Gotham has just returned from a horrible 3-month hiatus. One that has at least given fans many behind-the-scenes photos, mysterious tweets, and interesting interviews to speculate on what’s coming next. Most of these tidbits have to do with the return of the fandom’s beloved Jerome Valeska and his relationship with the Joker.
We have gathered all of these clues to come up with three interesting theories about Gotham‘s Mr. J.
This article contains spoilers for what’s to come for Gotham Season 4
Before we jump into it, let it be known that most of these theories have already been also formulated by other fans. Mostly because all the signs seem to be pointing towards the same result. Here are the main confirmed things we got during the hiatus:
Jerome is not the Joker. It’s been said by a producer, by David Mazouz (Bruce), and later confirmed by Cameron Monaghan himself in a now-deleted tweet. Sure, they did go about it by using different words (“an inspiration,” “a birth,” and even by using a riddle). But, what we can at least get from this is that if Jerome ends up being the Joker — it won’t be as simple as just “becoming the Joker”. There’s going to be some major twist in the way. We will delve into in one of the theories.
The Joker will be appearing this season. In that same interview, Mazouz also confirmed that the Joker will finally be showing up this season. Gotham (perhaps because they’re fearing cancellation) is finally ready to introduce the big bad of the Batman universe, as it’s already been confirmed he’ll appear this season (probably for the final episodes as a cliffhanger). Whatever happens with Jerome, we will be seeing Gotham‘s Joker.
Cameron Monaghan will be playing two characters. And with this, you’ve probably already put two and two together. Many fans feared that Gotham (which seems to love recasting characters) would get rid of Monaghan to cast a new actor to play the Joker. The thing is fans did not only love Jerome for the character itself, but also for Monaghan’s performance of the Jokerish character. But with this new piece of information, it really does seem like Monaghan will be playing both Jerome AND the Joker.
Having now established these three points, there’s a couple of theories to explain the chaos and confusion:
1. Jerome will still become the Joker. Both the producers and the cast said that Jerome is not the Joker, but this could be just a playword. Jerome is not the Joker yet, just like Bruce is not Batman, and Selina is not Catwoman. Perhaps something drastic happens to Jerome that causes him to have a radical change and adopt an entirely new persona.
This could be through death, the vat of chemicals, or whatever other things they come up with. If we adopt this theory, the information about Monaghan playing two characters could just mean that he’ll play one first (Jerome), and then the other (the Joker). Just like Cory Michael Smith plays Ed Nygma and the Riddler.
2. The clone from Indian Hill will make a return. Many have already forgotten about this, but there was a particular moment in the Season 2 finale that had many speculating that Jerome was alive and had escaped Indian Hill along with the rest of the monsters. To make it even more suspicious, we heard Jerome laugh play over the scene.
After Jerome was brought to life in 3×12, the whole thing was just brushed off as a red herring or something they decided to discard. So that they could go with the face-removal storyline instead. But… what if that was relevant to the plot all along? There are two ways this can work: either this clone is the one that becomes the Joker, or the clone was actually Jerome from Seasons 1 and 2. So the current Jerome we have is a clone with no identity and no name.
Whether you like the clone theory or not, it’s got some good points: it would tie the loose end from the Season 2 finale, the Joker would technically still be Jerome, but also not quite, he would not have a name (and possibly no memories, but same psychotic personality), and he would no longer have all those scars.
These two theories (and other variations) have been shared in the Gotham fandom for the last month or so, but there have recently been some new pieces of information that bring some new and unexpected twists to this speculation. Take these with a grain of salt since, unlike the previous bullet points, these could be subject to interpretation.
Ben McKenzie (Gordon) talked about the episode he directed (4×16), and mentioned that Jerome will be away dealing with some personal stuff, or stuff from his personal life. This is quite shocking because, first of all, Jerome has no family left that we know of, and second, he doesn’t seem to be the person to care about others, whether they’re family or friends. If he’s taking some time off his crazy shenanigans for someone, it’s got to be a big deal.
In a new interview, Morena Baccarin (Lee) revealed that Jerome will be joining “a member of his own family” that “looks remarkably like him” and is also “psychotic”. Meaning, we can expect Monaghan to play Jerome, as well as this new ally that looks so much like him and that will probably become the Joker.
So here’s the third theory:
3. Jerome has a twin. Yes, some family members can look alike. But, for them to be played by the same actor, they would probably have to be identical twins. We know that Jerome grew up in a circus with his mom and that he didn’t know Mr. Cicero was his father. There was no twin in the circus. But if his mother was hiding his father’s real identity, it’s not a stretch to imagine that she also gave birth to another boy and that Jerome was separated from at birth.
Why would Gotham do this? For one, it could solve the whole nameless Joker problem they have. Perhaps there’s no birth certificate for Jerome’s brother, perhaps he grew up in an even more horrible environment (hence being even crazier than Jerome). Why contact Jerome now? Well, Jerome has appeared on TV a few times. So it’s possible that this twin found out about his existence while watching the news. And then decided to investigate about him and join him.
Ultimately, since he’d also be ruthless and unpredictable, he might be the one to kill Jerome in the end once and for all. The main difference between the clone theory and the twin theory would be that we’d have a chance to know more about the Valeska family. Essentially, to give him a more emotional goodbye. And, to still leave the Jerome-Joker legacy intact, as it would all stay in the family (or in the DNA).
As you can see, all these theories can have many variations, and it only takes a small twist to make one more plausible than the other. Gotham is no stranger to doing bizarre, over the top things, so nothing’s off the table. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see Monaghan tackle the nuances of Jerome and the eventual Joker.
For now, all we know is that we’re about to see some of the most exciting episodes. Not only for him but for the series as a whole. Season 4 has been arguably the best Gotham season so far. And, it seems like the best is yet to come.
Jerome Valeska makes his return in ‘A Beautiful Darkness’, airing on FOX on March 8th.