With one quick stab, the hopes, theories, and dreams of millions of Americans have been dashed. It’s a smart and stupid move for the show to kill off one of its most fascinating villains — no one has played a character quite like Cameron Monaghan captured the essence of Jerome — but it does open the show up to the big question many of us have wondered since a series about Gotham City pre-Batman was announced: Will we ever see the Joker? But before we can delve into Jerome’s “last laugh” (aptly named title that should have tipped us all off), some setup must be given.
After Essen’s death, Gordon and Harvey are on a rampage to find Jerome. A random street thug flying out the window is the first shot we see as the episode begins, and Gordon tells another to spread the word that they’re looking for Jerome, Barbara, and anyone helping them. As Essen reiterated right before she died, it’s a new day, and Gordon and Harvey are taking that statement very seriously.
Of course Jerome is tucked away in the safety and luxury of Theo’s home with Barbara, who has been enjoying some quality time with Tabitha (whose penchant for leather seems rather uncomfortable to move around in, but hey, what do I know? I’m writing this while in my sweats). Theo congratulates Barb for her work in keeping Jim out of harm and out of the way during the GCPD massacre. He monologues a bit about how his family built this city (probably not on rock & roll) and that he’s here to punish the people who betrayed them and “reclaim” what he believes is rightfully his.
Barbara speaks the voice of the viewers: She can’t quite understand or appreciate Theo’s plan to claim what is his by unleashing a bunch of “loonies” on the city, but Theo reassures her that this is just part one of the plan. What he has coming up next will let Barbara achieve her goals of fully destroying Gordon, “body and soul.”
Speaking of Gordon, he’s clearly not getting anywhere by taking to the streets to find Jerome, so Harvey suggests they visit Penguin. Of course Gordon’s not going to be too keen on visiting Penguin again after what he had to do for the new self-proclaimed “King of Gotham” in order to get his job back. Gordon is focused on getting the remaining Maniax if it’s the last thing he does — and he makes sure the rest of the GCPD stays just as focused as well. He’s barking orders, lecturing, yelling, and clearly not allowing himself to grieve. Lee succeeds in amusing him for a quick second while trying to convince him to attend the Gotham Children’s Hospital gala that she planned, but it’s no use. Gordon’s got a one-track mind, and he’s not slowing down for anything or anyone.
Harvey gets a tip about Jerome’s father’s new Gotham address, but of course Tabitha and Jerome beat him to the punch. They tie the poor old man up for some good old-fashioned Jerome-style torture with a whole lot of evil laughter. (Sidenote: Is anyone worried about Monaghan’s voice? Let’s hope he drinks some hot tea and lemon after every shoot.) Jerome reminds his father of something he told him in the past: “This world doesn’t care about you or anyone else, better to realize that now.” His father attempts to save himself and appeal to Jerome, but Jerome’s mind is made up. He’s following Theo’s plans to incriminate Jerome’s father in the Arkham escape. Hopefully Gordon and the GCPD won’t believe he’s the culprit just because some letters, blueprints, and knock-out gas are sitting around the apartment in an extremely conspicuous fashion. The cops aren’t that dumb, Jerome. Jerome’s father realizes he’s done for and attempts to insult Jerome by saying he’ll be a curse on Gotham and that his legacy is “death and madness.” Does he not realize that’s precisely what Jerome enjoys?
Gordon and Harvey show up right as Jerome is about to do the deed, but are too late once again. Before they can pursue Tabitha and Jerome, Harvey opens up the canister of knock-out gas and passes out, which leaves Gordon to pull him out of the apartment and inhale a little himself. Before he goes down, he gets to choke Jerome a little, but he’s lost this battle for now. A masked Tabitha knocks him out.
NEXT: A new, totally fake hero emerges