The rise of queen Barbara Kean started with a mystery and it ended with a mystery on this week’s Gotham. The ambitious crime boss (and night club owner) is no longer the leader of the League of Shadows; she’s back to her old position, but now with a loyal army of assassins in tow. Ra’s al Ghul literally came back from the dead to steal the power from her to lead again. Why he gave it to her in the first place? No clue. Why the painting looked exactly like Barbara? No real answer. All mysteries that may never be solved in the end.
The one common thread that connected Barbara’s storyline was that Ra’s al Ghul chose her to be the one to reunite and lead the League of Shadows. One of the problems she had to overcome was that she had the female assassins on her side, but the men were not willing to follow her. In addition to that, she wanted to use her limited magical powers to control Gotham City through crime.
When the male assassins brought Ra’s al Ghul back to life, there was an assumption that he would reveal why he chose Barbara of all people to carry the Demon’s Head and lead. All we got instead was a half-hearted question if she had re-established the assassins. He seemed pretty upset, even though we as viewers didn’t get any context to his masterful plan. We couldn’t relate to the zombie man because we didn’t know WHY he was angry in the first place.
The same could be said about the painting on the wall. Ra’s tried to dismiss the image as a “whore he showed mercy to by killing” and laughed at the idea that the woman looked like Barbara. But, can we all agree it looked like her? Like, EXACTLY LIKE HER?! Barbara isn’t an idiot. She may be psychotic and ambitious, but she isn’t a fool. There had to have been a reason why Ra’s al Ghul gave her the power; with no explanation, the result could only be that Gotham didn’t have an answer.
Gotham laid the pieces for a twist they couldn’t deliver on. Barbara got her tiny victory, but all these “coincidences” couldn’t have been just a coincidence, especially when she finally accessed the premonition powers of the Demon’s Head. She was a true heir to be able to do that.
Speaking of the power, choosing Tabitha over the Demon’s Head was an honorable move by her. Picking a friend over ultimate power and glory was a tough call for someone like Barbara – it’s all she’s ever wanted since turning evil. This moment of true friendship solidified any tension between these two allies and frenemies. Regardless of future fights, they’ll also have the moment where Barbara gave up an army for Tabitha. (Side-note: Tabitha’s death scene lost all shock value when it came after Barbara’s death vision. The murders were clearly visions since they were so close together.)
The uneasy partnership between Barbara/Tabitha/Selina and Bruce/Alfred needs to happen again. Everything about their untrustworthy alliance was so much fun to watch. Each member knew that they couldn’t trust the other’s motives, but they gave it a shot to get the sword and stop Ra’s. Barbara obviously wasn’t going to honor any deal (it’s not true to her character development), but Selina came out looking like the best character. The future cat burglar played the middle ground to appease both sides without destroying any relationships; walking away from Barbara before fighting may have caused some tension, but Selina ended up positive on both sides.
Her relationship with Bruce also got a nice boost; he’s still into her and she’s clearly into him. If Ra’s had not interrupted their moment, we would’ve had the cat and the bat ignite a potential relationship. (We welcome any Batman plots!) And seeing her welcomed into Bruce’s inner circle to hear Ra’s premonition was a good start to trusting each other again.
Should Riddler trust Lee? The question kept being brought up so much during their bank heists and interactions together that it left us wondering. Penguin and Butch were adamant that Lee was using Edward’s admiration for her, and in a way, they were right – she was manipulating to an extent. Even though Riddler sided with Lee this time by locking Penguin and Butch in the vault, we shouldn’t dismiss this topic. Lee knows exactly what she’s doing; that evil toxin heightened her plotting and cunning traits. Out of all the villains on Gotham, she’s the only one who’s manipulating relationships to get exactly what she wants. Could it all be a lie?
“A Dark Knight: To Our Deaths and Beyond” delivered a fine conclusion to Barbara’s storyline with the League of Shadows. We didn’t get a lot of answers, but the pieces were placed for the bigger event to come and a popular villain returned. How will the big cataclysmic fire happen in Gotham City? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, but we can’t wait to see the drama start.