– by Mark Cook

Photo Courtesy of Fox.

Photo Courtesy of Fox.

Jerome is back!  After last week’s return from the mid-season hiatus, Gotham looks to come back in full force.  They are starting yet another plot line.  My main issue with Gotham this season is that it doesn’t seem to know what direction it wants to go.   All the hype prior to Season 3 revolved around The Court of Owls.  Remember them?  They have been a part of this season…kind of.  There was the Tetch story line, which was good, then the Barnes story line, which wasn’t.  Next came the Mario Falcone plot, which was good, and lead to a great mid-season finale only to return with disappointment.  Last week started well with a rightfully mad Lee demanding Gordon’s arrest all while Carmine sent Zsasz after him.  This was a wasted opportunity as Lee went to visit Barnes and pulled a 180 telling Carmine to lift the hit on Gordon…what?  She doesn’t exactly like Gordon, but the extreme malice she brought at the beginning of last week’s episode was truly believable until she quickly changed her mind and now seems somewhat tolerant of Gordon. This had such great potential, yet was taken care of within an episode.  There’s also the Bruce, Selina, Alfred, and Selina’s mom plot, which isn’t interesting, and the Cobblepot vs. Nygma /Tabitha/Barbara/Butch plot, which definitely is good.  Oh, don’t forget that Ivy is out there somewhere.  Yes, a lot going on.

Photo Courtesy OF DC - New 52.

Photo Courtesy OF DC – New 52.

This week picks up with a group going to find Jerome’s body, which was in a Wayne Enterprise building where the Indian Hill leftovers were stored, including Jerome. His body is stolen in hopes of bringing him back from the dead by one of his followers, Dwight.  An insider in the GCPD tipped off Dwight when he was trying to rejuvenate Jerome.  Due to his lack of success, he cuts off Jerome’s face, and wears it as he speaks to the followers telling them that each of them are Jerome.  When at the GCPD, Jerome’s body twitches and his face is seen with the missing skin; flesh and blood galore.  This part was completely morbid, but the dark and gritty tone that Batman is usually associated with.  It is obviously reminiscent of the Joker during the New 52 series.  Jerome wakes and holds Lee at gunpoint.  For some reason she doesn’t seem stunned that he is alive and goeson to tell him everything he has missed out on.  Some of it was humorous, such as when they were talking about the number of times Theo Galavan died, but it seems as if the death of Mario has made Lee bitter and emotionless.  As Dwight takes over a news studio to broadcast an announcement, he is arrested by Gordon and the GCPD only for Jerome to kill a cop and take him.  Jerome staples his face back on, which honestly was pretty awesome.  What a great way to pay homage to a dark story line that we probably wouldn’t see otherwise.  Jerome broadcasts himself blowing up Dwight due to him cutting his face off, which also leads to him blowing a power grid. Cameron Monaghan does a wonderful job with his depiction of Jerome.  The voice is somewhat remeniscent of Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker, but with its own twist.  Personally, I prefer Monaghan’s interpretation over Jared Leto’s.  Jerome is dark, methodical, calculated, sadistically funny, yet impulsive just as the Joker we all know and love.

Photo Courtesy of Fox.

Photo Courtesy of Fox.

Barbara pays a visit the Cobblepot to tell him that he isn’t only losing his following as mayor, but he is losing his hold of the Gotham Underground as well.  I did enjoy her comment about his “disco vampire” hair.  Barbara continues to act as if she is Cobblepot’s friend.  He doesn’t trust her at first, but Barbara now has the upper hand as she, Tabitha, and Nygma are systematically taking away Cobblepot’s control.   The Cobblepot / Nygma plot with the addition of Barbara and Tabitha has been a consistent highlight of the show.  The constant undercutting of each other in order to achieve their selfish desires is what makes the series intriguing. I constantly am wondering what Nygma and Barbara will do or when Cobblepot will revert back to his old, commanding ways.  It reminds me of the interactions between Falcone, Maroni, Fish, and Cobblepot from Season 1 that I always found interesting.

It turns out Selina’s mom was only in the picture to get Bruce’s money.  She used Selina as she knew she was close to Bruce.  This story line is still the weak link. In the next season Bruce needs to leave Gotham.  He is around the age that he would have left in the comics, and honestly it has been the worst story line of the series.  Send Bruce on his journey to begin his real training and focus on the villains, hopefully giving more depth to some of the story lines they tend to blow through. 

Bringing Jerome back brings intrigue back to the series, but Gotham needs to figure out what direction it wants to go.  There are currently too many moving parts.  Pick two or three areas and focus on them.

What did you think of Gotham “Smile Like You Mean It?  Did you enjoy Jerome’s return?  Does it renew your interest in Gotham, or is it too little too late?  Leave your comments in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!