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Gotham is a tricky show. Just like the comic books which its loosely based off of, the characters in the FOX drama seem to be in constant motion. With power levels constantly changing and characters coming back from death every few episodes, Gotham is surely keeping its audiences on their toes. One of the characters who has had the biggest arc is Barbara Kean, who has gone from tertiary damsel in distress to slightly insane Gotham crime boss. Erin Richards' characterization has drawn quite a few parallels from fan favorite character Harley Quinn, who was made extra famous with Margot Robbie's portrayal in Suicide Squad. But how does Richards feel about this comparison?
I was able to ask the Gotham actress that very question at this week's Gotham press event in New York City. When asked how she felt about the comparison to Harley Quinn, Richards said:
It's not frustrating because I understand it. But the thing about Harley Quinn is that her madness, her crazy is kind of joyous. Which Barbara has, but Barbara is a lot more focused, especially in this part of the season. We're going to see her really getting her teeth into being the Queen of Gotham, which is what she wants. And using the characters around her to get there. And I think she has left behind the part of her that was the Harley Quinn type.
This actually makes quite a bit of sense. Let's break down exactly what Erin Richards is telling us.
To start, she's acknowledging the similarities that have occurred between Barbara and Harley Quinn through Gotham's run. In season 2, Barbara went a bit bananas and joined a group of villains to bring chaos to Gotham City. It was during this point where Barbara felt the most Harley-ish, more focused on causing mayhem and hurting Gordon than actually getting anything accomplished within the city.
But Season 3's Barbara Kean is a horse of a different color. While she had a few moments of mania, Barbara seems to be much more focused on her criminal goals this season. She's cold and calculating, instigating the feud between Nygma and Penguin for her own goals. And this pragmatism is what sets Barbara apart from the likes of Harley Quinn. Harley runs on mad love, devotion for the Joker, and the quest for anarchy. Conversely, Barbara wants to continue gaining power to become the Queen of Gotham's underworld. It's quite a juxtaposition.
It should be interesting to see how Barbara Kean continues to grow during the back half of Gotham Season 3. Will The Penguin attempt to get revenge for her betrayal, or is he really sleeping with the fishes (not Mooney)? We'll just have to wait and see.