The last few episodes of Gotham before the mid-season break were traumatic for a number of characters, but none so outwardly as Barbara Kean. Falling from a shattered window and ending in a coma with a shattered body was very symbolic of what had happened to her mind in the past year, with a psychotic break fracturing her psyche and making a mess of her emotional state. The character's coma, then, could act as a cocoon to rebuild her, or at least help transform her for another return.
"I've had a lovely time. I was just in bed for... well, I can't say how many episodes," actress Erin Richards told ComicBook.com in an interview at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest in New Jersey. She said it with her trademark smile and eyebrow raise - something Barbara borrows from the actress portraying her. Though it's less sinister when Richards delivers the look, it's no less intriguing.
The actress recognizes that her character has had more significant changes in sheer quantity than most on a year and a half of a television show would.
"Yeah, she comes back totally different" after each time she fades into the background, Richards said of Barbara. "And that will happen again," she teased. "You know, you go into a coma, you're going to come out a little different. It's ambiguous as to whether she is actually changed, or whether she's not changed [and pretending]."
The next transformation for Barbara may have something to do with Jim Gordon. Barbara confessed to Jim that she still has feelings for him - and in fact predicts that they'll still wind up together, something Richards says the character truly believes.
"You’re going to see her come to terms a little bit with what’s happened," she said of Barbara's return, "and try to go deeper into the truth with Jim, their relationship, their past, and their future."
Of course, don't expect this to be a full snap back to a goodie two-shoes Barbara. At this point, I don't think Richards would allow it.
"[The Villain life] is delicious. It's spicy. The two iterations of her that I’ve had the chance to play, and this new version I may get to mess around with again, of those, the villain version is the most fun. Because, as I’ve said, she’s free, and that freedom is fun to play with," Richards said.
That freedom grows when she's out of the coma, and wakes to find Theo Galavan is dead, and his grip on the city and her is gone. However, that additional freedom might not be so good for Barbara.
"For her, it’s a little scary because she doesn’t have that bit of power she can feed off of. She doesn’t have that stability she can use," the actress said. "But at the same time, she’s less constricted by somebody else’s vision for her."
So does that mean she has her own plans now? A laugh, a sigh, and that eyebrow raise came back as Richards said, "I can't give it away!" She teased as vaguely as humanly possible, "She's got things she has to do."
Gotham returns to FOX on Monday, February 29, 2016 at 8pm. The second half of season two has been dubbed "Wrath of the Villains" after the first half's "Rise of the Villains," so it's possible Barbara may have some revenge "things she has to do."