Most Batman fans will tell you that the most important aspect of the Joker isn't his suit or his laughing gas, but the fact that his story is completely intertwined with Batman's. The two characters need to be connected for them both to reach their potential.
For the past couple of years, Jerome Valeska has acted as the Joker character on Gotham, and fans have certainly complained that, while he's been a fantastic villain, his story was never truly tied to Bruce's. That all changed this season, however, with the rise of Gotham's newest villain, Jeremiah.
This new villain, also inspired by the Joker, is much closer to the young Bruce Wayne than his brother ever was. Last week, he went as far as to call Bruce his "very best friend," a major nod to the Jokers of old.
Ahead of this week's episode, ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Gotham's own Cameron Monaghan, who portrayed both Jerome and Jeremiah. He broke down how Jeremiah's story will continue to tie back to Bruce in future episodes, as well as just how important it is to keep that relationship thriving.
"I like how the comic, depending on what origin story we're talking about, the Joker or the Joker-esque characters, there are many different versions, but generally they somehow revolve around Bruce creating him, Batman creating him," Monaghan explained. "The classic push into a vat of acid or other versions that I've crossed off over the years. I think there is something really interesting about how Gotham has composed this symbiosis where one is creating the other and the other is also creating him, too. In a sense, the Joker is escalating the crimes in Gotham and creating a necessity for things to escalate the vigilantes. Bruce's escalation keeps pushing Joker more towards his identity too.
"When Jerome first gained his identity and his insanity, it was the first time we meet him in the Interrogation room. Yeah, he had come across Bruce, but over the course of the seasons they've grown to have this adversarial relationship. Not only did Bruce spare Jerome's life in the third season during the carnival arc when they were in the house of mirrors, he also saved him in the diner in this season where Selina Kyle probably would have shot him in the face.
"He's now saved Jerome's life twice. By saving him, he's had a direct influence on the creation of Jeremiah. Now there's continued symbiotic relationship between these two characters. I think that's something that is interesting. It's a different take on this character, as is the concept of this identity or this mantle being passed from one person to the next and it being more of a piece of ideology. I think that's fairly relevant to our current world, where unfortunately angry, young men who feel that they've been wronged by the world cause acts of destruction. That's something that I think is far more familiar to us now in this generation than it was seventy-six years ago when this character was created. I do think that it needs a certain level of modernization. I think it's interesting conceptually for multiple reasons."
New episodes of Gotham air on Thursday nights at 8pm ET on FOX.