The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Dollmaker, Scarecrow, Penguin…
These are just some of our favorite villains who have made appearances in the hit show Gotham which details the story of all of Gotham’s favorite residents before Bruce became Batman. And while we’ve got a great handful of evil doers on our plate, the one big bad wolf that everyone is just dying to see is the infamous Joker. Fans of the show have been trying to figure out when and where the Joker will make his appearance, and while they’ve received many teasers that he’s coming, they may be a bit surprised to find that he might already be here.
Gotham isn’t very subtle with revealing its main villains – I mean, Selena Kyle (later Cat Woman) already looks and acts like the villainess we know and love, while Ivy Pepper (later Poison Ivy) made her debut with her iconic red hair while surrounded by lovely plants in her parents kitchen. Even Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin) made a rather obvious appearance, but only true fans of the Batman series may have been able to point the Joker out in Episode 17: Red Hood.
If you remember, Red Hood was the episode where Harvey Bullock (not Harvey Dent) and Jim Gordon tracked down the Red Hood Gang after a string of bank robberies, all while Fish Mooney plotted her comeback, and Selena & Barbara bonded over clothes and shoes. For some, it was a filler episode, but for others, it bore a striking resemblance to the comics.
Throughout the episode, the bank robbers kill each other off as they fight to don a red hood used when they’re making their robberies. The hood seems like a normal piece of cloth, but once they put it on, their mood completely alters, becoming more “comedic”. In short, it easily “puts a smile” on their faces, if only for a while. It isn’t until the end of the episode when the Red Hood Gang is shot down by Gordon, Bullock, and the rest of the GCPD, that someone else takes the hood and puts it on. Now, we barely see his face, but considering the age of the other villains in relation to Bruce, I’d say we’ve been introduced to the Joker and here’s why.
The Detective Comics #168 (1951) featured a character named The Red Hood who was very similar to the guys we saw in this episode. He was a man who donned a red hood and cape along with a very iconic purple or green suit while he conducted several robberies. In the comics, he befell (all pun intended) a tragic fate when he was cornered by Batman while in a lab, and it was there that – seeing no alternative – he jumped into a pool of chemicals. Luckily, he made it out alive though not without being altered. The chemicals made his skin white, his hair green, and his lips bright red. Later, in Batman #1 (1940) the same man reappears, going by the name of the Joker – the arch nemesis of our favorite hero Batman.
Damn, now we know how he got those scars.
Now, considering that Bruce takes on more qualities of a detective who is doing work to find out the truth behind not only the death of his parents, but also the secrets his father may have had in relation to Wayne Enterprises (ahem – the batcave), I’d say that Gotham is following more of the Detective Comic universe rather than the one we are all so used to and that means that we’ll be getting some of the Joker origins from those original comics. After all, before the Dark Knight was Batman, he was The Detective, and before that, he was Bruce. And if we’re going with the origins of the characters, it only makes sense that Gotham continues to pay homage to the old school stories (with their own twist) by introducing The Joker under his first alias as none other than The Red Hood.
Of course, there have been many other theories on the appearance of the Joker, but only time will tell when he’ll truly appear.