Gotham's grand finale will not be a joke.
A trailer and a poster of characters for the final episode of the series portrays crime mentor Jeremiah Valeska in Joker mode. It is highly unlikely that he will be referred to as the Joker, but the promotional materials leave little doubt that Jeremiah will embrace his own fate as the Clown Prince of Crime during the 10-year jump that will see Bruce Wayne, played by David Mazouz , take on the mantle of Batman.
At least part of the final episode of Gotham will take place after the jump of a decade. When the spot, titled "J," opens, there's the Wayne Enterprises tower, hovering over a dark Gotham City, while Julie Andrews's "I Feel Pretty" chords slide through the soundtrack. This gives way to a shot of Arkham Asylum. Inside its gates, a seated figure with curly, jagged hair stands motionless while the prisoners roam in slow motion. Then we see his face: it is Jeremiah Valeska, played by Cameron Monaghan, who looks worse after years, presumably, passed in there.
There is a very familiar chuckle on the title card, followed by a brief shot of Jeremiah looking at his own hand, impaled by a Batarang, with a mixture of alarm and fun. He explodes in hysterical laughter as the place ends.
Jeremiah is clearly meant to be a version of the Joker, if not necessarily the Joker. Fans engaged in the debate coming and going over whether Jeremiah, and before him, his twin psychopath Jerome, would become Gotham's iteration for the character, a debate that apparently ended when Monaghan tweeted a series of photos and videos. of the makeup chair in May 2018.
According to the actor, not only is he not playing the Joker, but the show is forbidden by Warner Brothers to use the character anyway. Executive producer John Stephens went on to categorically state this in a conversation with IGN later that year, saying,
"Jeremiah is not the Joker, the other characters are who they are, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, etc. But no, he's not the Joker."
The real Joker, says Stephens, is out there, following the tracks of proto-Jokers, including Jeremiah, Jerome, and others.
Stephens then seemed at least partially to return his comments in an interview on GameSpot in March 2019.
"When you look at the Joker and break down elements of your personality, and you erase certain traits of character, some of those character traits that we gave to Jerome, some of those character traits we gave to Jeremiah."
Stephens added that there are still other features of the Joker's personality, such as "a nightmare," which the Gotham writers had not yet explored.
This version of maybe-joker may fit that bill. He looks almost as terrifying as Heath Ledger's iconic interpretation in The Dark Knight, and that chilling laughter is indeed a nightmare. One can not help but feel that Fox is basically coming to terms with the Warner Brothers mandate letter while finding a way to match Batman, who is finally making his appearance in Gotham after five seasons and 99 episodes with his nemesis.
With the final episode, fans will finally be able to see Mazouz in action as the Caped Crusader, or at least his face digitally pasted on the body of a much more physically imposing substitute, opposed by a very wild villain. Stephens and company may insist that Jeremiah is just a prototype of the Joker that happened to fall into a tank of toxic chemicals in the same way as Jack Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's Batman. And that by chance he looks, sounds and acts just like the criminal he'll inspire with his manic ways at some undetermined point in a future that Gotham will never show. Of course, the guys at Warner Brothers are buying, but that does not mean that viewers need it.
The penultimate episode of Gotham, "They Did What?" will air on April 18; the ending, "The Beginning …" follows on April 25. Mark your calendars.