The Last Laugh Plot Summary:
Hell bent on catching Sarah Essen’s killer, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) track down every lead, while Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) has a surprise of his own for Thompkin’s (Morena Baccarin) Children’s Hospital benefit.
This episode is appropriately titled “The Last Laugh.” Before we get into the analysis, I’d like to pat myself on the back as I predicted the outcome of this episode, so eat my bat-shaped waffles. Anyway, aside from a couple scenes at the beginning and end, this was easily the best episode of the season thus far. Outstanding. The best compliment I can give this episode is the Jerome plotline felt like a Joker story you would see on the old Batman: The Animated Series. As true Batman fans know, there’s no higher praise than that. Speaking of the Joker, let’s begin with Jerome, shall we?
Even though Jerome may not technically be The Joker, it’s certainly strongly hinted at, and Cameron Monaghan should be proud of the work he’s done playing the spirit of this character. He’s chaotic and scary, and that’s all you could ever ask for with The Joker. The scenes with his father (Mark Margolis) were both gripping and crushing, and pure Joker dialogue. My only complaint is he went a little too Heath Ledger at times, and there’s only one Heath Ledger. As great as the daddy issue scenes were, the entire gala sequence with Jerome as the magician was pure bliss, especially in how he involves Bruce (David Mazouz).
This was another strong showing for Bruce, who’s three for three this season. Mazouz has total control over this character, and the relationship between him and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is firing on all cylinders, both funny and serious. Speaking of Alfred, we got to see the old chap kick some ass again! Always a highlight. We also get a really funny subplot between Alfred and Thompkins. Oh, Alfred, you old scalawag. Baccarin brings her usual charisma, as does Camren Bicondova, but more understated as Selina. Her and Bruce had a tense reunion, and I forgot how great their chemistry was.
It was also great to see Gordon and Bullock back in old form, roughing up scum bags. I’ve been complaining a lot about the beginning of Gotham episodes, but this week was a great way to open the show, and reintroduce us to the Gordon/Bullock partnership. Aside from Monaghan, Logue easily gives my favorite performance. He completely puts Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) in his place, just a great damn scene. I also love Penguin’s take on Jerome, very Oswald. I feel like Penguin’s been fat and happy since taking over Gotham, but Jerome’s antics and Bullock’s speech will make him hungry once again. He needs to get back to the conniving bastard we all know and love.
My only real complaint with this episode was the first scene between Galavan (James Frain) and Barbara (Erin Richards). The actors are doing a fine job, but the dialogue once again feels way too comic book villain. Come on, guys. I know you’re better than this. I’m still not completely enamored with Galavan as a character, but his master plan is intriguing, and certainly has me guessing.
This was just a damn good episode all around. It was tense, great twists and turns, paced beautifully, and wrapped everything up in a nice neat Joker bow. As a Batman fan, all the Joker nods were well done, not forced at all. My only nitpick with the Joker-isms was the epilogue at the end. It doesn’t give the audience enough credit. We can surmise that was the road we were heading down. They laid it on kind of thick. That’s a minor quibble though. It’s early in the second season, but Gotham is hitting its stride.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)