Gotham season 3 wraps up next week with a double-length season finale that promises to bring together every faction in the city for one epic, villainous, battle royale. It’s building up to be an amazing finale, with plenty of major questions to be answered. Who will make it out of this massive, multi-faction battle? How will Gordon come back from the virus? Will Bruce manage to shake off his brainwashing? Will the city be saved?
In addition to all of that, there are also a couple of new faces coming to the show – faces that will be very familiar to fans of the comics. Ra’s Al Ghul has been confirmed as appearing, presumably as the man behind the monks that brainwashed Bruce, and will be played by Alexander Siddig. Harley Quinn will also finally be revealed, after much speculation over the character’s inclusion on Gotham… but it’s still not clear who, exactly, will become the clown princess of crime.
In This Corner: Barbara Kean
The most likely Harley is Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), a character who has spent the past three seasons evolving into a crazy criminal trying to take over Gotham. Ever since she first started to go off the rails thanks to the serial killer she fell in love with, Barbara has been tipped as a future Harley.
It makes a whole lot of sense – she’s physically similar to Harley (blonde-haired, pale-skinned, loves to dress up), completely insane (she’s even done a stint at Arkham), and a criminal who takes great joy in her crimes. She’s connected to the ‘Joker’ of the show, Jerome (Cameron Monaghan), although their relationship is very different to Harley and Joker in the comics. More tellingly, she runs a bar named ‘Sirens’ and has connections to both Poison Ivy (Maggie Geha) and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova). She’s also bisexual (as Harley is in the comics), and her story has been one of obsessive love that drove her completely mad. And just to top it all off, Barbara has also called herself the ‘Queen’ of Gotham, and used ‘Barbara Queen’ as a variation of her name – one that could further morph into Barbara Quinn.
The Underdog: Leslie Thompkins
The second most likely possibility is one that has only come to light in the past few episodes – that it could be Leslie Thompkins, a.k.a. Lee (Morena Baccarin) that takes up the Harley name. Like Barbara, Lee’s story is one of love and loss that has driven her past her breaking point. Her love of Jim, and then the death of her fiancé, made her a tragic character… until Tetch (Benedict Samuel) managed to convince her that it was her love for Jim that was the cause of everything that went wrong in her life. As a result, she injected herself with the Tetch virus, and debuted as a darker, less sane Lee in the last episode.
Like Harley, she is also a doctor, and even dealt with Jerome when the GCPD first encountered him. She hasn’t had the same long descent into villainy that Barbara has, and there is no sign of her being bisexual or closely linked to the other sirens, but she’s still a solid candidate for the role since she threw off the shackles of sanity. And her name, shortened to Lee, is also an easy one to develop into Har-lee…
A Third Possibility
Of course, Barbara and Leslie aren’t the only candidates for Gotham‘s Harley Quinn, although they are the most likely. The show is likely to develop an existing character into Harley, in the same way that it has created the Riddler, the Penguin, and many of the other Batman villains over the past three years. However, this could also be a street kid who knew Selina and Ivy, and who was affected by the experiments at Indian Hill. Jeri (Lori Petty) certainly has a Harley-esque look, and is a clear nod to either the Joker or his girlfriend. However, Jeri has only had a minor role in the show so far, so her return as Harley would seem a little out of place. Similarly, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is in the running, as an increasingly insane crime boss who has recently reappeared, but she lacks the lightness that Harley Quinn is known for.
Finally, it could be one of the Joker’s followers, who have been teased several times but still not brought fully into the spotlight. Jerome himself is languishing at Arkham, so there’s always the possibility that a totally new character has been treating him there, and the pair are about to burst onto the scene in the finale.
Out of the options for Harley Quinn, Barbara still seems like the most likely candidate, even though this would be a huge departure from the stories of both Harley and Barbara in the comics. However, the show is known for creating new origin stories for familiar names, so this would be in line with the other villains of Gotham. Richards herself has also confirmed that there have been talks about Barbara/Harley, although she has refused to say whether this long-speculated evolution will actually happen.
Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait too long to find out, though. The Gotham season finale airs June 5th, and brings with it some big reveals and a big step forward for Bruce in his journey to becoming Batman. Including Harley is certainly going to be a fascinating part of the finale, especially as Jerome’s ‘Joker’ has been put on the back burner recently, but since Harley has been stepping out on her own in the comics, it could be the perfect time to show this amazing villain as her own person – without the Joker at her side.