We're only three episodes into season two, and already we're getting an episode that plays like a season finale. Is Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) The Joker? Or something else? And what will happen with the villains raining apocalypse down on "Gotham"? All of these questions are (sort of) answered on "The Last Laugh," and thankfully it keeps up the delightful insanity that's ran through this first mini-trilogy.
Here's every big moment that happened on this week's episode.
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) don't waste any time teaming back up again and tracking down Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), as the episode literally opens with a guy flying out of a window -- don't worry, he's fine. But the next guy isn't, and the dynamic duo will stop at nothing to track down the Proto-Joker... As well as...
Bad Girl Kean-Kean
Barbara (Erin Richards) has gone fully bad, sleeping with Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) and courting her villainous brother Theo (James Frain) at the same time. Theo, by the way, likes to watch. He stares directly at Barbara and Tabitha as they smoocheroo.
Oh, and Theo also reveals his true motivation. "Do you know my family built this city?" Theo tells her... His family was erased by the leaders of Gotham City, so he's going to burn it to the ground -- and help Barbara destroy Gordon in the process.
The Father Of Comedy
Gordon and Bullock manage to track down Jerome's father -- but not before Jerome tracks him down, himself. Jerome tells a story about his youth, and how his father basically abandoned him... But that's not why he's going to kill his own Dad. Nope, it's to frame him for the break-out from Arkham Asylum.
...And just as Jerome is about to kill his own father, Gordon and Bullock arrive. It's too late, though: Jerome has stabbed his father in the eye, and Bullock accidentally releases the blue, knock-out belch smoke from the premiere.
Gordon is a super-cop, though, so he manages to get his hands around Jerome's throat, only to be stopped by Tabitha, who knocks Gordon out herself.
This Is Where The Magic Happens
Is there anything more Gotham than holding a ridiculous fundraiser in the middle of a crime spree -- only to have the crime spree come to the fundraiser?
Naturally that's what happens at "A Night Of Magic," as Jerome kidnaps the real magician, replaces him, and then after opening, he calls Bruce (David Mazouz) on stage, and then puts him in the saw box thing... Which surprisingly goes fine.
Whew, no problems at all. Guess I was wrong about that whole "Gotham fundraiser thing."
Okay, so we didn't see this coming: Alfred (Sean Pertwee) straight up hits on Leslie. She rebuffs him, he offers to take her to an impossible-to-get-reservations-at restaurant... And she falters and almost takes him up on his offer. So are we headed for a love triangle? Are we going to see Alfred getting busy? Am I going to be creeped out if we do? Yes.
Knifes To See You
Okay, just kidding about the Gotham fundraiser thing. Mere seconds after Leslie releases the magician's assistant is Barbara, Jerome kills the deputy mayor, and his thugs open fire on the attendees. Bruce breaks off to go find Selina (Camren Bicondova), while Leslie is kidnapped and tied to a spinning wheel of death.
Gordon arrives to stop Jerome -- but he's not the one who steps up to stop him. It's Theo, who tells Jerome the people of Gotham have had enough. He also pauses and looks directly into the camera to say his full name, but you know, Gotham people are dumb, so they probably won't pick up on the theater of the announcement.
The Butler Did It
Theo gets knocked out, Barbara punches Leslie in the face, and finally after ten minutes have passed, Jerome threatens to kill his first hostage: Bruce Wayne. Since Bruce "escaped" with Selina, Jerome threatens to kill Alfred, prompting Bruce to step out and save him.
Gordon is close behind, though, and blasts Jerome's henchmen -- but not before Jerome takes Bruce hostage. At the last second, Theo "appears" to stop Jerome... By stabbing him in the neck.
"I know, I know, this is not what we rehearsed," Theo whispers to Jerome as the guy we thought was the Joker dies. And that's a weird, twist, isn't it? Because now someone else will eventually pop up with a very similar voice, smile, and M.O. to Jerome -- who isn't Jerome.
Still, Theo is proving that he's got a plan, and no one is going to stand in his way... Even the guy who was potentially destined to become Batman's greatest adversary.
Bullock V Penguin
Penguin is living it up in his mansion -- but quickly learns that even at the top, he's not immune to being taken down a peg. Bullock shows up, and lays down the law. Not the literal law, but the figurative one: Bullock owes Penguin pain for taking down Fish Mooney last season, as well as manipulating Gordon into killing a man.
Penguin freaks out after Bullock leaves, but this is also far from over.
Okay, so maybe Jerome isn't as finished as we thought. He's definitely dead, mind you, but now we know how he ties into the Joker... As the news reports his death, various people all over Gotham are inspired by him, driven mad by him, attack others because of him. He's essentially a thought virus, and any one of the people he infected could become The Joker down the road.
"You will be a curse upon Gotham," Jerome's father predicted before he dies. "Your legacy will be death... And madness." And yep, that looks like it's coming to pass. When and how it'll give birth to the clown prince of crime, we'll have to wait and see. But even with the death of Jerome, the rise of the villains is far from over.