Gotham Season 2 Preview

Gotham's Erin Richards on Barbara's Evil Turn: 'Darkness Was Always In Her'

As if her scenes in Gotham‘s Season 2 premiere alone did not make this crystal clear, Erin Richards has found that it is oh-so-good to be oh-so-bad.

“This season is so much more fun for me,” the Welsh actress raves of Barbara Kean’s full-on embracing of her wicked side in the wake of her parents’ tragic death and her acrimonious split from fiance Jim Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie). “I’m having loads more to do!”

Was it always Gotham‘s plan for the onetime socialite to head down this path? “I think they either were going to kill me or do this, basically,” Richards ventures. “And we like this! She and Jim were close in terms of they were going to get married, so something needed to happen, for Jim. And I’m glad they went this direction.”

Richards acknowledges that the Fox drama (airing Mondays at 8/7c) took “a pretty swift turn” with Barbara, who in short order segued from a rekindled affair with Major Crimes detective Renee Montoya into a torrid alliance with serial slayer Jason Lennon aka The Ogre (Milo Ventimiglia). “But that darkness that you saw at the end of the first [season] was always in her,” she posits.

What’s more, Richards has herself undergone a similar turnabout, in her own life.

“I haven’t killed my parents,” she says with a(n extremely reassuring) laugh, “but I’ve had an experience where within one year I’ve changed completely as a person, and that had more to do with meditation and all that kind of stuff. So I know that that is possible, in that you can be pretending to be someone — which is totally fine, it’s what everybody does. We’re always told, ‘You should have a husband and a family and a house and a car, blah blah blah,’ and that’s what Barbara was doing. And suddenly Lennon came and showed her, ‘No. You can be totally free. You don’t need those things.’ And that’s how I feel, as Erin. I feel free in the world.”

But whereas Jason Lennon firmly nudged Barbara in this direction, her role in her parents’ brutal murder — coupled with Season 2 newcomer Theo Galavan (James Frain) recruiting her as one of his band of “Maniax” — has cemented her place among Gotham villainy.Gotham-Barbara-Theo “Once you kill your parents, you cannot go any darker or lower,” the actress notes. “So she just got let out into the world, like, ‘There you go! You can now go and do absolutely anything you want, because you already did the worst thing.'”

Of course, as seen in the season premiere, Barbara — like any proper psychopath — “thinks she’s fine. She’s not crazy!” her portrayer reminds with a smile. “She’s just got some scores to settle. She has ‘issues,’ as she says.” As such, she does believe that she and Jim can be together again some day, some way… in some dark place.

“She definitely loves Jim, and she definitely wants him back. But I think it’s more like she wants to bring him into the darkness of where she is,” says Richards. “She sees who he really is, so she’s kind of angered that he’s playing this ‘role’ [of do-right lawman], like, ‘No, I know who you really are, so I’m going to get you back and we’ll go into this dark place together.”

But how far will Barbara go in the name of that objective? Already, she has threatened rival Lee Thompkins with a violent death, and in this week’s episode she stands idly by as her ex-fiance gets the bloody hell beaten out of him (while even worse fates are visited upon those he works with).

“She doesn’t want Jim dead. Yet,” Richards says. “But as for lines that she won’t cross…. Hmm, I don’t think killing is out of the question!”

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  1. Yeah — the odds of this Barbara Kean being Oracle’s mom just hit zero, lol. So,will that mean that James will have an affair with his brother’s wife like he did in the Post Crisis canon of the 80’s and 90’s? Leslie Thompkins is not going to be Oracle’s mom, heh.

    Speaking of which, what’s the age difference between Batman and Oracle? How soon does James have to father Barbara Gordon before that window closes? And will that determine the duration of his relationship with Leslie?

    • Drew says:

      It’s possible that Oracle isn’t Jim’s biological daughter (in this universe). I could see him adopting Barbara’s daughter, if she had one, so that she wouldn’t end up as one of the street kids that he’s seen around Gotham after the system failed them. There’s no way that he would name any daughter of his “Barbara” at this point, so she’d have to get the name another way. It’s not comic book canon, but the show has already deviated from comic book history for these characters. The only question is whether or not is in keeping with the spirit of the source material.

      • Any deviation is ultimately relative, really. In the 80’s, Barbara Gordon was 100% Jim’s niece, the daughter of his brother and his wife. This was due to Frank Miller forgetting that she was Jim’s daughter. So from then on she became his niece. It wasn’t until long, long after that that Devin Grayson in a comic called Gotham Knights retconned it so that Barbara was Jim’s biological daughter after all, the result of an affair with his sister in law.

        Gotham can really go in any direction at this time. She can be his niece, and only his niece, or he can be his daughter as a result of that affair. What we can be sure of now she won’t be is the daughter of James Gordon and Barbara Kean, heh.

        • tvjunkie says:

          Unless she tricks/drugs him into a one night stand or something along those lines. But would they go there is the question.

          • Indeed. Do we really want an Oracle with a history of mental illness on her mother’s side? In Gotham, that would almost assuredly turn her into a bad guy, heh.

          • Drew says:

            I think it could be interesting if Barbara (Batgirl/Oracle) had that hanging over her. On one side, her mother was evil. On the other, she was raised by a man who was very good. She could become Batgirl because it gives her a way to fight that evil side, but it’s also got a hint of the mental instability in there (putting on a costume as opposed to a badge).
            The question is, do we want them to have Barbara be the result of Jim being raped by Barbara? Guys have been raped in the comic books before, so it wouldn’t be entirely unheard of. It’s certainly something that isn’t done a lot on TV, so it might be interesting. But is a rape storyline too far for a show like this?

