SPOILERS Ahead for "Tonight's the Night" episode of Gotham that aired November 9, 2015!
Barbara Kean had a grand old time tonight on Gotham... until of course she didn't. While she really fell for Jim Gordon again, it's clear that Barbara's journey isn't over. In fact, actress Erin Richards told ComicBook.com in a phone interview, her story is now at a place that can go in any direction.
"I think she's fixed!" Richards told me with a laugh when I asked if she's broken and can be fixed now. "I think she's in her most elemental form. I think this is true Barbara, and everything else was layers." That means that "Stabby Babs" as Richards refers to her crazier side, and the softer, vulnerable Barbara are both one in the same, and support each other.
"I played the whole thing just as truth, as true as I could. That’s what she’s living," she said of the huge variety of emotions and moments. After all, Barbara went from laughing and scheming to hurt and crying, from trying to kill Jim to apologizing to him. "Crazy people don’t think that they’re crazy, they’re just in their own world, and everything in their world is truth. The pain that she feels, and her love for Jim, it’s all completely real, and that’s what I kept coming back to."
That, Richards said, felt like Barbara Kean's reality, and it was "much sadder, and deeper, and crazier" than just playing things in a stereotypically crazy manner. "She is a woman that has kind of been reborn, and is living in this new world where she’s completely free within her darkness. She is hurt when he says he doesn’t love her, and she does have fun when she ties him up and does that stuff to him, too. It’s all truth."
All of these moments, both the crazy and calm, the loving and the lascivious, allow her a sense of freedom - and that's something she actually tells herself to embrace when she gets to set. When asked about the scene where she has Jim and Lee tied up, and her almost playful nature with them both, Richards said it was really spur of the moment.
"I try not to make any decisions before going into the room. Most of the time, if you make decisions and you can’t do them, you feel restricted or disappointed. So I just learn the lines, and I have a very clear sense of my intentions as the character, but I don’t pre-plot any physical stuff or ways I might specifically say things," she said. "My intention in that scene was just to mess with their heads as much as possible, which is a wonderful, freeing note to give myself (laughs). Just go out there and have fun with it!"
As for where Barbara goes next, well, after she goes to the hospital and recovers from that big fall, Richards said there's basically every possibility on the table, which makes it even more of fun for her.
"I think she can go from here either more into the darkness, bigger with it, or if she wants to, she can decide to be better, or whatever she wants to be. I think that we’re seeing her in her truest, rawest form right now, which means she has the potential to be anything from here," she teased.
"That’s why it’s such a joy to play Barbara, because she’s just completely in the moment at all times, and open to any play she can have, any fun she can have."