Gotham Recap And Review – S02E03 – “Rise Of The Villains: The Last Laugh”


For viewers itching to know if Jerome will be the future Joker, tonight’s episode gave them that answer.  The third episode of Season 2 of Fox’s Gotham, “The Last Laugh”, had the writers trying to get the story train back on track after its total derailment which started in the middle of Season 1.  The writing was still not up to par, but I have to still give credit where credit is due.  The creatives behind Gotham most likely heard the outcry from fans about taking too many liberties with the myth, and tried to mend it with this episode.  I’m still not thrilled with the outcome because it lends itself to other assumptions which mess with Batman’s world and, most importantly, philosophy.

Spoilerific Recap: After Commissioner Essen’s death, an angered Jim has been trying to get justice for her murder.  With Harvey, he looks for Jerome and tries to beat the information out of suspects.

At Theo’s penthouse, Tabitha gets ready for another mission as Barbara gives her a kiss goodbye.  Theo enters and tells Tabitha that Jerome is waiting for her.  As Tabitha leaves, he tells Barbara that he has a plan for Gotham City.  Claiming that his family’s legacy in building this city had been forgotten, Theo tells Barbara that he’ll help her destroy Jim.

Harvey thinks that Jim should see Penguin about Jerome’s escape, but Jim is reluctant.  Jim thinks that they should look for Jerome’s father, Cicero (last seen in “The Blind Fortune Teller“).  As a uniformed officer is taking down the police tape covering Essen’s office, Jim goes on an angry tirade.  He tells all of GCPD that they should not rest until Jerome is brought to justice.

Leslie tries to comfort Jim and invites him to a gala to benefit the children of Gotham, but he continues to blames himself for what happened at the station.  Harvey interrupts the two with information about Cicero staying in Gotham after the circus left.

Cicero enters his apartment and is greeted by Jerome and Tabitha.  After they tie him up, Jerome gives Cicero a recollection of all the pain he went through from his abusive mother and her past abusive boyfriends.  Jerome finally gets to his plan and tells Cicero that he plans to use him to mislead the GCPD into thinking that Cicero helped him escape from Arkham.  Cicero tells Jerome that he will be a “curse upon Gotham” and that his only legacy will be “death and madness.”  When Jerome is about to stab Cicero, he’s interrupted by Jim’s knocking.  As Jim calls out to Cicero, a strained groan is heard.  Jim and Harvey kick the door down and find Cicero dead with a knife through his eye.  Harvey is quickly incapacitated by a hidden gas pellet on Cicero.  Jim grabs Jerome, but the remaining bit of gas has started to affect Jim.  Jerome grabs Jim’s gun, but Tabitha stops Jerome from shooting him.

At the gala, Bruce and Alfred arrive.  They’re quickly greeted by Leslie.  Alfred is immediately attracted to Leslie and starts a conversation with her.  Quickly glancing around, Bruce sees Selina as she’s pick-pocketing people.  Bruce finds her and attempts to start a conversation with her, but she’s distant and tries to brush him off.

At Theo’s penthouse, Barbara wants him to divulge his plans to her.  He tells her that Gotham wants a hero, and he’ll be the one to give it to them.

Jerome is at the gala and is now pretending to be the magician who will be performing.

Theo and Tabitha arrive at the gala and meet Deputy Mayor Kane.  Kane is curious at the sudden mysterious appearance of a new billionaire, Theo, in Gotham.  Tabitha quickly gives an uncomfortable response to Kane and exits.

Alfred and Leslie continue to talk.  He finally invites her to dinner, but is interrupted by Bruce who wants to leave.  Alfred tries to brush him off so that he can continue his flirting.  However, the gala starts.  Leslie goes on stage and introduces the magician.  Still in disguise, Jerome enters the stage and performs a few tricks, delighting the audience.  He finally picks Bruce for one of his larger acts.  An assistant leads Bruce up to the stage where he’s put in a box to be cut in two.

At GCPD, Jim and Harvey recover from their earlier exposure to the poison gas.  Jim questions why Cicero would want to break Jerome out of Arkham, and is convinced that this may be a ruse.  Harvey implores Jim to go home.

