Last week, Fox teased "Gotham" fans with the possible arrival of the Joker: a preview for the new episode announced that Gotham's latest villain was "no joke," then cut to a shot of Cameron Monaghan's red-haired Jerome.
We finally met Jerome in Monday's episode, "The Blind Fortune Teller," which kicked off at a circus for the origin of the Joker and the beginning of Dick Grayson/Robin's storyline. In the episode we learn (spoiler alert) that Jerome, who was playing nice all along, killed his own mother (he breaks into maniacal laughter over it, in true Joker style).
Image via Tumblr
But still, is it safe to assume Jerome is the Joker as a boy? "Gotham" executive producer Bruno Heller told E! News the most vague, tease-y answer: "It's the beginning of the story of how the Joker came to be, how the Joker was created, where he came from, who he is. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Cameron Monaghan is the Joker," he said. "He might be."
While that answer will frustrate "Gotham" fans for days, who are already theorizing the Joker's appearance on Reddit, we do at least know Jerome isn't a red herring. The great thing about "Gotham" taking on the Joker is that no one knows where it's headed, since the comic book villain famously had no clear origin story. In the comics, the Joker's background varies from a gangster identity Red Hood to a failed comedian who becomes disfigured by chemicals to Jack, a criminal obsessed with Batman.
Heller has said that present-day "Gotham" is seven or eight years away from when the fully-formed Joker will arrive in the city. Perhaps Jerome is the Joker, or maybe he will lead us to him eventually. Either way, Heller wants everyone to know, "This is not a trick."
Image via Tumblr