Despite a number of indications that Harley Quinn would be making her full-on Gotham debut, the Fox series' season finale came and went earlier this week with nary a red nor black diamond in sight. Or did it? While the two-hour event had a lot of things, there was no one explicitly claiming to be Harley Quinn, or even dressing like the iconic character. But it did feature one character acting a whole heck of a lot like the madcap anti-hero comic book fans have come to know and love.
We came to this conclusion before the finale aired, based the promise of Harley Quinn's debut, and while the anticipated arrival turned into a no-show, we're even more convinced that Lee will become Harley Quinn. However, there's now the question of Jim Gordon -- judging by the pair's Tetch virus-induced interactions, it looks as though he might be on the road to becoming her Joker, if only for a short while.
Aside from the obvious arguments, would it be that much of a surprise to see the man who has been teetering on the edge since Gotham's first season to fall all the way off the wagon? He and Jerome had a “special” relationship, so it would make some level of sense for Jim to devolve into a similar kind of character that Jerome was, i.e. a proto-Joker.
The finale played with this idea a little, showing Gordon and Thompkins together, infected with the Tetch virus, in love and on the run. However, that little taste wasn’t quite as zany as Gotham has proven it can be. Neither of them did any awesome crimes, had weird one-liners, or, really, did anything that noteworthy. They just tried to get on a train and then... Jim cured them both. It felt, well, a bit anticlimactic.
Of course, as of the end of the season, Jim was back to being a cop, and Leslie -- well, we’ll get to her in a minute. The obvious read is that Gordon won't become the Joker we all know and love, but can you imagine if he did? It would make a lot more sense than the traditional Joker/Harley relationship we know. After all, Harley is much cooler and realistic should be the one making all the decisions with the Joker as her man at arms.
Outside of Gotham's creative inner circle, nobody knows which way the show will be going with regard to the Joker. It might be Jim, it might be Jerome -- heck the show might even pull a page from DC Comics' Forever Evil/Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? stories and turn Alfred into the villain. Who knows?!
Joker aside, here’s looking forward to next season when Lee is finally outed as Harleen Quinzel -- we hope. It makes sense; after all, Butch turned out to be Cyrus Gold, aka the pre-death identity of classic DC Comics swamp zombie Solomon Grundy.
There is, of course, the argument to be made that the finale's events are proof that Leslie is definitely not going to be Harley Quinn. After all, the Tetch virus is gone and Leslie has taken off, so all’s well that ends well, right? Plus, with Barbara Keene now dead, isn't she the obvious choice to be reborn as Harley? Well, while she’s definitely going to come back, we're betting Barbara's change will most likely take an unexpected turn that no one can see coming. But Leslie? She took the virus of her own volition. She choose to become a monster. And, as we’ve now seen, she’d be absolutely perfect as Gotham's laughing madwoman.
Sure, she's no longer infected by the Tetch virus but neither does the Harley from the comics. With the virus flushed from her system, perhaps Gotham will hew closely to Harley's animated origin and not get dosed in chemicals or anything. After all, the original Harley just wore face paint, a mallet and a costume; she didn’t have super powers or anything like that. Just insanity, and a strong love for the Joker. Besides, the world has never seen anything like the Tetch virus before, and that cure was developed without clinical trials, so who's to say the antidote is a permanent solution to the problem?
The Tetch virus aside, Jerome is still around and, as we’ve seen, Leslie and the show's proto-joker do have a connection. Plus, he’s still around, and while Leslie left the city in the finale, chances are pretty good she’ll be back soon. When she does return, she and Jerome would make a great Joker/Harley combo. If you turn back to the show's first season, you can see that Leslie had a vivid reaction to Jerome revealing himself, and when he returned from the dead, she was the first one he hunted down... to talk to. Leslie was one who caught him up on what had happened during his time away, and despite being held captive by a zombie murderer, she was remarkably cool and calm, discussing his life and the world of Gotham for a while... despite him not even having a face at the time.
If Jerome is truly Gotham’s Joker, then Leslie is Likely Gotham’s Harley. But if Jim is destined to one day become the show's Clown Prince of Crime, Leslie is definitely Harley Quinn -- and that would be perfectly insane.
Starring Ben McKenzie as Detective Jim Gordon, Gotham‘s airs Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on FOX; the series will shift to Thursday nights when it returns for Season 4 in the fall. The series also stars David Mazouz as young Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as young Selina Kyle, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot and Morena Baccarin as Leslie Thompkins.