6:00pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Gotham' Boss on Season 2 Transformations: It Changes the Energy of the Show
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Gotham's season-two premiere.]
Newcomer Theo Galavan (James Frain) unveiled his grand plans for Gotham during Monday's season-two premiere of Fox's Gotham. During the premiere, the new arrival revealed that he's planning to use the former Arkham inmates he broke out of jail — including both future Joker Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) and Jim Gordon's former fiancee Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) — to do it.
For showrunner Bruno Heller, the combination of Galavan's theatrical nature and the literal insanity of his new minions is going to change the energy of the city — and the show — for the better.
"The combination of lightness and darkness is particular hard to hit, but it's where these stories have to live — the combination of grand Guignol horror and comedy," he told THR about the new gang of bad guys, who will become known as the Maniax. "It'd be wrong to turn Gotham into an exclusively comic world, or an exclusively horrific world. It's that place where both exist, where you can switch from outrageous comedy to outrageous scariness, that's where this show lives. The fact that Batman can both be Adam West and Christian Bale is the essence of what the character is about. Like all mythological characters, he contains a multitude of worlds."
While it's not surprising that Jerome finds murder and mayhem as amusing as he does, the new attitude shown by Barbara might come as a surprise to viewers who remember her as the restrained, permanently concerned figure of the show's earliest episodes.
"Erin did such a brilliant job with the transformation [at the end of the show's first season, where she killed her parents and turned on Gordon's new girlfriend, Leslie Thompkins] that, once we saw what she could do with it, we really wrapped our hands around it," Heller said. "I think people are going to love her transformation, partly because the seeds were always there, even in the first episodes of the show."
What's happening to Barbara is in keeping with what Gotham is all about, he went on.
"This world is about transformation, whether by fate or accident or whatever," he argued, "so Barbara's transformation, which would in a traditional drama come across as insane, in this world makes perfect sense. Everyone in the show is in the process of becoming someone else. Bruce Wayne, Jerome, Penguin — they're all on journeys that will transform them into monsters, saints or something in between."
All of this means that the audience shouldn't get too used to any status quo set up in Monday's opener. "These are origin stories; no one stays the same in this world," Heller teased. "Even the world keeps changing all around them."
Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.