DC TV Watch: 'Gotham' Finally Confirms Joker's Origin Story

The Hollywood Reporter rounds up the major twists, epic fights and big reveals on all the DC Comics TV shows.

Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning and Fox's Gotham. This week, Gotham finally went *there* with the Joker, and it was a moment five years in the making. Note: Arrow, The Flash and Black Lightning did not air new episodes this week.


The big news: After five years of teasing, Gotham finally confirmed The Joker's (Cameron Monaghan) origin story.

What it means: Early in the first season of the Fox drama, fans assumed that Monaghan's Jerome Valeska was playing a younger version of the iconic Batman villain. But then Jerome was killed off, and his twin brother, the buttoned-up and more sane Jeremiah, was introduced. It didn't seem possible at the beginning, but once Jeremiah was exposed to a toxic chemical that drove him insane, fans once again speculated that he was the Joker. It wasn't until this week's episode, "Ace Chemicals," that Gotham finally went there with the character's comic-book fate.

Even the title of the episode alone served as confirmation that Jeremiah was the Joker, as it references one of the Joker's most infamous origin stories of falling into a vat of chemicals. After fighting with Bruce (David Mazouz), Jeremiah slipped and fell into a giant, acid-green vat of chemicals and survived, but is now gruesomely disfigured...and brain-dead. Of course, he'll eventually come out of his coma to embrace his full Joker destiny, but as to how the accident transformed his already deadly personality is anyone's guess. All that's known is that Bruce's declaration that Jeremiah isn't a "threat" to him anymore couldn't be more wrong. Hopefully he'll resurface sooner than the series finale so fans can get as much Joker versus Batman action as possible before the show ends for good.

Other noteworthy moments: As if the Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Barbara (Erin Richards) and Lee (Morena Baccarin) love triangle couldn't get any more complicated, Barbara has now hired Lee as an ob-gyn for her and Gordon's unborn child. And by the end of the hour, Lee and Gordon had rekindled their past love. Just when it seemed like Gotham couldn't get any crazier with all the Joker action, the show goes and throws this kind of love triangle curveball. Gordon's love life is a mess.


The big news: Still mourning her mother, Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) ultimately suited up as Dreamer to help Kara (Melissa Benoist) after initially resisting her heroic call-to-arms.

What it means: While this week's episode featured a win for the heroes, with Nia finally accepting her destiny as Dreamer and agreeing to work with Brainy (Jesse Rath) to train her powers, it ultimately ended as a victory for the villains. Agent Liberty, aka Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer), was released from prison after the Children of Liberty killed an alien that was attacking people and eating hearts, and all the press surrounding it forced the POTUS (Bruce Boxleitner) to find a loophole that exonerated Ben. It was one step forward and two steps back in the fight against hatred and prejudice of aliens. Killing the alien instead of capturing it was brutal to watch, and it clearly didn't work, as the symbiote was still alive inside its human host in prison. And now Manchester Black (David Ajala) sent her a letter in prison. What is he planning? Is he trying to form an alien vigilante group from behind bars?

Other noteworthy moments: In the Valentine's Day-themed hour, the only remaining romantic relationship came to a grinding halt. James (Mehcad Brooks) and Lena (Katie McGrath) broke up over a difference of opinion on her working with the government to continue her research into giving humans superpowers. He didn't agree with the military weaponizing her breakthrough and thought she was better than that — so she promptly booted him from her car on the way to the airport for a romantic vacation in Paris. But is there something more going on here?

Throughout the episode, Lena appeared to be extremely troubled. She lost her usual spark and seemed dour, as if she were wrestling with some awful information or choice. It can't just be that she's working with the government. Who wants to bet that she's not actually working with the government, and it's someone or something much, much shadier? There's definitely more to the story, and it's likely not good. Is this the reason why Lex (Jon Cryer) is going to show up on the series soon? Is Lena making a deal with the actual devil? Is she finally leaning into her Luthor destiny after resisting her darker side for so long?

Looking ahead

Next week, Supergirl takes a brief hiatus along with Arrow, The Flash and Black Lightning. Gotham will continue to air new episodes every week. But here's something to look forward to on Arrow: Caity Lotz's Sara Lance is returning once more for the upcoming Birds of Prey-inspired episode, "Lost Canary." Katie Cassidy shared the first look at her Laurel Lance, aka Black Siren, Lotz's White Canary and Juliana Harkavy's Dinah, aka Black Canary, teaming up together on set.


Girls rule! #round2 @julianaharkavy @caitylotz

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Note: Supergirl airs Sundays; Arrow and Black Lightning air Mondays; The Flash airs Tuesdays; and Legends of Tomorrow returns in April on The CW. Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox.