Though they did an excellent feint with the whole “We are ALL Jerome!” thing, and even incited a callback to the New 52 with Jerome’s/Jokers face getting cut off, we all KNEW it was just a matter of time before the REAL Joker/Jerome stepped forward. And man, this kid had not missed a beat, like at ALL! In fact, in some ways? He actually looked and sounded more like Joker than ever before, especially in the exit monologue where he resembled Heath Ledger’s Joker a lot.
What I really appreciated about “Smile Like You Mean It” though was the focus on the Joker cult. You might find it odd that Gotham is showing that Jerome is “inspiring” people, and that real people wouldn’t be so easy to turn. And yet, that’s not true, like at all. People are easy to turn if they meet the right person, And the Joker has inspired many people during his lifetime in the comics, just look at Harley Quinn! So seeing the various people from all walks of life becoming a part of the Joker Cult was cool stuff.
Also good was the banter between Leslie and Jim. Especially since she did the whole “call off the hit!” thing last episode which felt a bit hollow. However, here, she was back in full on rage mode. Not only that though, her whole demeanor and attitude towards the job changed. She was doing things that would cross the line, threatened to expose Gordon of hitting a suspect when he said he would get her time off, and barely flinched when Jerome came back to life and had a gun on her. This is a nice turn for Leslie, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Then there’s Penguin, who was already in freefall in some ways because of the ghost event last week, and now, the public is turning against him. So, who was next to lose? The mob apparently. While it’s easy to think he’s being duped too easily, Gotham showed he’s not at a complete loss of mind when he called out Barbara for her plan early on, but once again, when Nygma was brought up, he fell to pieces. And things are only going to get worse for him for sure.
Which brings us to the Family Kyle. Much as predicted, though admittedly not in the way I predicted, Maria was scamming Selina and Bruce, but, Selina knew it, and made sure her mother knew EXACTLY what she thought of her. The big takeaway though was that Bruce knew about the con too, and paid the money anyway so that either Maria could stay, or she would leave and not hurt Selina anymore. Hearing Selina berate Bruce because he “lied” to her, and then to see them fight was good stuff. And apparently, this will be the start of a big turn of character for Selina. One that’ll make her more like Catwoman like ever before.
All in all, “Smile Like You Mean It” was a fantastic episode that pushed many storylines forward, and gave us one heck of a cliffhanger that’ll make the “winter finale” almost unbearable to wait for.