Gotham Should Just Embrace Its Insanity


On Monday, Fox’s Gotham dedicated its “Tonight’s the Night” episode to one of the craziest and nuttiest characters on the show — Barbara Kean.  Now, I have no problem with crazy characters.  We are talking about the world of Batman, so eccentric and “interesting” are given qualities.  But when all your characters’ actions border on insanity, madness becomes the norm.  At this point, you shouldn’t pull back — just own it!

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Barbara started off as a pretty even-keeled, wealthy, socialite who was very much in love with Jim Gordon.  Her character’s downhill slide started when Jim confided to her his involvement with organized crime after faking the death of Penguin.  Unable to handle the truth, Barbara used her past lover, Renee Montoya, as a crutch for her unsatisfying life.  Then, she went through being kidnapped by Carmine Falcone, who eventually let both her and Jim go.

However, Barbara’s journey didn’t end there.  The straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of Jason Lennon — The Ogre.  The serial killer kidnapped Barbara (I think we’re starting to see a pattern here) and forced her to brutally kill her parents.  Although, it was suggested that Barbara didn’t need that much convincing due to her pent up mommy and daddy issues — something that was barely explored.  The murder of her parents was initially falsely blamed on The Ogre, but later, during a session with Leslie Thompkins, Barbara confesses to killing them.  This lands her in Arkham Asylum.  Thereby, completing her character arc on the show from rich girl to bats–t crazy (pun intended) parricidal maniac.

In a previous article, I wrote about how Gotham‘s “Rise of the Villains” season should be re-tititled as “Rise of the Serial Killers.”  I still stand by that opinion, but Gotham should go a step further — the show should just go full out crazy.  One of my biggest disappointments with “Tonight’s the Night” was how they handled Barbara’s supposed death before the commercial break.  They left it as a semi-cliffhanger when she tried to commit suicide.  Then, when we got back, Barbara — now critically injured — was being transported to an ambulance because a bush broke her fall.  We’ve seen Fish Mooney gouge her own eyeball out and then step on it (“Red Hood“), a person die via explosives (“Scarification“), people hanged (“The Fearsome Dr. Crane“), and countless other brutalities.  The show is going to pull back on Barbara hitting the ground?

Whether they plan on keeping her character as part of the show is not the point. The point is that Gotham has done this sudden “we’re going G-rated” change in the past.  Pulling back now only shows that you can’t take risks.  Your show has already branched away from the Batman myth with characters that have no resemblance to their comic counterparts.  On top of that, they’re insane and don’t even act like sensible characters (case in point: Harvey Bullock kicking a critically burned man to death in “By Fire”).  Embrace the insanity and do what you do best — risk it all and just go full monty.

Next: Catch up on Gotham with a Recap of 'Tonight's the Night'

Gotham‘s writing isn’t going to improve any time soon.  Their storylines are going to be mediocre at best.  So what’s the remedy?  Do what the show has done best — increase the crazy.  The writers and creatives have already taken us there with the violence and gaudy characters.  All they need to do is take it up a notch and treat it like an exploitation series.  Think Tarantino.  The man doesn’t pull back, and that’s what makes his films so much fun.  This will probably be the only way Gotham can secure a Season 3.