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REVIEW: Gotham 2×03: “Rise of the Villains: The Last Laugh”

Appropriately named, “The Last Laugh”, this week’s episode said goodbye to another character. However, before I can write anymore about my feelings, I need to say:

WARNING! There are going to be some major SPOILERS!

This week began with a much darker tone than the previous week. Still trying to capture Essen’s (RIP) killer, Gordon and Bullock brutally question thugs by throwing them out of a one story drop. It is becoming clearer that Gordon is headed down a dark path, and Essen’s death is just another push in that direction.

We are then brought to the Galavan home, where we see Tabitha and ugh Barbara. Apparently, the two are a thing and they like to get it on with whips. Seems like Barbara learned a thing or two from the Ogre. As the two makeout, Theo creepily watches them, and I get really uncomfortable. After Tabitha leaves, Theo reveals his plans for Gotham: to take back the city that was taken from his family. In exchange for Barbara’s help, Theo offers to aid in the destruction of Jim Gordon. This seems like a crap deal to me. Theo gets Gotham while Barbra gets an uninterested Gordon.

Back at the GCPD, Gordon is apparently in charge as he castigates the rest of the force for not having captured Jerome. Gordon…Bro…chill. They’re trying. Anyways, Gordon reminds the police that Essen and nine other cops died at the hands of Jerome. Wait, only ten people died? Really? After Gordon’s speech, Lee tries to invite Gordon to the Children’s Hospital Fundraiser. She even mentions a magician is going to be there. Of course, Gordon declines…but there is going to be a magician! I mean, hello? Magician = lots of pageantry. Plus there will be lots of Gotham socialites at a public event. This just screams Jerome.

Speaking of Jerome, there is something off about him. He doesn’t have his usual sense of peppy killer fun. Don’t get me wrong, he still cracks jokes and wears a devilish smile, but his vendetta now seems more focused and personal. After capturing his father, Jerome recalls his abusive childhood to him.  As more of Jerome’s motivations are uncovered, the logic behind Jerome’s insanity starts to add up. While I normally like scenes that build up a character, I thought this scene did nothing but take away from Jerome’s awesomeness. The beauty of Jerome was that his m.o. was chaos. There was no method to his madness. However, now that I know more about Jerome’s past, that extra spice that made Jerome unpredictable is gone.

Anyways, after attempting to lay a false trail for the cops to follow, Gordon and Bullock luckily knock on the door. And I say luckily for many reasons: 1. If Bullock hadn’t gotten the lead, forever incompetent Gordon wouldn’t have gone to Jerome’s father. 2. If Gordon had eventually found the false trail, I don’t think he would have discovered the hidden brail in the letters. 3 If it weren’t for Gordon and Bullock, Jerome’s dad would be dead….Oh wait. Scratch that. Jerome stabbed his father in the eye. Ew.

After discovering the corpse, Bullock accidentally sets off a can of incapacitating gas. Possibly dragon’s blood? Gordon then wobbles into the hallway and decides to threaten Jerome. Not smart Gordy-boy. Last I checked, you are intoxicated and Jerome has a gun. Luckily, Tabitha intervenes and orders Jerome to not kill Gordon. She then kicks Gordon in the face. POW! Alright, cool. So are they going to torture him? Kidnap and starve him? I’m so excited!

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But, of course my excitement can never last too long with this show, as we are interrupted by Bruce scenes as Alfred forces Bruce (and us) to attend the fundraiser. Gee, I wonder what could happen her at this seemingly “unrelated to the plot” event. After all, this fundraiser has a magician…nothing could go wrong here.

However, before the poo-poo hits the fan, Lee introduces herself to Bruce and a smitten Alfred. While Lee and Alfred became romantically involved in the comics, and while Alfred is giving more googly eyes towards Lee than Gordon ever did, I really hope Lee and Alfred don’t happen. Just..no. Meanwhile, Bruce tries his luck with Selina, and once again gets shut down. Bruce = Friend-zoned.

