Gotham Smile Like You Mean It Review
FOX‘s Gotham: Season 3, Episode 13: Smile Like You Mean It has finally brought back Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) from the dead.
Not that it wasn’t unexpected. But his death last season definitely felt like an end note to his short stint as a villain of Gotham. If you can even call it that.
There seems to be an unwritten rule of Gotham that the best bad guys do not stay dead for long, especially if they’re destined to clash with grown up Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) in various forms of media in the distant future.
By the end of last week’s episode, it became obviously apparent that Jerome is, in fact, the beloved Joker. By far one of the most disturbing villains in the franchise.
Taking on the mantle of the Joker always feels controversial. After Heath Ledger set the bar so high in The Dark Knight it seems almost impossible to do more.
Smile Like You Mean It slightly parodies this idea when the Gotham coroner, Dwight Pollard (David Dastmalchian) tries to take on Jerome’s mantle. Dwight cuts off Jerome’s face and applies it on his own. The thing that makes the Joker such a distinct figure in the Batman universe is that his persona and abilities are hard to duplicate. One cannot just say they are the Joker, they have to be the Joker.
Jerome’s persona in the beginning of the episode of Gotham is purely built around Dwight’s desire to take on his persona. In Dwight’s world and to his followers, Jerome becomes the image of a god. It is very interesting to imagine The Joker as a cult figure. In his film presentation at least the Joker has worked more as a lone wolf who garners followers as a way to benefit his goals.
Dwight’s frivolous desires to become Jerome negates the fact that it takes more to be a legitimate villain in this town than laughing like a maniac and strapping another’s man skin to your face. It’s a weird twisted form of art.
In Jerome’s first public monologue since he died it is clear just how unpredictable of a character he is. Even when Dwight comes face-to-face with his idol he appears legitimately nervous about Jerome’s next moves.
Despite how much Dwight built Jerome up to be some kind of insane god-like man when Jerome comes back to life he definitely doesn’t have any god-like tendencies. In Dwight’s case, it must be quite disappointing to be annihilated by your own hero.
With the Gotham villains we’ve seen thus far, it has been relatively manageable. Gotham hasn’t quite imploded on itself yet. Gotham City Police Detective James “Jim” Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is back to his white knight savior ways. But in the final moments of the episode, we see Gordon rushing off to the power plant. There is an ominous sense of dread. Obviously, Gordon won’t make it in time. Gordon watches from the roof of the GCPD as the City of Gotham plunges into darkness. The future of everything Gordon was worked so hard to maintain is now rimmed in doubt.
Not so fun for Gordon, but great for the show. Gotham seems to be at its best with Gordon is at his lowest. Whether it is his hot and cold relationship with Dr. Leslie “Lee” Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), or his iffy friendship with the residential villains. Gordon’s knee-deep drama gives Gotham enough clout to remain relevant.
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