but not clown-comparable) footsteps. He is a legend-builder who has generally thrived on chaos since his riotous awakening, and he's apparently been holed up within his little kingdom while working on what could be his last big evil scheme.
Before speculating about what that big plan could be, let's consider that we may still not get to see Jeremiah very much in Episode 4, titled "Ruin." (The name fits, though, doesn't it?) Take into account what else John Stephens told me about Jeremiah.
So, when he finally makes his appearance, his plan will be fully in motion at that time. I don't want to give too much away. I'm sorry I'm being mysterious about that. I do want it to be a process of discovery when you're watching it.
If we're to take those words at face value, it sounds like Jeremiah's plan will be an important element within the next installment, even if its creator could continue evading detection until later in the narrative. And it's not like Jeremiah hasn't appeared via videos and other non-in-person ways.
It's interesting the way John Stephens says "when Jeremiah finally shows up," as if we might be stuck waiting for him until well beyond the Gotham Season 5 finale. That would be blasphemous, and also possibly blatant false advertising, given the previously released trailers that have shown him front and center. But, there's little worry about Jeremiah being gone forever.
What's more, Cameron Monaghan spilled the creepy beans recently that he'll be transcending a mere two-character stint on Gotham by playing a brand new third character in the series finale. We have no idea who the character is officially, but it doesn't take extensive guesswork to arrive at "The Joker Baybeeee."
It's long been known that Gotham wasn't able to introduce specific villainous nomenclature in previous seasons, due to rights issues clashing with other DC properties. However, the Fox drama's five years of service were recognized by the comic company, which apparently loosened the reins for Gotham's final season. Here's how John Stephens explained it.
Talking to the restrictions that DC gave us, there were very few. They were really very, very open to us, saying, 'You know what? If you want to do that, go for it.' So, they were great.
Gotham will indeed be introducing Batman to Season 5 in the finale, when the narrative jumps forward quite a few years. At that point, we might see not only David Mazouz fully dressed up in Caped Crusader garb, but also a fully emerged Joker, with or without Cameron Monaghan behind the makeup.
Considering this season has an episode named "Ace Chemicals," whose namesake company showed up in trailers, there's only one direction they could be going, right? Of course, if Jeremiah is the one who gets a chemical bath, but he doesn't come out of it as Batman's greatest nemesis, then I won't know up from down anymore.
CinemaBlend also spoke with star Carmen Bicondova this week about finally bringing Selina Kyle's Catwoman out to play. Like the awesome person she is, Bicondova also gave us something to gnaw on concerning Jeremiah's impending arrival. In her words:
We're very close. We're very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very close. I can't say when he returns because then I'd spoil something, but I'd say when he finally does return and once we'll see who is involved in his return... you're going to be so excited.
She makes it sounds like Jeremiah might very well be showing up five minutes before Gotham's next episode even starts, as part of the local news. (That would be some mighty powerful viral marketing.) Selina's successful survival during Ecco's Russian Roulette test may mean that she gets to usher Jeremiah back into the world.
However, the trailers went pretty hard on letting fans know that Jeremiah will be taking Alfred captive at some point, presumably as a way to strike Bruce where it hurts the worst. I hope it doesn't start there, though, and that Jeremiah gets to live it up in the streets for a while first.