When Jerome Valeska is at the center of a Gotham episode, you know you’re in for a good story, and “That Old Corpse” is no exception.
But wait – isn’t Jerome dead?
As if that’s EVER been a problem in Gotham! But the Revolving Door of Villain Resurrection aside, remember Jerome’s final words:
“I’m more than a man. I’m an idea. A philosophy. And I will live on in the shadows within Gotham’s discontent.”
Jerome’s memory isn’t just living in the shadows, though. It lives on in the twisted hearts of his followers, who wreak havoc at the GCPD in his name, believing they’re acting on his orders.
And it lives on in the mind of his twin, Jeremiah, last seen taking a dose of insanity gas as a final parting gift from his brother.
“That Old Corpse” has as many twists and turns as the maze in Jeremiah’s bunker, but I’m not going to get into too many plot details here. I want to focus on one thing in particular: the relationship between Jeremiah and Bruce.
From friends to enemies
Bruce has made good on his prior promise to Jeremiah, to help him with his work to create an ambient energy generator. His next project is to try to convince Jeremiah to emerge from the bunker where he’d hidden from Jerome for so many years. Jeremiah resists, saying he is still afraid of his dead twin.
Jeremiah may have been living underground for many years, but obviously he knows about that revolving door!
Eventually Jeremiah also confesses to being exposed to the insanity gas, but instead of fleeing, Bruce chooses to trust this young man he calls a friend, and to try to help him.
Bruce has had a hard time making friends, especially this year, so it was poignant to watch his effort to reach out and help Jeremiah, knowing that it’s about to end in disaster. And it’s very ironic to listen to these two young men talk about plans for a brighter future in Gotham, when we know that they will be at the center of a much darker future instead.
Oh, and those generators Bruce paid for? They have a lethal side effect of exploding. We have to wait until next week to see if Jim Gordon was able to get far enough away from the bunker to escape the first blast.
Kudos once more to Cameron Monaghan, who not only plays the seemingly sane Jeremiah, but also the insane Jeremiah who’s pretending to be Jerome. (It sounds confusing in print. It was, however, brilliant on the screen.)
Gotham always has multiple stories in an episode. The B plot was the Riddler’s rescue of Lee from the GCPD in the midst of a siege, while in the C plot, Penguin and Butch try to find some kind of advantage in the chaos caused by Jerome’s groupies. Riddler is successful, Penguin less so.
And before I forget: this episode introduces Gotham’s version of Harley Quinn: Jeremiah’s handler (whose name I don’t recall). This Harley is literally not as colorful as the comics version, and never says a word – but is all the scarier for both of those facts.
More stray observations:
- Nice moment between Jim and Lee in the early minutes; you can see just an instant of the old connection when Jim admits there are so many things he wishes he could change.
- Jerome got a pretty nice, normal-seeming casket. I was expecting a plain pine box – or something with 30 levels of security! Jeremiah couldn’t have been the only one fearing Jerome would rise again from the grave!
- WHAT HAPPENED TO ALFRED? Who broke in to Wayne Manor? Who shot who?
- And as long as we’re talking about that scene; the violence that was heard through the door but not seen was much scarier than any of the violence we saw on screen this season. Keep that in mind, Gotham showrunners.
- Liked the touch of Penguin and Butch eating lunch on TV trays while squatting in the Falcone mansion.
- Is Jim Gordon really dead? Come on. This is Gotham!
Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7 Central on FOX.