Gotham has finally confirmed viewers’ suspicions that the newest, youngest member of the cast is, in fact, Barbara Gordon, who will eventually take up the mantle of Batgirl. In the Batman comic books, Barbara is the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon and decides to follow Batman’s example in becoming a vigilante, taking to the streets under the name of Batgirl in an attempt to help fight crime in a way that her father cannot.
Introduced in the 1960s by creators Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, Batgirl proved hugely popular with comic readers and spearheaded the progression of women taking on more active roles in superhero stories. As well as being a tough crime-fighter, Barbara has a PhD and following her paralysis at the hands of Joker in The Killing Joke, adopted the role of Oracle instead – aiding her allies with remote hacking and computer skills.
Barbara Gordon is not only an integral part of Batman canon but also a huge part of Jim Gordon’s personal arc. And, since the Commissioner is very much at the heart of Gotham, it’s only natural that Barbara would feature in the show, although her introduction has proven far less straightforward on screen than on the page.
In Gotham‘s first season, Jim is in a relationship with Barbara Kean – Barbara Gordon’s mother in the comic books. Unfortunately, their relationship proves rather short-lived and after Kean descended into a life of villainy, murder and organized crime, it seemed that any reconciliation with the GCPD’s bastion of morality was firmly out of the question.
Naturally, this forced Gotham viewers to question how Jim’s daughter would be introduced into the series, or indeed whether she would feature at all. Barbara Gordon’s Gotham debut looked even more unlikely when Lee Thompkins, Jim’s second love interest, tragically miscarried the couple’s child and as the “No Man’s Land” arc commenced, having a child seemed the furthest thing from Jim’s mind.
Due to pure chance (and a healthy dose of adrenaline-fueled lust), Batgirl’s existence in Gotham was set into motion early in Gotham season 5, as Jim Gordon and Barbara Kean shared a night of passion within the comfy trappings of the GCPD Captain’s office. Speculation soon began suggesting that this brief tryst could pave the way for the birth of Barbara Gordon and, sure enough, Kean announced her pregnancy a couple of episodes later.
However, it wasn’t until Gotham‘s second-to-last episode that the link between this newborn child and Batgirl was cemented. Fresh from freeing the city from the clutches of Bane and Nyssa al Ghul, Gordon holds his infant child and says “I don’t even know what to call her.” Clearly not feeling the need to discuss naming choices with the baby’s father, Kean declares that the child will be named “Barbara” – thus confirming the Batgirl link that many fans already strongly suspected.
While this moment was relatively low-key compared to the many other goings-on in the episode’s conclusion, the confirmation of Barbara Gordon actually represents a major piece of Jim Gordon’s story. It could even be argued that Gotham, essentially a Jim Gordon solo venture, would feel incomplete without introducing the Commissioner’s famous crime-fighting daughter. It’ll be fascinating to see what role young Barbara could play in the flashforwards that will occur during the forthcoming series finale.
Next: Gotham’s Batman Finale Reveal Proves The Show Changed Focus
Gotham season 5 will conclude with “The Beginning…” April 25th on Fox.