'Gotham' recap: Jerome leaves them laughing

Bruce (David Mazouz) on "Gotham."
Bruce (David Mazouz) on "Gotham." (Nicole Rivelli / FOX)

So long, Jerome. It was fun while it lasted, but you just weren't meant to be the Joker.

That's not to say Jerome wasn't instrumental to the true Joker's development later in the series. In fact, Jerome was a proto-Joker, laying the groundwork and inspiration for whenever the true psychopath comes to be.


But for the past few episodes, Jerome was the de facto Joker, from his unnerving laugh to his sardonic grin. He brought deliriously enthralling yet terrifying theatrics. And in "The Last Laugh," he leaves just as you'd expect the Joker to: laughing.

What's more, the Joker has always been an idea more so than an actual person. He represents "chaos for chaos," as the Penguin put it, and Jerome had that in spades.


"You will be a curse upon Gotham," his psychic father warns him. "Children will wake from sleep screaming at the thought of you. Your legacy will be death and madness."

Sadly, maniacs like Jerome leave a legacy much more horrific and a scar deeper than that. What his father forgot to include are the demented, attention-crazed people who aspire to follow in his footsteps. These are the people who will carry on his legacy long after he's gone.

At the end of the episode, we see those would-be copycats cackling and admiring Jerome, aspiring one day they, too, can have a moment of fame from committing senseless violence. It's the madness he wanted.

Jerome's demise begins when he takes the stage at Bruce's charity auction. There, he's the magician with Barbara as his lovely assistant. After performing a couple of traditional magic tricks, he invites Bruce up to the stage, who remarkably leaves unscathed.

His next volunteer isn't so lucky. He hurls a knife at the deputy mayor, killing him, then chaos ensues. The doors are locked and the Jok — err — Jerome (typo, and it stays) holds the audience hostage.

(Sidenote: Why is security at Bruce's fancy-schmancy events always so terrible? It's not like he can't afford it.)

The theater is a cutthroat business (last bad joke, I swear). Theo takes a knife to Jerome's neck, and his 15 minutes of fame are up. Now it's Theo's time to shine.

Theo doesn't want his name just on headlines or on the evening news. No, this egomaniac wants his family name on every building and street sign, plastered across the city. It's something he believes should have been done a long time ago.

"My forefathers were betrayed, their legacy erased," he tells Barbara. "I am here to punish those who wronged us and reclaim what is ours."

From what we've seen so far, his plan is to assassinate all the major Gotham political heads, like Commissioner Essen and the deputy mayor.

"What Gotham wants is a hero." But Theo is far from the hero that Gotham truly wants or deserves. Will he use his new fame as local hero to take over the newly vacant political seats? And how does keeping the mayor hostage play into his grand scheme?

More highlights from "The Last Laugh":


Best Harvey one-liner: "Not to interrupt your weirdly-timed make-out session." – Harvey when he stumbles upon Jim and Leigh kissing at the precinct.

Bad cop/worse cop routine: Jim's gotten tougher since he went rogue. First he slaps a suspect to get an answer out of him, then tosses him out a window. What would the Jim from a year ago say?

Grossest line: "He's a monster in the sack." – Tabitha to the deputy mayor asks for some gossip about Theo, her brother. Ew, ew, ew! I hoped we'd be spared from the incest references now that Penguin's Oedipal mom is MIA, but nope. Barf.

You might not want to sit down: Mark Margolies, who plays Ciscero, is oddly typecasted in gruesome on-screen deaths in chairs. He died in the bell-wheelchair explosion of death in "Breaking Bad," and just now he died with a knife jabbed in his eye, also sitting down in a chair. Am I missing anything?

Lonely hearts club band: Hearts were breaking left and right in this episode. Selina, in pure catlike fashion, acts aloof when Bruce talks to her at the charity auction. Poor kid. He just needs to realize that, like with all cats, he has to wait for Selina to come to him.

Meanwhile, the charming ol' chap Alfred made a move on a very taken Leigh. That said, I find it suspicious that Leigh didn't give Alfred a hard pass when he first started asking her out. I wouldn't be surprised if she took him on his offer for a date at that fancy restaurant when Jim's moodiness starts to wear on her.

Unlikely hero: Why did no one in the audience find it suspicious that Theo suddenly came back from the dead without a scratch on him?

Love pentagon: Barb's quite the player. First, she's still hung up on Jim and still feels stabby-jealous whenever she sees Leigh. Then, she started hooking up with Theo's sister and has now made the move on Theo, partially to rule over Gotham with him, also to make Jim pay.

Buddy cop: I love how protective Harvey is of Jim when he visits Penguin. "Call yourself whatever you want, man. 'The king of Gotham,' but to me, you'll always be that little umbrella boy. And if you come after Jim Gordon, you gotta come after me." Mic drop.

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