Will Gotham Bring Jerome Back As The Joker Soon?

Spoilers for Gotham are below.

When Gotham first began, one of the most unrealistic aspects of it was Penguin wearing his hair like that on purpose. But as we’re entering the home stretch of Season 2, the batty Hugo Strange has called off all bets as the head of Pinewood Farms Indian Hill, where he has been pretty busy as of late, mostly with bringing people back from the dead. Tonight’s “Pinewood” brought back not only James Frain’s Theo “Call Me Azrael Now, Guys” Galavan, but also Mr. Freeze, and it was during the latter’s suited emergence that Gotham chose to display its latest Joker easter egg. I think that placement was anything but random and that it indeed foreshadows Jerome’s resurrection as the Clown Prince.

“Pinewood,” while also deepening Bruce Wayne’s hunt for the Waynes’ killer, was largely devoted to showing off the experiments and abominations of DC’s Dr. Strange. It started off with the claw-handed Karen Jennings, whose presence was well-rounded considering her purpose didn’t go beyond a two-fold of exposition and having a claw hand. Alas, she died, the victim of Strange’s other experiment, Mr. Freeze. And then the episode ended with Galavan beating the shit out of the Indian Hill staff. The three of them created two instances of Strange’s own “projects” destroying other parts of the mad scientist’s professional life, with both involving one character who turned against him. (Unless Azrael just has a weird way of showing appreciation.) So how could this appear during this particular episode and not be a sign of something?


A pair of eyes with the words “Haha” drawn as the smile. That’s not really The Riddler’s in-prison style, so we’re obviously talking about the effects that Jerome had on Gotham City’s criminal underworld that apparently bled over into the artist community as well. Had the paintwork appeared in a less involved moment in the episode, I might not have paid as much attention. But, and I know this is only speculation, I’m 10,000% certain that this is a sign that Jerome will be one of Strange’s next experiments.

Even though Galavan killed the proto-Joker earlier this season, we “know” that Jerome was one of the people in Strange’s body tubes. We also know that Fish Mooney was in one of them, and she’s definitely coming back, so there’s are zero reasons why the doc’s run of criminal awakenings would leave Jerome in the cutting room tube.

I completely understand the want to wait until the very end of the season to unveil his magnificent return, though, because I believe that the Joker graffiti’s placement in that scene also indicates that he will be the monster that destroys everything that Strange has accomplished, not excluding the brilliant loony himself, with the help of his growing army of cackling followers. (I bet Lori Petty’s groupie version would be there.) That part’s more of a stretch than the general thought of Jerome coming back, sure, but I’m 9,999% sure it’s going to happen. Cameron Monaghan was too good not to return in some shape or form, even if he isn’t “The Joker,” but he would be especially fun to watch taking down all of Arkham in one sadistic swoop.

I’m of course aware that Gotham sometimes just has fun with the references and “did you see that?” details, and that this could just be the brilliance of one set designer or background artist. But other times, it likes to put its intentions right there on its shirt sleeve, and I think this sleeve is covered in white and red makeup.

Gotham airs on Mondays on Fox.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.