Spoilers below for Gotham’s Season 2 finale.
Gotham used the second half of Season 2 to introduce and flesh out Hugo Strange and his House of 1,000 Former Corpses That Now Have New Objectives, and it was a creepy and darkly comedic success for the most part. One glaring fault, however, was that of the dead villains that were resurrected and repurposed, Jerome “Proto-Joker” Valeska was not among them, only seen in brief as a floating tube-person. But tonight’s finale seemingly brought him back, though through audible means only, as you could very easily recognize the Joker’s signature cackling laughter in those final moments as the majority of Strange’s Indian Hills freak show climbed out of the crashed bus. The Joker is back on Gotham City’s streets, people!
Though frustrating, it’s definitely not surprising that Gotham’s showrunner Bruno Heller would choose to keep the Joker’s presence in the background here at the end, perhaps wanting to open up Season 3 on the kind of madness that we got to watch Jerome unleash in the early days of Season 2. I can’t imagine that next season would begin with any situation other than whatever immediately happens next, as there were a lot of weird looking mofos coming out of that bus, including some hairy and growling things. But our ears were far more interested than our eyes as soon as those familiar hoots and howls were heard.
Oddly enough, the laughter comes in as we get a blurry shot of a covered-face person with glasses that looks kind of like Ed Nygma, whose fate definitely took a downturn in the episode. It clearly wasn’t him doing the laughing, so there’s no apparent reason to worry about that character transition happening, but perhaps the juxtaposition was to show us that Nygma is truly in peak Riddler territory now. Or maybe that guy was just Uncovered Eye Guy or some other dumb shit.
When Jerome was killed off earlier this season, it was said that the Joker persona would be handled a different way here, with the character’s anarchy-driven attitude influencing other criminals to engage in similarly maniacal acts. Viewers have seen that viral effect in action through Easter eggs and other references embedded in the episodes, but hearing his laugh so clearly in the finale has me insanely optimistic that we’ll see the Joker joining the other numerous villains in Season 3.
Sadly, we’ll only have those maddening cackles bouncing around our heads instead of our living rooms for the next few months, as Gotham won’t be back on Fox’s schedule until the fall. But if you’re looking for good TV to watch over the summer, check out our premiere schedule. Until then, keep it not so serious.