As just about any fan will tell you, the Joker is the finest supervillain of them all. That’s not just because he has such an iconic appearance and memorable personality, but also thanks to his endlessly fascinating dynamic with his nemesis. Whereas Batman represents order, the Joker is chaos and many depictions of the characters paint them as needing the other to function.
In Gotham‘s own spin on the Bat-mythos, that antagonistic relationship has grown between young Bruce Wayne and the Joker-like Jerome Valeska over the seasons, but you still couldn’t say that the pair’s stories were particularly intertwined. That’s different now, though, as recent episodes have revealed Jerome’s twin Jeremiah as the true future Clown Prince of Crime. In contrast to his brother, Jeremiah has a fixation on the billionaire. In last week’s installment, he even referred to him as “his very best friend.”
Cameron Monaghan – the fan favourite actor who’s brought both Jerome and Jeremiah to life – spoke to ComicBook.com recently and discussed how he thinks Gotham‘s translation of the Batman/Joker dynamic follows on from the tradition set up in the comics of the enemies sharing an almost symbiotic relationship.
“I like how the comic, depending on what origin story we’re talking about, the Joker or the Joker-esque characters, there are many different versions, but generally they somehow revolve around Bruce creating him, Batman creating him. The classic push into a vat of acid or other versions that I’ve crossed off over the years. I think there is something really interesting about how Gotham has composed this symbiosis where one is creating the other and the other is also creating him, too. In a sense, the Joker is escalating the crimes in Gotham and creating a necessity for things to escalate the vigilantes. Bruce’s escalation keeps pushing Joker more towards his identity too.”
He then went on to detail the major ways in which Bruce and Jerome/Jeremiah have continued to push the other along the path to becoming Gotham’s greatest hero and its greatest villain, respectively.
“When Jerome first gained his identity and his insanity, it was the first time we meet him in the Interrogation room. Yeah, he had come across Bruce, but over the course of the seasons they’ve grown to have this adversarial relationship. Not only did Bruce spare Jerome’s life in the third season during the carnival arc when they were in the house of mirrors, he also saved him in the diner in this season where Selina Kyle probably would have shot him in the face.
Finally, Cameron explained how he thinks Gotham‘s update of the Joker’s origins fits our modern times, going so far as to say that he believes the villain is much more relevant to the current world than he was back in the 1940s when he was first created. Here’s his reasoning:
“He’s now saved Jerome’s life twice. By saving him, he’s had a direct influence on the creation of Jeremiah. Now there’s continued symbiotic relationship between these two characters. I think that’s something that is interesting. It’s a different take on this character, as is the concept of this identity or this mantle being passed from one person to the next and it being more of a piece of ideology.
I think that’s fairly relevant to our current world, where unfortunately angry, young men who feel that they’ve been wronged by the world cause acts of destruction. That’s something that I think is far more familiar to us now in this generation than it was seventy-six years ago when this character was created. I do think that it needs a certain level of modernization. I think it’s interesting conceptually for multiple reasons.”
Jeremiah and Bruce are about to have “One Bad Day” in tonight’s episode of Gotham, airing 8PM on FOX.