It seems like Barbara Kean will finally have something to do on Gotham besides go through a tumultuous relationship with Renee Montoya and annoy viewers. My hope that Gotham would find its footing once returning from the midseason finale was quickly jettisoned as the show has incorporated increasingly more villains, trite dialogue, and a misunderstanding of basic things like character development. But even in a sea of missteps, Barbara Kean stands out. The show has never really known what to do with her character but now at least they're trying. Renee dumped her. Her former fiance Jim Gordon is dating Dr. Leslie Thompkins and has moved out. Instead of trying to put her life together, we've seen Barbara start a very surprising new friendship of sorts. Barbara is teaming up with the future Catwoman on Gotham. Seeing her become friends with pint-sized Selina Kyle before she goes full blown Catwoman was a development I wasn't expecting.
Barbara obviously isn't in a good place and has been struggling with alcohol abuse. She currently has no direction in life, which doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon. But bonding with Selina, and to a lesser degree, Ivy Pepper, at least means she's become slightly more integral with major characters on Gotham instead of on the outskirts. But is there a precedent for this? Did Barbara and Selina ever become friends in the comics? Not quite.
It's important to understand that in the comics, Barbara Kean's storyline has been retconned quite a bit. She's the first wife of police commissioner James Gordon and mother to two kids including Barbara Gordon, who becomes Batgirl and later, Oracle. Not much is known of Barbara's early life because comic writers rarely care to develop female characters. But one thing is certain: Barbara and Selina never become friends in the comics.
When you think about it, this makes complete sense. In the comics, there is a considerable age difference between the two characters and their paths would have never crossed. But Selina does interact with Barbara's daughter, Barbara Gordon.
Selina interacts with Barbara Gordon when she's Batgirl and also after she's been paralyzed by the Joker and taken on the name of Oracle. Selina, being close to Batman, knowing his true identity as Bruce Wayne, and being a major player in Gotham's crime scene, comes in contact with Barbara Gordon a lot. However they don't always get along, which is especially evident in The New Adventures of Batman animated series episode, "You Scratch My Back." But since there isn't a history of Barbara Kean and Selina Kyle interacting in the comics, that means the writers of Gotham have free reign to create their own narrative.
Based on the promo for the Feb. 23 episode. "Red Hood," Gotham is going with an odd direction for this unlikely friendship. Selina is known to be quite a femme fatale in the comics, films, and even animated series. So, seeing Barbara telling her to use her beauty as a weapon is an interesting choice. Is Gotham setting up Barbara to be a sort of mentor to Selina? It definitely seems like they're meant to help each other out. While this new development is unexpected, hopefully it'll make Barbara a little more interesting on Gotham.
Images: Jessica Miglio/FOX (2)