FOX’s ‘Gotham’ recently revealed that an accelerated Joker origin would arrive before the Bat-prequel series' first finale, the upcoming “Red Hood“ introduction seeming a likely target, but the Clown Prince of Crime may arrive as soon as next Monday’s “Blind Fortune Teller.” Will ‘Shameless’ star Cameron Monaghan don the purple suit and makeup? We examine the evidence....

First things first; word of an explicit Joker introduction comes from last night’s post-”Scarecrow” teaser for February 16 installment “The Blind Fortune Teller,” which features a cackling Cameron Monaghan, and promises its latest villain is “no joke.” Naturally, ‘Gotham’'s promotional wheels are turning us toward a young Joker, but at least a few sources suggest FOX’s DC drama may have the joke on us.

For one, Monaghan’s character is listed as “Jerome,” and described in FOX’s own promotional photos as “the son of a circus performer,” while we know the installment will see Jim and Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) taking in a circus performance, and investigating a deeper case. Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds much closer to the “prenatal origin story” executive producers have teased for Dick Grayson’s parents, rather than a real look at the future Joker.

As a reminder, here’s what ‘Gotham’ showrunner Bruno Heller previously (and insultingly) said of the first season’s accelerated Joker introduction:

We’ve said you’re going to be waiting a bit longer for it, but this is America – nobody wants to wait. So, we will scratch the surface of that story, yes. But just scratch it – a little tap on the door.

The subsequent week’s “Red Hood” sounds more along the lines of a “tap on the door,” considering the gang’s frequent ties to Joker’s comic origins, though we won’t deny ‘Shameless’ star Monaghan’s aesthetic fit and laugh for a young Joker. The real question remains, would FOX deliberately troll its audience with such an overwhelming misdirect of the Joker’s introduction?

Yes. Have you seen this show, folks? An upcoming episode has Jim Gordon’s future wife (ugh, Barbara) giving young Catwoman a makeover. No joke, indeed. We’ll see who has the last laugh.

FOX