Back at the gala, Jerome finishes performing his magic trick separating Bruce in two.  As the assistant leads Bruce back, she blows a kiss to Leslie.  Jerome then calls Kane to the stage.  As the assistant bows, she takes her mask off, revealing Barbara.  Leslie tries to call Jim, but is quickly taken away.  On stage, Jerome is about to perform a knife throwing trick.  He throws one of them and kills Kane.  A waiter fires an uzi into the air.  As people scream and hide, Alfred tells Bruce to leave and quickly goes into action.  Bruce, running, sees Selina and chases after her.  He loses sight of her,  but she grabs him behind a set of curtains.

Jim arrives on the scene and gets a call from Jerome via Leslie’s number.  Directed to a live video feed, Jim sees Jerome and a tied up Leslie.  Jerome makes a demand of $47 million, a helicopter, and his dry cleaning to be picked up.  Suddenly, a man confronts Jerome.  It’s Theo, who gives a very forced and cheesy speech, trying to make himself look like a hero.  Barbara finally knocks Theo out with a mallet to the head.

Selina leads Bruce through the route that allowed her to sneak into the gala.  After telling her that he misses her, Bruce runs back to save Alfred.  Outside, Jim sees Selina exiting the building through an alleyway.

Inside, Jerome continues to taunt his hostages.  Barbara tells Leslie that Jim will run back to her after a year because they were meant for each other.  Leslie kicks her.  Barbara recovers and tries to stab Leslie, but is stopped by Jerome, who seems to have other plans.

Jerome tries to get Bruce to come out from hiding by threatening the life of Alfred.  As Bruce is about to reveal himself, he’s stopped by Jim.  Bruce is adamant in going and tells Jim that he can’t let Alfred get hurt.

Bruce finally runs out and goes to Alfred.  In a quick stealthy exchange, Bruce gives Alfred a gun and tells him that Jim is nearby.  When Jerome gets his men to check behind the curtains, Jim ambushes them.  Both Jim and Alfred go into action.  Jerome quickly grabs Bruce and holds a knife to his throat.  Theo comes to consciousness and stabs Jerome in the neck.  As Jerome dies smiling, Barbara runs into one of the magician’s booths and escapes.

Penguin watches footage of Jerome on television.  He makes a comment that Jerome is only interested in chaos and not building anything.  Harvey then makes a quick appearance.  First showing some mock admiration, Harvey goes into the purpose of his visit: he’s heard word on the street that someone ended up dead after Jim did a favor for Penguin.  Harvey is even more concerned by the fact that Jim is now avoiding Penguin at all costs.  Penguin feigns ignorance in the matter.  Harvey, not believing him, warns Penguin that if anything happens to Jim, he’s coming after him.

Jim tells Bruce that his parents would’ve been proud of him.  Bruce gives credit to teamwork (foreshadowing his future alliance with Gordon as Batman).  Alfred thanks Theo for saving Bruce’s life and then continues his flirting with Leslie.  As Bruce leads Alfred out, he turns and sees Leslie kissing Jim, revealing to him that she’s already in a relationship.  Selina, hiding from a distance, watches Bruce.

Back at his penthouse, Theo watches himself on television as Gotham’s newest hero.  He tells Barbara that he’s sorry to see Jerome depart, but there was a “way about him.”  As the two kiss, a hidden Tabitha watches them in jealousy.

In a series of shots, we see various people — a man at a bar, a boy in a broken home, and two thugs who stab a homeless man to death — become inspired by Jerome and imitate his maniacal laugh.  The final image is a dead Jerome in the morgue with a frozen smile on his face.

Best Moment: Both Jim and Alfred going into action.  By now, I think Jim should just deputize the butler and get it over with.

Final Thoughts: I’m both happy and sad at the outcome of Jerome.  I’m happy that he’s not the Joker.  And no, I’m not sad that he’s gone.  I’m sad by the fact that the Joker is now a copycat wannabe.  The ending scene of multiple people mimicking Jerome is basically telling fans that the future Joker had no originality.  What are you doing Gotham writers?  Did you just read an issue of We Are Robin and thought that it was a good idea to adapt this to the Clown Prince of Crime?

Next: Catch up on Gotham with a review of Knock, Knock

More from Bam Smack Pow