Gotham Cameron Monaghan Performance

Performer of the Week: Gotham's Cameron Monaghan

THE PERFORMER | Cameron Monaghan

THE SHOW | Gotham

THE EPISODE | “Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” (Jan. 30, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | Monaghan is so good at being colorfully bad, it almost makes us angry every time one of his arcs as that joker, Jerome Valeska, comes to an end. 

It’s always a precarious thing to raise comparisons with the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as The Dark Knight‘s actual Joker, but Monaghan’s latest “swan song” more than ever flirted with that kind of greatness. Between his voice, his gait and the way he carried himself with a showman’s certain “flair” (as Jerome put it), Monaghan crafted a vivid villain, perhaps best evidenced this time around during his Wayne Manor reunion with Bruce. Wearing a face that had been removed (!) and then stapled back on (!!) perhaps a bit too tight, Jerome looked more mad than ever as he closed in to kill the “prince” of Gotham.

As Bruce (an increasingly steely, commanding Daviz Mazouz) masterfully messed with the baddie’s bean, Monaghan made clear that Jerome’s noodle was being worked overtime. He turned into a bundle of second-guessing, nervous energy, zagging around the room, leaping onto couches and kicking pillows. Yes, he would acknowledge, Master Wayne was just buying time by suggesting they take his execution public — but damn if Jerome wasn’t freakin’ fond of the idea!

Capping the hour’s manic performance was the brawl in the circus’ Hall of Mirrors, where Jerome taunted and then took on Bruce, mano a mano. With just eight or so years separating the young actors, it played as a plausible fight — you could almost squint your eyes and see a future Batman duking it out with his most infamous adversary. Whatever Gotham‘s ultimate plan for its Joker is, Monaghan throughout his visits set a deliciously high bar.

HTGAWMHONORABLE MENTION | It seems like just yesterday that How to Get Away With Murder‘s Keating Five were burying their professor’s husband’s body — and Michaela was incoherent with panic the entire time. But, as Aja Naomi King proved to us in Thursday’s episode, Michaela has come a long way from that night in the woods, and we can’t get enough of her schemes to keep herself and her classmates out of prison. Whether she was defending Annalise to President Hargrove, or eviscerating Connor for revealing incriminating secrets to Oliver (“This is my life on the line, and I worked too hard to have it ruined because someone opened their fat mouth!”), Michaela reminded us who’s really in charge while Annalise is away.

unnamed-1HONORABLE MENTION | Phtew! If you missed Rachel Dratch‘s hilarious guest spot on this week’s Portlandia… well, we’re not gonna spit on you like Josephina would. She’s the stern, old-school Italian woman played by Dratch, who Fred suddenly found himself married to, thanks to an arranged-marriage service. And the SNL alum’s brilliantly weird sense of humor got a chance to shine as Josephina dutifully swept floors, made meatballs for her “Fredo” — and yes, spat at poor Carrie a few times. Thanks to Dratch’s oddball genius, Josephina’s dead-eyed stare will be haunting our dreams.

unnamed-2HONORABLE MENTION | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. guest star Patton Oswalt worked overtime this week, returning as both Sam and Billy Koenig and adding a third brother to his repertoire — each bringing a comedic touch. From Billy’s passably feigned pluck as a prisoner to Sam’s near-inappropriate fanboying over Quake to non-agent Thurston’s stylings as a slam poet (“You’re asleep, binge-watching the apocalypse!”), Oswalt stole every scene he was in, all the while keeping us guessing as to the nature of this seemingly endless line-up of lookalikes. Heck, if Scandal vet Artemis Pebdani wasn’t such a delightful addition to the brood, we’d almost wish Oswalt had worked in drag to play sister L.T.

Which performance knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Lola says:

    Yes. He’s on point. Playing a legendary character flawlessly. That’s no easy task. I think David Mazouz should’ve gotten a honorable mention. Both actors were the vehicles for that amazing Gotham finale this week. Seeing young Bruce on the brink of murder and watching Jerome take satisfaction in knowing that was amazing.

  2. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Cameron got performer of the week. He did great in the winter finale episode. Hope he comes back on the show again soon. Glad and happy Rachel Dratch and Patton Oswalt got honorable mentions.

  3. Angela says:

    Yes to Aja Naomi King. She was fantastic this week. I love when that side of Michaela comes out-it really gives King some great material to work with.
    I’d also put in a nod to Jane Lynch and Matthew Gray Gubler on “Criminal Minds”. Their interaction in Wednesday’s episode was truly heartbreaking.

