How the ‘Gotham’ Joker Reveal Changes Everything

Jonathan Domineck
TV Batman
TV Batman DC

Gotham finally revealed Jeremiah Valeska as the character that will go on to become the Joker. The revelation came as a surprise to fans who were expecting his twin brother, and Gotham’s already established resident psychopath, Jerome, to ultimately evolve into the Clown Prince of Crime. However, Jerome was nothing more than the inspiration and catalyst for the Joker’s creation. Gotham’s Joker reveal changes everything for the series where typically the only thing that can be expected is the unexpected.

How the Reveal Resets Expectations for the Joker

Jeremiah Valeska
Could Jeremiah possibly be even crazier than his deranged twin brother?

After almost four seasons of teasing the emergence of Batman’s most iconic villain, Gotham finally delivered its Joker. Choosing to reveal Jeremiah as the Joker instead of Jerome was yet another interesting twist for a series that has often deviated from fans’ expectations in its interpretation of the Batman mythos. Yet, the switch makes sense. It allows Gotham to wipe the slate clean and inject a bit more mystery into the character.

Whereas Jerome’s backstory has been flushed out, little is known about Jeremiah outside of his being a child prodigy and potentially sharing the same propensity for insanity as his brother. Gotham will be able to hold onto some of Jerome’s established traits while injecting Jeremiah’s new and unexplored psychotic tendencies.

Cameron Monaghan staying on to play the Joker is a positive. Fans don’t have to reinvest in another actor coming in to take over a role they felt had already been brilliantly established. Monaghan’s performance as the Joker-esque Jerome had been heralded by critics and fans alike. Monaghan managed to infuse elements of previous incarnations of the Joker into the character, channeling actors like Cesar RomeroJack NicholsonHeath Ledger, and even Mark Hamill. Fans would’ve been disappointed if they cast another actor.

How Gotham Set the Stage for the Joker

Jerome Valeska and Bruce Wayne
Jerome provided the foundation for the Joker.

Since Gotham began, fans have been looking for clues to identify which character would ultimately evolve into Batman’s most revered archenemy. Yet, even in comic books, Joker’s origin remains a mystery. Was he a scientist, a failed comedian, a sadistic gangster? As the Joker stated in the infamous The Killing Joke, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

From a failed comedian tease to the Red Hood Gang, Gotham has worked to set the stage for the Joker in a number of ways. But no character has stolen the stage like Jerome Valeska. Jerome was a natural fit for the Joker, embodying his maniacal laugh, his deranged sense of humor, his homicidal tendencies, and his flair for theatrics. The news that he wouldn’t become the Joker didn’t sit well with some fans that felt he already fit the role.

The Penguin and Jerome from Gotham
Jerome's madness even bothered Penguin.

However, Jerome’s contributions to Gotham weren’t lost with the reveal. Jerome established a foundation for the Joker, as his showcased chaos differentiated him from any of the other villains. Even Penguin feared the ramifications of Jerome’s brand of crime, leading him to betray his fellow villains and work with the GCPD to bring an end to Jerome’s reign of terror.

But as was predicted by his father, Cicero, Jerome would go on to leave behind a legacy of death and madness. His murderous escapades and release of an even-more-sinister twin brother to continue wreaking havoc in his stead will leave a lasting impact on the inhabitants of Gotham City.

How the Joker Will Change Gotham

Jeremiah transforming into the Joker.
Jerome got the last laugh as Jeremiah presumably transforms into the Joker.

Gotham began as a modest, mob-based detective crime drama set in pre-Batman Gotham City. Over the years, the show has not-so-subtly transformed into a show driven by insane conflicts between Batman’s major villains and the GCPD. However, for the most part, Batman has been able to remain in the shadows. Now, that the Joker’s loose, this will change soon.

Unlike other villains that spend their time jockeying for position in Gotham’s underworld, the Joker is set on causing chaos for chaos’ sake. The Joker’s brand of crime will undoubtedly lead to incredibly darker times for Gotham City. Jeremiah’s intelligence and natural penchant for chaos make his Joker the perfect adversary for Bruce Wayne’s Batman. And while the show has found success in the past by having its villains face off against Gotham’s finest, it seems unlikely that this will continue. After all, how can you have the Joker on the show with no Batman?

With the Caped Crusader’s most dangerous villain running rampant, Bruce Wayne’s journey to become the Dark Knight will have to take a more prominent role. This, of course, represents a stark departure from the comics where Bruce Wayne is in his 20s before he fully assumes the role of Gotham’s protector. However, it wouldn’t be the first time — and likely not the last — that the show deviated from established comic folklore.

The Joker Reveal Foreshadows Darker Times for Gotham

Jeremiah and Jerome Valeska
Sibling rivalry at its craziest!

Gotham’s reveal of Jeremiah as the Joker sets up an exciting change for the show. We now have a character that can truly only be rivaled by Batman. Through Jeremiah, Gotham will be able to delve deeper into the mind of the maniac we know as the Joker while still adhering to the underlying mystery of the character. It remains to be seen if Jeremiah is the final step in the evolution of the Joker. Maybe Gotham’s version of the Joker really is beyond a mere man and more of a concept that emboldens those that embrace the madness. Whatever the case, Gotham’s reveal sets up the show to go in a darker and more twisted direction.

Jonathan Domineck
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