‘Joker’ is a 2019 film that tells the origin story of one of the most iconic and notorious villains in comic book history: the Joker. The film follows Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill and socially isolated man who works as a clown and aspires to be a stand-up comedian. Arthur lives with his mother, Penny, whom he loves and cares for but who also hides a dark secret from him. This deadly secret, hidden by more lies, will eventually be the last straw that causes Arthur to eventually kill his “mother.” So, let’s see what really went down.
The relationship between Arthur and his mother is complicated at best and messed up at worst
Arthur took care of Penny Fleck for most of his life. She was never the most stable person to be around, and Arthur, at the time, had no idea about his true origins. What Penny presented as a story that made her a victim actually turned out to be a rabbit hole that will eventually lead to her own murder at the hands of her adoptive son.
Penny told Arthur that his real father was Thomas Wayne, who discarded her as soon as the relationship went too far. And yes, Penny Fleck did work for Wayne Manor, but the real truth was that she developed an obsession with young Thomas but could never act on her feelings due to being in a relationship and Thomas really not being all that interested in her.
And yes, there are countless theories online that support the premise that what Penny told was real, that she was in a relationship with Thomas, and it would be easy to fake her personal files if you are a rich and powerful man trying to cover his tracks, but the movie tells an altogether different story, which is currently canon to the Universe.
Penny was at the time in a relationship with an abusive partner, and she was never the biological mother of Arthur Fleck; she merely adopted the child but soon after ended up in the Asylum. According to official reports, Penny and her then-partner abused Arthurh, which resulted in a plethora of mental problems down the line, most of which will mark Arthur as a permanent outcast in society.
Why was Arthur mad at his mom?
When Arthur confronted his supposed father, Thomas Wayne, Wayne explained a few things about Penny and allowed Arthur to see the woman in a completely objective light for the first time in forever. Thomas told Arthur the truth about Penny’s mental state and the truth regarding his childhood. As soon as Arthur got the chance, he went to Arkham State Hospital to confirm his suspicions.
The clerk at first refused to release Arthur’s files due to seeing his mental state at the time, but Arthur stole them anyway. After reading his files, he finds out what Thomas Wayne said was true; Penny is indeed delusional and that he isn’t Arthur’s biological father. Not to mention, when Arthur was a child, a young Penny who was obsessed with Thomas Wayne let her boyfriend physically and emotionally abuse him, which contributed to his mental health and pathological laughter.
Learning this, Arthur went to visit his mother, and as he was reflecting back on his life, he grew so mad at her that he decided to smother her with a pillow.
Arthur ultimately killed his adoptive mother because she ruined his life, first when she adopted him only for him to be abused at the hands of her boyfriend and then with her narcissistic behavior that nurtured his psychological issues instead of addressing them.
As a victim of the abuse, he developed depression and psychosis with a side of nihilism marked by pathological laughter stemming from his traumatic experiences.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!