Oh boy is it good to see Cameron Monaghan back on Gotham! Everyone’s favorite villain on the hit FOX show, Jerome Valeska, has officially made his return in last night’s episode, entitled “Smile Like You Mean It”. With his return, Monaghan has brought plenty of intrigue back to the show, opening up a plethora of potential storylines.
First off, let’s take the time to compliment Monaghan as an actor. His range between his various characters is simply outstanding. As a fan of Shameless, I first got to know him as Ian Gallagher. Ian is a bipolar, gay kid who lives in Chicago with the world’s most dysfunctional family. Having watched him in that role for several years now, it is hard not to see Monaghan’s face and say “Hey look, it’s Ian!”. But when he transformed into Jerome in season one of Gotham, that changed.
In this role, Monaghan took on a much darker and sadistic side of himself. He has a sick sense of humor that screams psychopath. Actually, it screamed “this guy is going to be the Joker!”. In other words, Monaghan turned the character into the best on the entire show. Unfortunately, he only had one appearance in the first season, followed by a handful of episodes in the beginning of season two before being killed off.
But after over a year of teases, in regards to him becoming the Joker as well as returning, Jerome Valeska has made his triumphant return. He was brought back to life by a man named Dwight, who sees Jerome as some sort of savior. He gathered a large group of people who share in that belief and told them of his plan to bring the baddie back.
Upon Dwight’s initial attempt, things did not go according to plan. With the GCPD about to arrive, he decided to cut off Jerome’s face and use it as a mask and adopt the mantra that everyone is Jerome. After Jim and the GCPD recovered Jerome’s faceless body and brought it back to the ME’s office, that is when Monaghan was able to bring everyone’s favorite character back to life and show off that sadistically charming personality.
Upon his rebirth, we got a scene between Jerome and Dr. Thompkins. And it reminded fans just what they were missing over the last year. This time Jerome had a little twitch to him, since he did just come back from the dead and had his face cut off. But it is this added body language that helps Monaghan sell the crazy that is Jerome. His laugh is infectious as he laughs at things that only a true psycho would laugh at. But it is simply the way he goes about it that makes him so much fun and not make you want to dislike him.
Following his interactions with Leigh, Jerome dons a police uniform and heads off to find the man who cut off his face. He speeds off in a police car, casually runs into a pedestrian in typical Jerome fashion, and arrives on the scene to capture Dwight away without anyone knowing.
Then he gets to interact with his number one fan, where he staples his face back on. It is clear that Dwight realizes he is in some trouble, but Jerome happily denies the fact that he has any issues with him for his actions. Jerome says he brought him back, so having his face cut off is no big deal. But we all know this is Jerome and Jerome was going to have some “fun” with Dwight.
In Jerome’s world, fun includes stealing a news van and getting on live television. This is where he lights a match, with several barrels of gas or explosives surrounding a tied up Dwight (who also may have had explosives tied to him – I was too busy enjoying Monaghan give his speech to notice for sure), as he gives a very Jerome-esque speech to those watching. Before heading off, Jerome tells Dwight he did not forgive him for the whole face ordeal and left with that typical Joker style laugh, leaving behind a big explosion.
Then as the episode ended, the entire city went dark, which we would assume is Jerome’s doing. And with that, we have one more episode of Gotham before it goes on a lengthy hiatus. But that episode will certainly be centered around the Joker to be. I just hope that he is back for good and does not disappear upon the shows return in April.
But for the time being, I am going to enjoy every second of Cameron Monaghan in the role of Jerome. Welcome back Cameron/Jerome, Gotham fans have surely missed you!