“Hurt people hurt people.”

Since it came back from winter hiatus, Gotham Season 4 has been largely focused on Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) slowly building a team of super villains to help him rule over Gotham City with an insane fist. With its latest episode, “One of My Three Soups,” that plan has come to fruition and now it’s game on.

Gotham star Ben McKenzie, who stepped behind the camera once again to direct this episode, elaborated a bit on Jerome’s mission for the rest of Season 4 during a Q&A with reporters. “The end of the season — this sort of kicks it off — but it becomes, even more, a story of his Machiavellian plans to either take over Gotham or destroy it trying,” he says.

That wasn’t always the case, though.

As McKenzie explains, Jerome wasn’t originally intended to play such a major role in the series. “Cameron came in in the middle of Season 1 as what we kind of all originally thought might just be a one-off. The sort of precursor to a Joker but not necessarily the Joker,” the actor and director says. “And he was so magnetic and so unbelievably committed that it just felt like we had to go further. There was more he could do certainly, and much more we could get out of the character.”

In “One of My Three Soups,” what viewers are able to take away from Jerome is a haunting look at his past, which certainly informs the psychopath he’s become. “There’s that old saying, hurt people hurt people. Here’s a good example,” McKenzie explains. “He was tortured by his uncle, brutally. And yet, the way that he’s chosen to handle that is to push that pain out on everyone else now in his adult life. Does that make what he’s doing now right? No, of course not. But we can understand him a little bit better.”

That torture is going to continue to motivate Jerome, along with his band of cronies that now includes Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel), Scarecrow (David W. Thompson), and Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow). With five episodes left in the season, it’s going to take a lot to stop them, especially if the series finally pulls the trigger on introducing the real Joker.

While many fans initially believed Jerome to be the Joker before he went bad and donned the familiar facepaint, David Mazouz — who plays Bruce Wayne — previously revealed that simply isn’t the case. “He is not the Joker, that’s all I’m saying,” the actor who plays Bruce Wayne told the Discussing Film podcast. “He is definitely the inspiration for the Joker, and the way that the Joker comes into the show is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant things Gotham has ever done.” However, looking at who will be causing trouble through the end of the season, McKenzie teases, “[Jerome] or somebody very much like him is definitely one of the villains. But there are other villains who will be around, as well.”

While that’s no guarantee, it certainly sounds like fans should get ready to meet Gotham’s one true Joker. For more on Gotham, check out this look at the show’s villains and whether there are too many DC Comics shows to keep up with.

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