Gotham: The Last Laugh
October 5, 2015 7:45 PM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Things start to go full Burton in Gotham City. Theo has a plan for Jerome and Barbara. Bruce takes in a magic show. Alfred makes a friend. Jim and Bullock pursue their investigation into the new crazier breed of crime in Gotham. And it looks like the crazy is spreading.
posted by codacorolla (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, I sure wasn't expecting Jerome's fate.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:52 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that was a shocker. He went out on top, though.
posted by codacorolla at 8:01 PM on October 5, 2015

posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:00 PM on October 5, 2015

Stunned at Lil Joker's fate. I thought the knife in his throat was part of the stage plot and he would be whisked away only to return later.
posted by davidmsc at 10:11 PM on October 5, 2015

I called it last episode. Even for a show as on-the-nose as Gotham tends to be, one of the rules of Batman is that you don't have a character look, sound, and behave that much like the Joker and simultaneously give him a fully fleshed-out backstory that includes both 1) a first and last name, and 2) a vaguely-plausible psychological motivation. Jack Nicholson in the Burton film had 1) but not really 2) (as Napier was a psycho from the very beginning), and the hapless standup-turned-Red Hood from Alan Moore's The Killing Joke had 2) but not 1). Heath Ledger's Joker -- like basically every other depiction of the character -- had neither.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:06 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I still don't know where they're going with Theo Galavan. I was initially thinking R'as Al Ghul, but the talk about his family founding Gotham points more in a Court of Owls direction.

Which would be completely awesome, since it's never been put to film before.

After Googling, possible spoilers.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:11 AM on October 6, 2015

Yeah, they don't have rights to R'as, so I was also wondering what direction that was heading in. I think they could potentially conflate the League with Court of Owls if they wanted.

Anyway, I have to say that focusing on the villains instead of Mooney and Gordon is really doing wonders for this show. It exemplifies the quality of Batman's rogues gallery.
posted by codacorolla at 7:26 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

One other thing. This season reinforces the intelligence of beginning the villain progression with the Penguin.

Penguin is bad news, of course. He's a killer, a manipulator, a corrupter. But he's still fundamentally sane. He seems 'crazy', but only relative to the old school Falcone and Maroni. He's still organized crime. Penguin is untrustworthy, but ultimately somebody with whom you can negotiate (as Jim does, to his regret).

That just isn't true for the new crew of loonies set loose by Galavan. The Maniax and the insanity and chaos they represent is just as much a threat to Penguin as it is to Gordon. Once Galavan's plan is uncovered, it's in everyone's interest to shut him down.

But what's so neat is that even when he's eventually defeated, his echos, like Jerome's echos, will live on and plant seeds for the future. All of these rough sketches of villains, these failed first drafts, are setting the contours for a city that's going from being merely fallen and corrupt to becoming something entirely else, something stranger.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:27 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Barbara's ultimate progression is still the most fascinating wild card joker in the deck.

I wonder if she's got any deeper plan running, or if she's just playing the Galavans off each other for her own amusement.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:31 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I kinda figured that Jerome was too on-the-nose to become the Joker, and the producers said early on that they would be dropping a lot of hints about a lot of different proto-Joker people, more or less admitting they would be heavily trolling the fans on the topic.
posted by Etrigan at 9:23 AM on October 6, 2015

I like how you are supposed to think Bullock in a nice guy or a creep depending on whether or not he has his horrible hat on. This is especially true in some of the early episodes when you are just supposed to be starting to like him, and not only did they leave the hat off, but his hair seemed clean and combed, too.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:36 PM on October 6, 2015

I really enjoyed the coda where the Joker laugh seemed to infect Gotham; shades of Matt Wagner's Grendel. But I'm a little disappointed the knife wasn't pointed the other way. I'm not that taken with Mirror Universe Bruce Wayne Von Court of Owls. I personally would have liked to see him underestimate Jerome and die for it; dude's superpower appears to be smugness, and he's the weakest element of a very good show at the moment. I'm also bummed they dispatched Mark Margolis so quickly. Between this and Jeffrey Combs last season, Gotham seems to be developing a knack for casting fantastic character actors and wasting them.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:43 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Barbara's ultimate progression is still the most fascinating wild card joker in the deck.

A theory floated at the AV Club forum is that Barbara might turn out to be the show's Joker, which I could totally get behind. (I also generally agreed with the reviewer's concern that Jerome was carrying the show quite a bit, and his loss may sap their momentum.)
posted by mordax at 2:10 AM on October 8, 2015

There's a lot going for Barbara becoming the Joker when you look at the parallels to Bruce.

Shaped by being born into old money? Check.
Parents brutally murdered? Check.
Missed connection with someone on the other side of the law? Check.
Taken in by a resourceful and talented guardian/mentor? Check.
In the process of redefining a personal code based on escalating exposure to violence? Check.

We're hitting the high notes for Ms. J as the anti-bat.
posted by bfranklin at 3:32 AM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

There's a lot going for Barbara becoming the Joker when you look at the parallels to Bruce.
We're hitting the high notes for Ms. J as the anti-bat.

But the Joker isn't just an inverse of Batman (that would be the Wrath, and I would be fucking stoked if they made Barbara into that). Two of the best Joker stories ever told were The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight, and a key part of why is that the Joker doesn't have a true origin story:
"I'm not exactly sure what happened. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!"
He's just a force of nature, pure chaos and evil. Batman's greatest powers are logic and reason; his greatest foe has neither of these.

(The parallels to Superman and Lex Luthor are similar: Superman's greatest powers are his Kryptonian genetics and his human soul; Luthor has neither of these.)
posted by Etrigan at 6:03 AM on October 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

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