          • Drew, indeed. I do think the show can skip the Batgirl phase altogether and focus directly on Oracle. Beware The Batman did, and it worked.

        • ? says:

          Barbara’s supposed to be his daughter, and ever since DC relaunched their comic books with the New 52 she’s been his daughter again. He and Barbara had two kids, James Gordon Jr. (who’s a villain) and Barbara (Batgirl). DC seems to want to push the latest version of its characters’ mythology in all mediums right now (look how closely Gotham follows Batman Earth One as opposed to any other origin story, for example), so I’d be surprised if Barbara doesn’t turn out to be Barbara’s biological mother somehow. But ultimately, I don’t really care and I think anyone still watching Gotham gave up caring about such things a long time ago, too.

    • LK says:

      Well they could still have a fling at some point in the future and she can get pregnant.. not entirely impossible.

      • Not impossible, but surely unlikely. The show won’t spend a season showing Barbara pregnant. It’s more likely that they might show Jim with his sister in law, then bring her back down the line pregnant, then bring her back after she’s given birth. A non-regular character. Or they just introduce Jim’s already-pregnant sister in law. It depends on what direction they go in. I for one don’t think they can make Kean Barbara’s mother now.

    • JC says:

      I think you’re wrong. There’s a lot of ways Barbara will still get pregnant by Jim.

        • JC says:

          You act like it’s impossible that she will somehow get him into bed or at least his sperm somehow which happens on shows all the time.

          • I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying that it’s unlikely. Do you think the show will spend one season showing a pregnant deranged Barbara Kean taunting Jim with the baby she is carrying inside her? This isn’t a soap, lol.

          • Drew says:

            Making her pregnant would make things hard for Jim. He wouldn’t want to shoot her or drug her up. There could be scenarios where she gets away simply because he’s not willing to take that innocent life. Lee hates her more than Jim does and even she wouldn’t want to kill a pregnant lady.

          • JC says:

            You say this isn’t a soap I guess as a slight towards soap operas. And yeah, I disagree still. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t have Barbara be pg if that’s the story they want to tell.

    • Nancy Cianci says:

      We will never see Oracle in Gotham, PERIOD. Barbara Gordon may eventually be born, but its highly unlikely we’ll even see Batman, so I dont know how you’re getting so ramped up for Oracle to A) be born and B) age enough to become Batgirl or Oracle.

    • What I find interesting is that in the New 52 (and even before then), Jim and Barbara had a son who was insane. So you had the criminally insane brother and the crime-fighter Batgirl. I also wonder how Batgirl would be born in this universe considering how it’s almost unlikely, outside of drugging Jim, that he and Kean would ever get together. But it would make for some interesting storytelling. I mean, you’ve got the insane mother giving birth to someone who becomes a villain and then a daughter who becomes Batgirl, which you probably have to be at least somewhat crazy to do.

  2. Mr. Tran K says:

    Barbara Keane is one HOT naughty girl and she’ll be more naughtier than ever throughout the season.

  3. Luis says:

    I realize you can mess with the canon to a great degree on a TV show, but how is Jim Gordon supposed to marry and have children with this woman?

    • tessamarie23 says:

      So i have seen no mention of it after the first episode of the second season or on any comment boards, Barbara said leslie killed her parents, as unlikely as that sounds i remember thinking that fight scene in the season finale seemed bizarre almost as we were being led to believe a series of events that didnt actually occur that way and jim walking in right after leslie subdued her, it just seemed kinda off and out of nowhere (which no matter what were the writers intentions im sure). Also, if that was true it could explain away why Barbara lost her mind after losing Jim, then her parents, add insult to injury with Jim ending up with the woman who framed her and she ends up in Arkham. Plus she has yet to kill anyone directly so maybe (far fetched i know)they plan to redeem Barbara so she can end up with Jim. Plus didn’t leslie against Barbara wishes push to give her counseling and she also worked in Arkham. Thoughts? I know its pretty far fetched.

  4. I think she’s Harley. Her time The Ogre made her snap, JMO

    • tvjunkie says:

      Except isn’t Harley supposed to be younger than the Joker? She’s clearly got about 10 years on the kid playing the Joker. So I’m doubting she’s Harley.

  5. LK says:

    Is Montoya no longer on the show?

    • Mareesa says:

      Montoya is gone, yes. Unfortunately. They didn’t dive into her character enough and are going in another direction. So, enter Tigress who will have something with Barbara…. We shall see…..

  6. Steve says:

    While it is possible shes a new original villain for the show, which would be fine, It feels like there setting her up as the shows version Harley Quinn. The way her and Jerome interacted in the premier made me feel like this was the direction they were heading with her. Gotham’s kind of put its own spin on all things Joker, so its hard to tell where there going with it, but crazy Barbra is the most likely candidate to become Quinn

  7. Paria says:

    It makes sense of you think about it.

    They have a daughter who is good like their dad, and a son who ends up as crazy as the mom.

    A ons will result in batgirl being born.

  8. Natasha Lawson says:

    She is going to be Harley Quinn. She had on a white coat, black dress and red gloves.

  9. Patrick Cresswell says:

    Just one question, when is Gotham airing season 2 in the UK, sleepless nights are occurring in case I miss the start hehe, top show guys and to all the amazing cast – Much Love, pure entertainment :) xx

  10. mark says:

    Okay, fans accept that tv and movies are alternate realities, but you can’t take a good character and make them evil, it won’t be accepted and the show wont last, barbara keen became Barbara Gordon, you can change a character, but you can’t make them something completely different, other shows have done this and it ends up that the rating plunge and the show goes away, not too late to change this path, but it’s getting close. Shame, the show had such great potential.