Martin Carr reviews the twentieth episode of Gotham season 4…
Grave side vigils, psychotic twin siblings and full scale riots inside the GCPD are only a few elements of ‘That Old Corpse’. With split personalities Jerome and Jeremiah as flip sides of the same coin, Gotham contains a singular performance better suited to cinema screens. Cameron Monaghan has evolved this Crown Prince of Pranks into something both respected and original. There are elements of Ledger, moments of Romero but blessedly few Leto references.
Smartly dividing these two distinct personalities Monaghan runs rings around an established cast and continues shaking things up. Showing himself to be more Nicholson or Hamill with that theatricality dialled down, Monaghan allows darker elements the necessary freedom for maximum impact By introducing a late to the party mute characterisation of Harley Quinn played with full frontal menace, savage precision and wordless dedication, this Joker has found his perfect partner.
Besides the GCPD free for all, Nygma and Thompkins romance and superfluous Penguin and Butch after thought, this episode really belongs to Monaghan and Mazouz. These two actors dramatically own proceedings in those quiet dialogue moments, where power shifts are subtle, drama takes precedence and silences mean everything. This is where the reality exists and ultimately Gotham excels, as consequences are set in motion and arcs fully realised. Alongside the Gordon Thompkins dynamic which involves moral quandaries, personal history and life choices, Jeremiah and Bruce win hands down.
There are set pieces and involving scenes elsewhere but for my money that is little more than a distraction for our main event. People have theorised over how The Joker would evolve and manifest within the confines of a television show. Darkness had been done and camp was out of the question. What these showrunners settled on was more a side step and incorporation with both partial pastiche and sprinklings of homage. Proof if any were needed that another run is worth the investment. Beyond this there have been whispers of a season five where things are overhauled, new angles explored and ratings acquired in the process. What we have then is a cleaning up of loose ends with the promise of new beginnings. Not only a good strategy four years in but certified tactical necessity if longevity is to be assured.