Last week, things got violent on Gotham. Jerome and his crew were out terrorizing the city and murdering police by the dozens. Gordon wasn’t able to do anything to stop it and now the GCPD is down a serious amount of manpower. Little Batman almost sacked Alfred, but ended up strengthening the ultimate incarnation of the Bat-team. And good old Harvey Bullock finally came back to the force to help Gordon with his newfound troubles. So is everyone ready for round 2? ‘The Last Laugh’ looks like the murder is going to the next level.
We begin with Gordon being a crazy bad-ass. He’s throwing people out of windows and promising some serious hurt to whoever gets in his way or tries to hide the maybe-Joker. Unfortunately, he’s not finding a damned thing. He is, however, pretty much in control of the GCPD right now. With all the higher-ups dead, the force needs someone to turn to.
Eventually, they get one lead that steers them to Jerome’s dad. He’s left the circus and is hiding out in Gotham. But Jerome finds him first and shows up to plant some evidence to make it look like the poor blind guy was the mastermind behind the Arkham escape. Naturally, Gordon and Bullock show up just in time to run into Jerome, but not in time to save the dad. So they’re back to square one.
Back in Bruce Wayne land, he and Alfred attend a fundraiser. After a little chat with the future Catwoman, Bruce ends up in the middle of Jerome and Galavan’s plan. They’re there to terrorize and kill some folks so that Galavan can step up and become Gotham’s rescuer. Gordon and Alfred throw down with some violence, but ultimately it is Galavan who manages to take the spotlight by saving Bruce’s life. What’s more, he does it by putting a knife into Jerome’s neck. So much for Gotham’s would-be Joker… Barbara, however, escapes to fight another day.
So Galavan’s plan is working. He’s now one of the good guys. Bruce likes him, Alfred likes him, Gordon likes him and even the press likes him. His evil plan is working. So far. But Jerome’s legacy is far from finished. Our pretend Joker had some sort of effect on television viewers. All of a sudden, random folks across the city start going nuts, laughing maniacally and even murdering people. Some sort of nutty hypnosis, perhaps? Either way, more Jokers are looming on the horizon.
And in the background, we have a brewing conflict between Bullock and The Penguin. We also have a love affair between Barbara and Galavan’s sister as well as another one between her and Galavan himself. That promises to lead nowhere happy for the bad guy squad.
One again, Gotham did a good job of balancing out the progression of the show and the action. We had a brief but meaningful interaction between Bruce and Selina, demonstrating the essential differences between them that will last the entirety of their super-careers.
We also got to see Gordon being angry again. I don’t mind Ben McKenzie’s portrayal of James Gordon, but he peaks when he’s being serious and scary. This season has already made moves to develop the character further by bringing out that side of him and it doesn’t look like they’ll be abandoning that route in order to go back to the idealistic version of Gordon that was growing tiresome during season 1. I love the more human incarnation of Gordon and look forward to seeing his character pans out.
And finally, the best part of all – the death of Jerome. I’ve already voiced my opinion that the actor (Cameron Monaghan) just didn’t have it in him to come up with an original version of our beloved Joker, so I’m happy he’s gone. Though the purpose of his role may have been to be that generic Joker. Considering the ending of this episode, it makes sense that the writers and directors would want a varied yet generic performance so that they could introduce the potential for all of The Joker’s personalities that have been played by actors thus far. Either way, I’m glad he’s gone.
The most annoying thing this week was that the show decided to once again play up Barbara’s sex drive. First with her and Galavan’s sister and then again with her and Galavan. It’s almost as if they feel the need to throw in a little girl-on-girl action to spice things up. If anyone is listening out there – Gotham is not Game of Thrones. People don’t tune in for the sexy. We tune in to see super villains and action and intriguing storylines. You don’t need to pander to us. Especially not with Barbara… blech.
Next week, ‘Strike Force’ promises more fighting, a new leader for the GCPD and The Penguin going on the offensive to make sure the city knows that it belongs to him. And, naturally, it falls to Gordon and his team to face off against him.