Season 4, Episode 20: “That Old Corpse”
Directed by Louis Shaw Milito
Written by Charlie Huston
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “To Our Deaths and Beyond” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “One Bad Day” – click here
After the death of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), a bunch of his followers mourn him at his grave site. They drink and toast to his memory. That’s when a masked individual turns up causing quite the ruckus. She’s brought a message from none other than Jerome. He’s got “one last party to throw.” He orders to be dug up, which sets his followers after his corpse.
Dt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) in custody, and Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is only bringing up old business, suggesting maybe they let her go. But Jim won’t have any of that. He and Lee have a chat, he asks her to give up Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). She won’t budge. She also brings up old business. And it’s obvious the past is never far from Jim’s mind, he just wants to do a bit of good instead of doing any further damage to Gotham City.
In the midst of it all, a package comes from Jerome; a tape. Jim, Harvey, and Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) throw it on to see Jerome communicating from beyond the grave. Lots of hokey shit. Ever the entertainer! He wants to be thrown a wake right in the GCPD. Good lord. Sounds like it’s already starting, too. All those followers are coming to PARTY.
In the Narrows, the Riddler has lots of people worried about Dr. Thompkins, wanting to go bust her out. Ed, of course, would rather plan things ahead. He’s keeping things “non–lethal.” Not exactly by choice, but nonetheless: no death, says Lee. He’s got a group together, believing things will go smoothly. He doesn’t realise what’s already happening at the GCPD. At the same time, Jim calls Alfred (Sean Pertwee), who explains Bruce (David Mazouz) is actually with Jeremiah (Monaghan). Hmm. That’s not good, either. Not after we saw Jerome infect his brother post-mortem. Luckily, Cpt. Gordon knows Valeska is king of the distraction, and that the GCPD isn’t the main target.
Although Jeremiah’s busy showing Bruce some of his work. Things seem fine, for the time being, anyway. He’s working on “ambient energy” working without cables and wires; a “clean” source. A secret project, between the two of them. Jeremiah warns of people close to him, paranoid of what could happen. He also has his brother’s diary, filled with all varieties of madness. Young Wayne wants Jeremiah to walk away from Jerome, but it’s obviously a part of him; in more ways than one.
However, things are already sketchy. Alfred calls the young lad, warning of the followers, and this begins to spook the remaining twin brother. Uh oh. It’s all worse that Alfred gets attacked at Wayne Manor. Jeremiah reveals to Bruce he was sprayed with the “insanity gas,” as well as the paranoid delusions he’s had since. The young billionaire wants to take him to Jerome’s body, to prove he’s dead. Again, he doesn’t know the extent of what’s been going on with the followers at the GCPD. The corpse is making its way inside the station, after the crowd of clowns break the doors down, which puts Gordon and all his cops on their heels. In the chaos, Lee gets knocked out, too. Jim soon gets cornered, though Harvey and Dt. Harper (Kelcy Griffin) manage to get him out of that jam.
At the cemetery, Bruce brings Jeremiah to Jerome’s grave, where they find nothing but an empty hole. Like fateful pieces falling into place, a perfect plan executed by the other Valeska. It’s chilling to watch play out, particularly with the suspense of wondering exactly what Jeremiah’s going to do, or how he’ll unravel. Grim excitement is Father Gore’s favourite excitement!
Everyone’s converging at the GCPD, albeit with different motives – the Riddler, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Solomon Grundy aka Butch (Drew Powell) – and Gordon’s figured out that the main target of Jerome’s plan is actually Jeremiah and Bruce, sending him off to find them. There’s SO MUCH CHAOS, and it’s right at home on Gotham.
Bruce runs after Jeremiah, locating him in a mausoleum in the cemetery. The remaining twin is going crazy with the paranoid fear of his brother still being alive. He also wants friendship with Bruce so badly, more so after having to hide away from his own family for such a long time, being without people all these years. More than that, the gas has fully driven Jeremiah crazy. He thinks his brother is using Bruce’s skin as a mask, and that Jerome killed the real Bruce. Oh, shit. Increasingly dangerous for our burgeoning superhero.
Jeremiah walks Bruce back to the grave, and there they find brother’s corpse once more. Simultaneously, Gordon arrives at Jeremiah’s bunker to find a tape from Jerome directly to him. It’s all been a ploy to put Jim right there. The masked messenger from earlier? She’s got a gun to the Captain’s head. So, will Bruce get his face peeled off? Will Jim take a bullet? They both survive, though the young billionaire’s not out of the woods yet. Jeremiah’s been pulling the strings of this last little plan the entire way.
“Behold the face of true sanity”
Now, we’re getting a full-fledged Joker, it seems. Jerome was only the opening act, the weaker of the two. Looks like Jeremiah’s the real Joker persona, finally unveiling himself to become a more megalomaniacal villain than his brother had ever been. At least that’s how it seems. We’ve got the pale skin, the crazy and slick looking suits, plus there’s the terrifying side of him mixed with an incredibly smart side, as well. Could be a completely different take on the Joker than we’ve seen, instead of the typically over-the-top insane character we so often get.
At the moment, Jeremiah’s got those ambient energy generators setup as bombs. He’s locked Jim inside his bunker. Then, an explosion rocks Gotham, seen all the way into the city at the GCPD. This would certainly be a compelling way to start out a Bruce(Batman) v. Joker story in this particular DC universe. Except maybe Bruce could get buried alive.
Everything at the GCPD is shut down once Harvey and the rest take control, though Lee and Nygma slip out without getting caught. Afterwards, Lucius figures out the explosion occurred at the bunker, worrying Bullock and Harper. Meanwhile, Jeremiah’s over at Wayne Enterprises attempting to carry out the next leg of his destructive plan, involving a big room full of those ambient energy bombs. That’s a definite yikes.
Really dig this episode, because even if this is somehow another fake-out on the Joker’s full/final identity, it’s still a ton of fun. Although this really feels like where it was headed. So, I’m totally down. It’s fresh, weird, and plenty exciting going ahead. Can’t wait for more. Only two episodes left, and with all this massive bomb-type stuff, I’m getting more and more excited about “No Man’s Land” being the finale’s title. If you’re a fan of the Batman comics and graphic novels, then you’ll know why it’s interesting.
“One Bad Day” is the penultimate Season 4 finisher, next time.