Sunday, April 14, 2024

A Mandatory Brunch Meeting Brings the Potential of a New Joker

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When we were in Gotham last, Jerome made his grand escape with some new friends and paid his uncle a visit. Tetch tormented Gotham for a day and Bruce took it upon himself to bring Jerome to justice.

Picking up right where the last episode left off, Bruce is at St. Ignatius, looking for Jerome. Jerome didn’t pay the school a visit personally, but he did send Tetch to collect the information he wanted. It’s instantly clear the person Bruce speaks with is under Tetch’s hypnosis, even before he turns around to reveal a bomb strapped to his chest. Jim and Harvey arrive moments after Bruce but there’s nothing they can do to break Tetch’s hold on the man. Before he blows himself up, he does reveal the information Jerome wanted: the name of a former student, Xander Wilde and where he is now.

Turns out Jerome was too busy to make the trip to the school himself because he was hosting a brunch meeting for Gotham’s finest. By finest, I mean, of course, the most colourful members of the underworld. A ‘legion of horribles’ as he puts it. He doesn’t reveal much of his plans, but he convinces Firefly, Mr. Freeze, and the Penguin to work with him.

After Bruce’s stunt ended with him almost getting killed, Jim is willing to do anything to keep him safe. That includes arresting Bruce if he tries to involve himself in an investigation again.

Meanwhile, Jerome is at Xander Wilde’s office, shotgun in hand. No one at the office has actually met the elusive Mr. Wilde. He only communicates through a proxy. Jim and Harvey are a few minutes behind Jerome, but by the time they get there the one person with the information they needed is dead and Jerome has escaped with Firefly’s help.

Xander Wilde’s proxy is an unassuming looking woman. Yet, she isn’t surprised when Jerome is waiting for her in her apartment. She’s more than prepared, knocking him out with no trouble. When he wakes up he’s in a cell with a camera watching him. He seems to know exactly who’s watching him, taunting the person through the camera.

Without the name of the proxy, Jim and Harvey have to rely on good old detective work to figure out were Jerome is headed. A picture of Wayne Plaza has Xander Wilde listed as the engineer. That lead takes them back to Bruce, who isn’t too pleased he’s being asked for help after Jim sent him away that morning.

He still gives access to Thomas Wayne’s notes. Turns out Thomas met with Wilde at a strange address. It leads Jim and Harvey out into the woods where the only thing in sight is a small concrete structure. The man watching the monitors lets them in remotely and Xander’s proxy, whose name is Echo, leads them through the compound. The compound is entirely underground, something Wilde had been working on for years.

She takes them to Xander. Jim and Harvey are startled to find Xander Wilde shares a face with Jerome. Jerome has a twin! His real name is Jeremiah. According to Jeremiah, as kids Jerome seemed set on making himself an only child so their mother sent Jeremiah to St. Ignatius.

Jim offers Jeremiah protection, but he’s intent on remaining in his bunker. Jim sees he’s hiding something and discovers he has Jerome captive. Jeremiah tries to convince them he can keep Jerome prisoner, but they’re interrupted by Crane and Tetch breaking into the bunker.

Jeremiah leads them through the maze of hallways, but they run into a hypnotized Echo. In the confusion of a fight, Jim and Harvey get separated from Jeremiah and run into Tetch and Crane. To stop Tetch from hypnotizing them Harvey runs at them, screaming.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah and Jerome are having a family reunion. From their conversation, it seems Jeremiah’s claims about Jerome trying to kill him may not have been entirely true. Jerome threatens that he’s going to drive his brother mad. Jim and Harvey arrive just then. Jerome makes his escape with Crane and Tetch. Jim takes Jeremiah back to GCPD with them, placing him in protective custody.

While this has been going on, in the Narrows, the Riddler’s been running a club: The Riddle Factor. The draw is the chance to win a briefcase full of money if you can answer the Riddler’s riddle and give him a riddle he can’t answer. The catch is if you fail either part you’ll be subjected to a punishment from the ‘Wheel of Misfortune’.

Lee shows up, asking him to shut it down. When he refuses, she challenges him to his own game. She figures out his riddle. The riddle she gives him is easy enough. The answer is three simple words. I love you. But the Riddler can’t bring himself to say them, afraid if he does Ed will take control. So Lee wins the round. When the crowds leave, Lee is still around trying to get Ed back. A tense moment between them leads to a passionate kiss. It seems whether or not Ed’s in control his love for Lee is still there.

Oswald, meanwhile, has been trying to get Butch back. But as long as he’s a monster, Butch isn’t concerned about anything else. So Oswald offers to help Butch find Hugo Strange and a way to fix him if he helps him take over Gotham again. He takes Butch to meet the rest of ‘Horribles’. They’re there just in time to see Jerome test the next part of his plan. He’s had Crane mix up a new kind of gas, only this one doesn’t give someone nightmares. Something their unwilling test subject realizes as the gas hit him and he starts laughing… and can’t stop laughing.

Who is the Joker?

Or that should be, who’s going to become the Joker. The creative team behind Gotham has said time and time again that Jerome wasn’t their version of the Joker. Yet as time went by Cameron Monaghan only became more provoking in the role. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else taking on the name ‘Joker’. Unless you’re imagining Jerome’s twin. Jeremiah seems to be Gotham’s answer to Jerome not being the Joker. This twist allows them to keep Monaghan in the role without having to go back on their word. However, whether or not Jerome or Jeremiah becomes Gotham’s Joker, the appearance of Joker Venom takes the series one step closer to having Batman’s most iconic enemy.

The main plot this episode didn’t have anything truly grand happen, but it starts putting pieces in place for Jerome’s master plan. As for the subplots of the episode, one brought back another old but great pair, Os and Butch. Naturally, Oswald is planning on retaking Gotham. I doubt he’ll ever settle for anything less. If they do find Hugo Strange it will be interesting to see if he can ‘cure’ Butch and if not how Butch will react to that.

The other subplot brought Lee and the Riddler together. Ed’s romantic interest in Lee was something that I never thought would be reciprocated. But then again, I would have never imagined Lee working with Ed at all before the start of this season. Their partnership running the narrows was a surprising turn for both characters that works in both their favors.  It’s still up in the air if Lee truly has feelings for him or if this is manipulation to get her ally back. I’ll hold off judgement on this latest development for now.

Next week promises another round of Jerome induced mayhem.

Images courtesy of Fox.

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