Villain Joker: The Bad Breakup

posted by Meghan Thornton March 20th 2018

[Note: Light spoilers from the first four episodes ahead. You can read about the Vigilante side of The Joker here, and get the season finale March 27!]

Ever had a bad breakup? One of those where grief gives way to anger and sometimes even to thoughts of revenge? The most rational person can be prone to toxic behavior when she or he is hurting. And if that’s true of a rational person, what would Joker do?

That’s the question we asked ourselves when deciding where John Doe would go after his plunge off the bridge with Harley at the end of Episode Four. Throughout the season, it’s been clear how much Bruce means to John. Bruce was his close friend, his confidant, his idol. And then -- in John’s mind, at least -- Bruce completely betrayed him.

So just how would John Doe, in evolving into Joker, handle his heartbreak? A lot like any other person, only where most people might not act on their feelings of jealousy, rage, and vengefulness, Joker most certainly would. And then some. He’s very creative, and he’s very obsessive. Bruce Wayne “dumped” him. Like anyone else who’s been rejected, Joker wants Bruce to regret it. But unlike anyone else, he’ll come up with unique, horrible, and murderous ways to ensure that he does.

It’s been great getting to work with such a highly emotional character in John Doe/Joker. Where Bruce is -- well, let’s just say it -- not the best at expressing his emotions, John wears his heart on his sleeve and makes no apologies for doing so. He believes in what he feels. No matter how evil his actions, that is one thing I’ll always admire about John: he’s raw and undisguised. He doesn’t hide. In that way, he’s the complete opposite of Bruce. And perhaps that’s why he’s the perfect enemy. He sees through Bruce’s facade and understands his vulnerabilities more than anyone -- maybe more than Bruce himself.

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Beneath the villain is a man who is in pain, and we tried to hold onto that while writing the episode. The John players loved or hated all season is still there, just transformed by Bruce’s choices into something far more vicious -- and more focused. John’s finally found the purpose he’s been seeking ever since leaving Arkham Asylum: to make Bruce’s life a living hell and show him just how bad it can feel when a friendship dies.

...Hope you enjoy the ride!