    • Leo says:

      I agree with Aja, but cmon no love for Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex finale? She played so many emotions in the finale, ranging from happy, devastated, excited to yeah….crazy. She deserved more recognition

  4. Alex says:

    Gabriel Macht was amazing on Suits.

  5. Kari says:

    Matt Lanter’s heartbreaking performance on Timeless.

  6. Carlos Alvarez says:

    Matt Lanter on Timeless. Jane Lynch on Criminal Minds but the one that I think really deserved an honorable mention was the actress that portrays Sandra on Superstore where she is talking to her coworkers about her fake boyfriend. Her performance was so heart breaking. She really made you believe that she had a boyfriend. Felt so bad for her

    • Ron says:

      Agree about Sandra on Superstore. (I’m not sure Im fully convinced about a shout out for honorable mention, but she did an amazing job.) The part where she’s talking to her coworkers I found to be simultaneously heartbreaking and funny, if that makes sense. It was heartbreaking because of what she was saying and funny because of how she was saying it. The part I found just solely heartbreaking was when she met someone she liked and someone who seemed to really like her, but she missed out on him because she had crafted this elaborate lie about her fake relationship with Jeff. That was so sad to me.

      • bob says:

        i’m sure he will be back once the gang finds out that it was mateo dating jeff.

        • Ron says:

          Yeah, I agree. I also think he’ll be back. At least I hope he comes back, because I think Sandra deserves a little happiness. But in that moment, I just felt so bad for her.

  7. Kevin says:

    Matt Lanter’s performance on Timeless was amazing. His character Wyatt Logan caused a lot of trouble since his wife’s death.

  8. Carlos Alvarez says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that watches Superstore. It’s a hilarious show

  9. Tom says:

    Fourth brother. Don’t forget Eric(Erik?) Who, along with Victoria Hand, is a big part of the reason I hate Grant Ward so much.

  10. ndixit says:

    I actually think David Masouz stole the show from Cameron in this episode. There is a remarkable maturity in his performance and his scenes opposite Cameron were terrifically well acted.

  11. Mollytanner says:

    Sandra’s monologue at the ladies luncheon was amazing it just kept going and going. And then Amy’s response after, “uhhhh so just the bottom or underneath?” Lolllz.

  12. Maria says:

    I remember him from several years ago on an episode of NCIS (Into the Frying Pan). He was amazing in his role, and you could just tell that he’d be a success in his career.

  13. Lynne says:

    Whenever you bring in Jerome, you’re in for an amazing episode! Cameron really throws himself into that role like he’s been playing him for 10 years.

  14. jordana says:

    Cameron is phenomenal. I think Gabriel Macht was fantastic on Suits and the whole Lucifer cast was A+

  15. Jared says:

    I have always been a fan of Cameron’s work but his acting on Gotham rivals some of the “best” jokers in DC history. Even more so considering there has never been a young joker(atleast not to my knowledge)to pull from and he does it so flawless and haunted yet comical and scary. The kids a star In the making.

  16. There’s just something about Cameron Monaghan’s portrayal of the character that puts him half a step ahead of Ledger and Nicholson for me; he has somehow managed to bridge the best of both performances into this new terrifyingly charming maniac that feels like a real person but does not renegate his more histrionic origins. I wish he’d stay forever.

  17. YTKylie says:

    Came here for Actor who plays Wyatt on Timeless and anyone from Lucifer. They had it nailed down last week.

  18. andremar says:

    YES! Cameron is always a delight to watch as Jerome! I was sure he’s gonna be on the list
    Also, Gabriel Macht should’ve been mentioned !

  19. JEFFREY says:

    I know it wasnt a showy performance. But for the first time i felt Connie Britton really feels the material thats been given to her this year. When maddie accused her of being prejudice Connie gave a non over the top quiet rebuttal. And then she had a sweet heart to heart with maddie later on in the episode. I dont know if its the new writing but i finally am starting to feel like Connie appreciates the role of Rayna. There seems to be a new light in Connie.

  20. Emseedubayou says:

    Joker is too loud and over the top, a real turn off for us. Dude that plays Penguin should get an Emmy.

    • Uzoigwe chidubem says:

      I feel you emseedubayou Robin taylor is his name he is the best actor in gotham series should be few steps ahead of the so called Jerome. Even nygma is better thank you.

  21. Rex the Wonder Dog says:

    No love here for Chyler Leigh? She won performer on the month for October and November at Spoiler TV.