The cult of Jerome is no joke in Gotham

FOX

So we’re just one episode away from the “winter finale” of Gotham … wait, wasn’t that month long break between December and January the winter finale? … and if Jim Gordon and the GCPD didn’t think things could get any worse for the city, they were dead wrong.

But first let’s just get the one apparently useless bit of storyline out of the way first — Selina’s mother, and the Selina/Bruce relationship. It’s been cute seeing the two kids go back and forth on whether they’re in a romantic relationship or not, but they’ve never had a moment’s peace to even figure it out for themselves between Ivy and her antics and the surprise return of Selina’s mother. With this episode’s extortion angle that turned out to just mom playing Selina, Bruce and Alfred for $200,000 (and who didn’t see that coming), all this did was to drive another wedge between Bruce and Selina. It really did nothing to drive the story forward, unless it’s really setting her up to be a true villain and not just some scrappy kid who’s had to fend for herself any way she could. I like the friendship and the interplay between Bruce and Selina, so I hope this turn of events doesn’t make them bitter enemies.

The real crux of this episode was setting up the downfall of Mayor Cobblepot and sending the city into complete chaos to keep us hanging until the show returns on April 24. APRIL! Come on, Fox, that is just cruel and unusual punishment. Yeah, we’re all kind of excited for 24: Legacy and Prison Break to return but three months is a long time to kill momentum in the middle of a season.

FOX

Anywho, Oswald is still beside himself thinking one of Gotham’s criminal factions has kidnapped Edward, and Barbara is taking full advantage of his panic, telling him to pull himself together (“take a shower and do that disco, vampire thing you do with your hair”) and meet her at her nightclub to discuss a plan to show everyone that Penguin is not to be messed with. He agrees, but turns the tables on her when he reveals he saw right through her plan, hoping to start a war so she could benefit. But, a well-timed call from a “distraught” Edward sent Oswald back into a tailspin, making him fall right into the trap set by Edward, Barabra and Tabitha. Little does Edward know, but the women plan to take him out as soon as Penguin helps them by taking out the rest of their underworld competition. It’s a safe bet to assume neither Oswald or Edward will suffer too much in the end, and Barbara is probably safe, but when all this is done, it may not end well for Tabitha (and, by the way, where’s she keeping Butch?).

The major force this week is the cult of Jerome, and Dwight’s attempt to resurrect their fallen prophet. First, that whole Frankenstein mad scientist’s laboratory complete with arcing bolts of electricity was an amazing set, and even the costuming and camera angles perfectly evoked the scene from the classic movie where the Monster is about to be reborn. Except in this case, no amount of electricity seemed to give a jolt to the deceased Jerome. And as the GCPD were about to bust in (thanks to a tip from a cult member mole inside the department), Dwight did the only thing he could think of to appease the cultists who were expecting to see Jerome — steal his face!

FOX

But they weren’t having that, at least not at first, but Dwight has a way with words and convinced everyone that they are all Jerome, driving them into a frenzy. But back at the GCPD, Lee is in for a shock when her faceless corpse goes missing from the examination table. Yes, Jerome just took a little more time to thaw out, I suppose, and his interaction with Lee was very entertaining as he proceeded to reveal his plans as if nothing had happened, and she filling him in with one disappointing piece of information after another. It sucks to be dead, and then to come back a few months later to learn that the man who killed you is also dead, and to find out some cult leader stole your face.

But not having a face doesn’t stop Jerome. All he needs to do is find Dwight (he does) and staple his visage back in place (ouch). Dwight isn’t hard to find as he and his crew have taken over the local news to spread the gospel of Jerome to the masses, hoping to turn the entire city into a mad horde of cackling jokers (meaning Jerome still may not be the actual Joker). While Gordon thinks he has Dwight in custody, Jerome gets to him first, reacquiring his face and praising Dwight for his work and devotion.

But it’s all a ploy to get Dwight back for taking his face. Broadcasting from the city’s power plant, Jerome reveals he is alive and that things are about to get really, really bad. With Dwight strapped down with loads of explosives around him (it almost looked like something Wile E. Coyote would have set up to catch the Road Runner), Jerome lights the fuse, leaving Dwight to his fate. The episode ends as Gordon rushes to the roof of the GCPD just in time to see the massive explosion, shutting off all the power to Gotham. The episode ends with Gordon’s chilling words, “Oh my god.”

Save for the Selina’s mom storyline, this was yet another exemplary episode of Gotham and the winter finale is sure to be huge, leaving many lives — as well as the city itself — hanging in the balance. And kudos to Cameron Monaghan for his unhinged performance as Jerome. The voice, the laugh, the mannerisms, that scene with Lee and his TV message … just a brilliant performance all around. I hope he stays in Gotham for a while, but Monaghan still has another job over at Showtime with Shameless so his days could be numbered. Hopefully they will find a way to keep him around and let him become THE Joker.

What did you think of this episode? Should Jerome become the actual Joker? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

 

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