Simultaneously, as Theo reveals to Barbara his plan to become the hero Gotham wants, Jerome makes his way into the fundraiser as the … Magician! Whaaa? I didn’t see that coming…

Finally, Jerome takes the stage, and chooses Bruce to join him on stage for the classic Zig Zag box trick. While we all know that Bruce is going to be fine, a part of me can’t help but feel a little nervous. Not only is this the first interaction between the Proto-Joker and Future Batman, but also Jerome is crazy enough to actually put a real blade in that box. Alfred echoes my anxiety as he attempts to stop the trick. However, Jerome slides the blade in the box and …

We go to Gordon and Bullock. WAIT, WHAT?! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but go back to Bruce! Also, did Jerome and Tabitha just let Gordon and Bullock escape? No torture? Ugh. Fine. Let’s just get this scene with Gordon and Bullock over with. Bullock worries about Gordon. Blah blah. Bullock warns Gordon to take it easy. Blah. Gordon gives his best eyebrow furrow.

Back to the fundraiser… and Bruce is fine. Phew. While it’s no surprise, Jerome had me worried for a second there.

The evening finally gets interesting as Jerome proceeds to murder the Deputy Mayor in front of everyone. This prompts Alfred to suddenly kick some major henchman butt in order to save Bruce, who in turn tries to save Selina, which causes Alfred to get distracted and knocked out, resulting in Selina having to save Bruce. *Cue sarcastic slow clap* Way to go Bruce!

Meanwhile, Gordon arrives outside of the fundraiser, thanks to Lee’s warning, and somehow, Gordon is put in charge…again. Gordon and the city of Gotham watch Jerome, via a live feed, threaten to start killing the attendees if his demands are not met. Theo, then, decides to “step up” and “defend” the people of Gotham against Jerome. Unfortunately for him, Barbara knocks Theo out. Wait, I thought she was part of Theo’s plan? Did she double cross him? Does she like Jerome’s murderous plan more?

After almost escaping, Bruce decides to return to the hostage situation for Alfred. Coincidentally, Jerome decides that Bruce should be his next murder victim. In order to get Bruce out of hiding, Jerome threatens Alfred’s life. Just as Bruce attempts to reveal himself, Gordon, who found his way in, stops Bruce. Jerome conveniently waits for Bruce and Gordon to come up with a plan instead of killing Alfred. Tsk tsk. With a plan in place, Bruce finally reveals himself and supplies Alfred with a gun, allowing Gordon and Alfred to take out a couple of henchmen. Wait, did Gordon just become competent? However, Jerome holds Bruce a knife to Bruce’s throat. Just when Jerome regains the upper hand, Theo suddenly stabs Jerome in the neck. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

As everyone (including Gordon) stands around and watches Jerome die, Barbara escapes. I take back my thoughts about Gordon being possibly competent.

While in the aftermath, Gordon finally gets a sense of resolve for Essen’s death and Theo is hailed as a “hero”, the most important result of the evening was the awakening of potential Jokers around Gotham. As the public watch footage of Jerome terrorizing Gotham, some viewers begin to take on the famous Joker laugh and commit senseless murders, confirming Jerome’s legacy of “death and madness”.

Final Grade: C/ C-

Honestly, this was kind of a meh episode. They ruined one of their best characters and then killed him off. JEROME–Don’t go!

Extra thoughts:

+ I’m starting to like Harvey more. At first, I used to have my eye rolls perfected for every joke he would try to crack in the first season. But, I’m liking how he has become more protective over Gordon and his “soul”.

+ “Cops are dumb”- Jerome. I think you mean one specific cop (*cough* Gordon)

+ “I’m gonna help you destroy him. Not kill him. Destroy him. Body and soul”- Theo Galavan

+ Creepy incestuous moment I can’t unhear: “He’s a monster in the sack”- Tabitha about Theo

+ Jerome dies, but he goes out with a smile.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Elizabeth Banalagay