While it certainly ranked high on the shock value scale, there was a sense that the Gotham showrunners would eventually regret killing off Jerome so soon. He might not be The Joker, but he was the closest reasonable approximation the show would need. Smile Like You Mean It corrected one of the show’s biggest mistake in inspired fashion that sets up the second half of the season for a wild ride.
Generally, I’m never a fan of killing off characters. One creative dead end for one writer is a masterpiece from another, but that next writer has to waste time resurrecting the offed character. That’s almost cliche in comic books and it’s slowly becoming the norm for Gotham.
To an extent, it’s a cop out to keep bringing back dead characters like Fish and Galavan. Eventually, those deaths lose any impact since there’s always a possibility they could return. Those gripes aside, Jerome was special and if the show had to resurrect one final character before making death meaningful, he was the best choice.
Thankfully, Gordon and Bullock weren’t 10 steps behind in Dwight’s effort to bring Jerome back to life. But that head start was killer. And Jerome was back … eventually. I dug the Scott Snyder Death of the Family comic tribute of having Dwight wear Jerome’s face. That made for a haunting visual, which only got more terrifying when Jerome reclaimed it. Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome is clearly inspired by Heath Ledger’s Joker, but that makes for a very unique and horrifying villain in Gotham.
Jerome is the kind of spark plug that inspires the masses and stirs up repressed feelings. And that won’t work out well for anyone in Gotham.
Meanwhile, the walls continued to close in on Penguin. Barbara manipulated him into taking out one of his trusted lieutenants’ crew while Tabitha gunned down the heads of the Five Families. This lacked the emotional weight necessary for a number of reasons. The writers were too focused on Penguin’s infatuation with Nygma to strengthen the whole Mayor Kingpin subplot.
And have any of the Five Families meant anything anyway? Given how easily they were removed from power, Nygma and company did Gotham’s underworld a favor. Clearly this city needed a better quality bad guy.
While the Penguin subplot stumbled, the Bruce and Selena scored again. Bruce is proving a fast study with women and folks with ulterior motives. He knew Selena’s mom was back in town only for his money, but played along to keep Selena happy. It’s the kind of thoughtfully thoughtless gesture a rich kid would make. And when Selena angrily attacked him, it was encouraging to see Bruce is getting the hang of successful defense tactics.
But all of Gotham is going to need to be on the defensive following Jerome triggering a citywide blackout. Gotham is one of the slicker looking of the comic book based shows and that final scene with the blackout slowly enveloping the city scape was amazing.
Smile Like You Mean It unleashed Jerome back in Gotham setting up what should be an incredible mid-season finale.
Rating: 9.7 out of 1o
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX