WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Gotham, "Pena Dura," which aired Thursday on Fox.
With its first season, Gotham began weaving a meandering, and occasionally near-incomprehensible, storyline that viewers believed would eventually become the origin of Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker. It started with Jerome Valeska, whose maniacal arc took an unexpected turn when the character died, just as his twin brother, Jeremiah, was dosed with laughing gas. Going into Season 5, all signs indicated that Jeremiah would indeed become the Clown Prince of Crime. However, we were once again thrown for a loop when, against all odds, Jeremiah was repeatedly stabbed by Selina Kyle in last week's episode, and left for dead.
But fear not, Jeremiah fans: Even though Gotham wanted us to believe he was dead, the would-be Joker is very much alive, as part of a grand, gruesome plan.
In the final minutes of "Pena Dura," Jeremiah wakes from his slumber. Through an exchange with his right-hand woman and faux Harley Quinn, Echo, we learn that Jeremiah knew Selina was coming for him, and that he allowed her to stab him.
That's why he secretly wore body armor, which protected him from repeated thrusts of the blade. But how did Selina believe that she had killed Jeremiah? He somehow permitted one blow to reach its target, to ensure there would be enough blood to convince her that she had killed him. Then, Echo stitched up the wound.
There was no miraculous resurrection or a twist involving a third Valeska brother. Jeremiah is still alive and scheming. Worse, making Selina and Bruce Wayne believe him dead is part of his larger plan.
The next phase, whatever that may be, involves two people who were surgically altered to look like Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce's dead parents.
While the last week has been filled with doubt, Jeremiah is still the top contender to be Gotham's Joker. But all that we know beyond that is, somehow, Bruce and Jeremiah's confrontation will lead both characters to ACE Chemicals, where everything will end. Or, perhaps, begin.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.