WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Gotham, "Ruin," which aired Thursday on Fox.
The birth of the Joker has, of course, been one of the bigger ongoing storylines in Gotham's nearly five-year history. It all started with the arrival in Season 1 of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), whose mania seemed to grow with each appearance. As the character became more recognizable as the Joker, the rug was pulled out from under viewers when Jerome died just as his twin brother, Jeremiah, was introduced, then driven insane due to a special concoction of laughing gas.
Going into Gotham's fifth, and final, season, all signs pointed to Jeremiah Valeska becoming the one true version of Batman's arch-nemesis. However, with this week's episode, "Ruin," the Fox drama once again threw the audience a curve in the Valeska saga: Jeremiah was stabbed to death by Selina Kyle. So what now?
Since Selina was miraculously healed following an injury that left her paralyzed, she has been on a specific mission: to find the man who shot her, Jeremiah Valeska, and end him. In "Ruin," Selina finally infiltrates Jeremiah's operation and, with a clever costume, sneaks up on the would-be Joker. Once at his side, she doesn't hesitate to stab him in the stomach, repeatedly.
He might expect Jeremiah to walk away from a single stab, but Gotham takes great pains to make it clear the villain won't simply shrug off this attack. Selina's multiple stabs are only interrupted by Bruce Wayne, who exclaims that it's over; Jeremiah falls to the ground, lifeless. What's worse, the episode doesn't end with a tease that Jeremiah somehow survived in a surprise twist. No, "Ruin" simply ends with Jeremiah seemingly, actually dead.
But that can't be it, can it?
After all, Gotham's trailers and photos have shown that Jeremiah will be around -- he'll even have an epic showdown with Bruce Wayne at ACE Chemicals. So what's going on?
Of course, it's possible that Jeremiah somehow survived his wounds. Perhaps the laughing gas he was dosed with possesses miraculous healing properties? DC's Batman: Endgame comic arc revealed the Joker has special healing abilities due to a substance known as dionesium.
Then again, it's also possible Gotham played us, and that Jeremiah is truly dead. But that still doesn't have to mean this is the end of the Joker. Monaghan recently revealed he will play a mysterious third character before the end of this final season. Could Jeremiah's death be what paves the way for the arrival of this third iteration?
Gotham has made it clear that the Joker's path is filled with turns, and this episode only adds another twist to the story. But, sooner or later, the punchline is bound to come.
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.