[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Gotham ahead.]
It's been a pretty tumultuous existence for Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) since his introduction as new GCPD captain back in season 2 of FOX's Gotham, as the trailer for next week's episode reminds us. Initially seeming like nothing more than the usual ultra by-the-book, prone to shouting boss seen in many police-centered stories, Barnes slowly unveiled additional layers to himself, bonding personally with Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) over their shared commitment to upholding the law.
Unfortunately, Gordon's knack for finding himself on the wrong side of that law - often due to frame-up plots by Gotham's various villains - has led to multiple clashes with Barnes, a sometimes surrogate father figure to the younger detective. Barnes usually retains his respect for Gordon as a man, but he believes favorites can't be played with the law; so whenever Gordon is wanted for something, Barnes feels compelled to bring him in first and ask questions later. Naturally, this doesn't usually sit well with Jim, or his pals like Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).
This tension between Gordon and Barnes truly reached a boiling point earlier in season 3, when Barnes' ability to control the influence of Alice Tetch's virus over his mind deteriorated completely, leading the formerly good man to begin extracting his own brand of deadly justice from Gotham's accused criminals. Barnes was of course eventually apprehended by Gordon and the GCPD, and sent to Arkham Asylum, where he spends his days yelling "guilty" over and over again. Now under the direction of The Court of Owls, a newly liberated Barnes has fully transformed into new villain The Executioner, with Gordon as his intended prey. Check him out in action in the above trailer.
Titled "All Will Be Judged", Gotham's latest episode looks to primarily focus on The Executioner's pursuit of Gordon, although there will also clearly be more development in the Bruce Wayne/Shaman storyline as well. With only four episodes left in season 3, things seem to be building toward their ultimate climax, at least until the recently-ordered Gotham season 4 debuts this fall.
While Gordon chose to take Barnes in alive last time - despite the latter's repeated attempts to kill him - one wonders what Jim might do when confronted with a similar situation this time. As The Executioner, Barnes is more dangerous than ever, and likely can't be reasoned with. Were Barnes to target someone Gordon cares about in an attempt to draw him into battle, it's not hard to imagine Gordon employing more lethal means against his former friend and mentor.
Gotham continues next Monday with ‘All Will Be Judged’ at 8pm on FOX.