Great Caesars ghost! The end of last week’s Gotham, “13 Stitches,” boasted a moment we’ve all been expecting, yet it still somehow caught us all by surprise. Barbara Kean interrupted Jim Gordon’s otherwise sweet reunion with Lee Tompkins to tell her former fiancé that…
And he’s the father!
Jim was left totally speechless by this news, and it’s not exactly surprising. As a longtime fan of this show, there are so many thoughts going through my mind. Jim is going to be a father! Can you imagine this version of Gordon as a dad, or Barbara as a mom? Is it finally happening? Will Gotham finally be revealing where their version of Barbara Gordon comes from?
When Barbara Kean became a villain at the end of season one, it looked like any hope of the two getting married or conceiving any children together was out the window. I recently pondered Barbara’s redemption in a recent Couch Club column, and you overwhelmingly responded to me on Twitter with variations of “she must be redeemed so Batgirl can be born.”
You do have a point. Fans have long wondered how the creation of Barbara Gordon would be addressed on Gotham when her mother became a criminal adversary of Jim. It’s been the question which hasn’t gone away. For a little while, it looked like Gotham might be pulling a swerve and making Lee Tompkins the eventual mother of Batgirl. In season two, Jim and Lee became engaged after she revealed she was pregnant, presumably putting the series on a new path to Barbara Gordon. Tragically, Lee lost the baby, which put the couple on a dark path for the next few years. Now we’re in the final season, and it’s a whole new ballgame…
As excited as I am by the possible appearance of Barbara Gordon, I think we should also consider a few possibilities.
Possibility #1: The baby Barbara is carrying may not be Batgirl
Batgirl might be the most well-known of Jim’s children, but she is not his only child. Trivia time Gotham fans—when did readers first learn that Gordon’s first name was Jim? The answer: WORLD’S FINEST #53, which also introduced his wife, Barbara, and son...Tony!
Tony Gordon looked like Archie Andrews and dressed like Jimmy Olsen. He later reappeared in the Bronze Age, sacrificing his life to save his sister from a race of Chinese Supermen while he wore a Kryptonian kilt. If that last sentence made you say, “Wow, Batgirl’s Bronze Age stories sounded totally…well, batty!” you’re absolutely correct!
Tony hasn’t been mentioned since 1981, so it’s highly doubtful Gotham has him in mind for the pregnancy subplot. However, Barbara and Jim did have a son named James Gordon, Jr., and fans have pointed out that he shares some similarities with Gotham’s villainous portrayal of Barbara Kean. Check out BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR by Scott Snyder and Jock, and you’ll see how dangerous James Jr. can be. (He’s also recently shown up in Snyder and Jock’s current THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS miniseries.) James, Jr. has poisoned babies, tortured his own sister and psychologically tormented the Bat-Family. This may seem like the type of son Gotham’s version of Barbara Kean can have, but is that the direction we’re going in?
Possibility #2: Batgirl is not necessarily Jim and Barbara’s daughter
Throughout different eras of DC Comics history, the status of Barbara Gordon’s parentage hasn’t always been consistent. For years, Jim Gordon’s wife, Barbara, was seen in only a few stories and never appeared alongside her presumed daughter, Batgirl.
Curiously, WHO’S WHO #2 identified Batgirl’s mother as a woman named Thelma. Sometimes Jim Gordon’s wife was referred to as Thelma, while other times she was Barbara (SUPERMAN FAMILY #211), and parallel Earths and alternate timelines did confuse the issue a bit.
In 1987’s SECRET ORIGINS #20, writer Barbara Randall Kesel gave us a new take on the Gordon family relationship. In this new origin, Barbara Gordon is actually Jim Gordon’s niece! After the death of her parents, she was sent to live with her father’s brother, Jim, and his wife, who was also named Barbara. (It was a really popular name at the time, all right?!) The couple adopted her and from that moment on she considered Jim Gordon her father and not her uncle. Interestingly enough, it was later implied that Jim was Barbara’s biological father due to an affair with his sister-in-law. After the reality altering events of 2011’s FLASHPOINT, history was changed with Barbara once again being the biological daughter of Jim Gordon and Barbara Kean.
With all these possibilities in mind, we have no way of knowing how the baby scenario will play out. Maybe the baby won’t be Barbara, or perhaps Jim Gordon ends the series without any kids! Remember, No Man’s Land is a dangerous place! Barbara Kean might not survive or there might be some other twist with the baby.
All this is possible...but having laid out other possiblities, I have to say that I don't think they're very likely. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Gotham WILL be going the “Baby Batgirl” route when all is said and done. This is the final season and they’re doing things big, and Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon is one of the biggest things they haven’t done yet. And with Bruce now 18, the age gap between Batman and Batgirl is more than enough. It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through the final season folks, and things are only going to get wilder from here!
Do you have baby fever? Are you psyched for Batgirl? Let me know what you think!
Gotham airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on FOX. For more news, features and conversation on Gotham, click here.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. You can find him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.