Four seasons in, and Gotham continues to tease the audience with the possibility that Bruce Wayne will soon wind up facing his ultimate foe: the Joker. Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), the leading Joker suspect since Season 1, is dead (again), but perhaps his identical twin brother (also Monaghan) will turn out to be the one to take on the iconic villainous identity. The series has offered plenty of clues that Jeremiah is the Joker on Gotham, including a scene where he basically transforms into the visual ideal, complete with a menacing clown face.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is getting closer and closer to fully embracing his identity as the Dark Knight, in everything but name, while Jim Gordon can barely keep up with the onslaught of incoming supervillains, including several of his ex-girlfriends. Everything about Gotham is clearly leading to the point where they officially introduce the Joker — and Jeremiah may very well be the key to his appearance.
The creators of Gotham have played coy with the Joker's identity over the course of the show, hinting many times that the character either was or was not going to actually show up. Recall the multiple times the show's stars promised that Jerome was not going to become the actual Joker, but instead would play some sort of role regarding the villain.
But out of all of the times that Jerome has died or disappeared, this most recent demise feels the most permanent, and given that Monaghan's performance lives on in his formerly mild-mannered brother Jeremiah, he really could be the Joker that Gotham fans have been waiting for. Here are all the clues so far that the prequel's Joker is finally here:
1. He Was Infected With A Poisonous Gas
So, the biggest clue that Jeremiah is going to become the Joker is that he was sprayed with Jerome's gas at the end of Episode 18, "That's Entertainment." Obviously, one of the Joker's most memorable qualities is his obsession with laughter and humor, and he's frequently used gas to transfix others into a similarly unhinged state in the comics.
2. He Could Become His Greatest Fear
Jerome was working with Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, who makes a highly concentrated fear toxin that terrorizes its subjects. What does Jeremiah fear more than Jerome? He literally hid underground for years in hopes of avoiding his brother, so it would be fitting for the toxin to turn him into his brother.
3. He Was Traumatized As A Child
When he confronted his brother, Jeremiah talked about how Jerome constantly threatened him and even attempted to kill him. Jeremiah dealt with that trauma by suppressing it, which could have led to the sort of undiagnosed mental trauma that tends to send Gotham characters straight to villainy — look at what happened to Barbara. It's problematic that Gotham constantly equates mental health issues with being a criminal, but it's certainly an established pattern that points at Jeremiah eventually becoming a bad guy.
4. He Already Has An Alter Ego
Before he was known to the audience as Jeremiah Valeska, he was a famous architect called Xander Wilde, in hopes of hiding from Jerome. So clearly, when he wants to portray a certain version of himself, Jeremiah comes up with a separate identity. That certainly sounds like the kind of person who could be a future Joker.
5. The Trailers Literally Promise That "He's Coming"
The Joker's signature purple and green color scheme are all over this trailer for the rest of Gotham Season 4. And while it could imply that Jerome comes back to life, it could also easily be about Jeremiah coming into his Clown Prince self.
6. He's Wearing A Comics-Accurate Joker Look
In images from upcoming episodes, Jeremiah is sporting a purple and green color scheme that closely resembles the cover look from The Killing Joke, an iconic DC comic that features one of the Joker's most disturbing plans.
7. He Has A Devoted Female Assistant
Jeremiah was able to live his life as Xander of all the work his assistant did to hide his identity. Guess who else has a loyal assistant who helps him at every turn? In trailers for future episodes, a mysterious figure is seen wearing a terrifying Harlequin mask, complete with hat. Gotham could be planning to introduce both Joker and Harley Quinn at the same time.
8. He's Wealthy
On its face, this isn't necessarily a clue that Jeremiah is Joker, but as a wealthy person, he can afford to do certain things like buy his way into Gotham's underworld, manufacture weapons or poison, and live his life as an eccentric villain instead of having to work.
9. Who Else Could It Possibly Be At This Point???
This isn't so much a clue as it is a plea to the Gotham writers' room: at this point, making Jeremiah the Joker is the only solution that makes perfect sense for the character. Jerome isn't the Joker, but he is the Joker's inspiration. He christened Jeremiah as the person to carry on his legacy, and so far, it visually looks like the show is leaning into those iconic images from the comics and movies that scream "Joker."
So though Jerome was a red herring, it seems like he very well may have been responsible for the creation of the Joker after all. Fans will probably know for sure before this season is out.