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Gotham: Gotham's Worst Comes Back and We Couldn't Be Happier

I guess this makes up for burning us last week

Tim Surette


After denying us the psychopath that we love so well, and then killing 20 minutes with the rudest death fake-out ever, Gotham finally relented and gave us the Joker stand-in who never fails to make up for the fact that we have to watch Gotham to see him. Of course he wasn't dead. You don't drag Cameron Monaghan off the set of Shameless just to lay him on a slab with stage blood slathered all over his face.

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Then again, on this series, you never really know. The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) stuff is already bordering on tedious and while I thought the inevitable departure of Selina Kyle's (Camren Bicondova) absentee mom, Maria (Ivana Milicevic), was going to end with her joining that pantheon of dead Batman parental figures, instead, Maria just revealed herself to be a run-of-the-mill crappy mom who rolled into town to take advantage of her daughter's filthy rich boyfriend, Brucie (David Mazouz).

So now Bruce and Selina are estranged, again, but it's not like this isn't EXACTLY what their relationship is like in just about every other version of it that's out there. It's not new ground here, but I'll give brownie points for Gotham using the opportunity to showcase what a damaged, manipulative, jerk Batman/Bruce can be at times. Selina says he lied to her about Maria. Bruce counters that he didn't lie, he just didn't tell her the truth. TYPICAL.

Gotham Mega Buzz: Harley Quinn is coming sooner than you think

The delight of "Smile Like You Mean It" was in the return (the actual, real return) of demented Jerome Valesca, our favorite. Freshly thawed, a little woozy from the reanimation process and missing his face, Jerome took a break to get caught up on the goings-on in Gotham following his demise. Since she's inexplicably still working for the GCPD, and by extension, with the most estranged lover ever, this exchange went down with Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) and it was everything. Sometimes I think that Gotham takes itself entirely too seriously, and then we get scenes like that.

On Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) shooting her husband on their honeymoon, Jerome says, "That's funny. That's really funny... but I see where you don't think so."

On who killed Theo Galavan (James Frain), Lee is forced to ask for clarification, "Which time?"

From his genuine, twisted affection for Lee and Jim's relationship to his rather well-adjusted reaction (you know, right up until he blew the thief up) to having his face cut off and stapled back on, Gotham's recap of the season a la Jerome was one of those classic "only in Gotham City" moments, up there with Detective Comics 826 or, more recently, the Cat and the Bat's night on the town in Batman 15.

Given the cyclical nature of Gotham City's crime, an atypical relationship between the heroes and the villains is to be expected and that Gotham has repeatedly shown itself to do this particular thing well is something it should always be trying to build on. From the start, Gotham has looked the part visually. The tone has been hit or miss, but when Gotham hits it, we get episodes like the last two, where the fabric of Gotham, the city, is as much a character as Bruce or Selina, Jim or Lee.

Gotham is the kind of city where the law-abiding citizens, even the ones who are fully aware of what a terror Jerome's resurrection represents, go home early and lock their doors twice and keep the news on a loop -- even they can't help but be a little thrilled by the theatrics playing out in their streets. That's Gotham and that's Gotham.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox.