Not since the Joker and Harley Quinn has Gotham City seen a not-quite couple so villainous and yet so ‘ship-worthy as Butch Gilzean and Tabitha Galavan. But can these two crazy, murderous kids ever find true love together?
With “Gotham’s” final Season 3 arc underway, questions linger as to whether two of the pre-Batman-set series’ original creations — the loyal-to-a-fault mob henchman, and the whip-cracking Catwoman prototype — share a bond deep enough to qualify as love. Actors Drew Powell and Jessica Lucas recently joined the press for a peek at the Butch/Tabby almost-romance, and whether it actually might have a future,
On what’s ahead for them and where their loyalties lie:
Drew Powell: Whoever he’s with is probably going to win. That’s been the case of late, until they don’t. I think the back half of this season is all about Butch and Tabitha. For Butch, it’s about Tabitha. He’s head over heels in love with this girl, for better or for worse, and he’s trying to convince her that Barbara’s no good for her, Barbara doesn’t care about her, and that Barbara doesn’t deserve her loyalty. So it’ll be this evolution of him trying to explain that to her. Hopefully for her sake, she figures it out before it’s too late.
Jessica Lucas: She’s still furious at Nygma for cutting off her hand. As the alliance between Nygma and Barbara grows, I think it makes her more and more furious as time goes on. You’re going to see her really pushed, and really, really upset, and that’s going to keep growing and growing, and the tension between her and Barbara is going to keep growing and growing, and eventually will have to play out in some way, come to a head in some way.
On whether the fractures in their Barbara Kean relationship will prompt either Butch or Tabitha to make their own play for the top spot:
Lucas: I don’t think so. Not right now. She wasn’t raised that way. Coming from the Galavan family, she’s used to loyalty. She’s the protector, right? She’s a bodyguard of sorts. So I don’t think she has as much desire for power as a lot of the other villains do – which is interesting, because most of them are vying for the throne, but she doesn’t really care about that. She’s too reverent to care about that.
She’s smart enough to know that alliances are important. You don’t want to piss off the wrong people. She’s a bit more of a snake in the grass that way… I think we could both teach Barbara some things. Barbara’s a little bit too self-involved at the moment to be too concerned about helping anyone else. I think by the end of the season, Tabitha will be in a really vulnerable place. So she’s needing to start again. That’s sort of where that alliance comes from, or how it starts to form.
Powell: Here’s the thing: Butch had a moment at top in Season 2, and he didn’t like it. The whole point of Butch is, he’s a survivor. He grew up in Gotham, he knows the nooks and crannies, he knows all the buttons to push, he knows the dark corners, and he knows enough to know that if you’re on top, there’s a much greater chance that you’re going to get knocked down.
I think that’s one of the cool things about he and Tabitha and their bond, is that she’s kind of the same way. She always works better as an off-sider, as a second in command, because she can kind of work in the shadows and creep. So that connection between the two of them I thought was really neat, and great job on the writers’ part. So what I hope to see moving forward is to find out that backstory. Who is Butch really? Who is this guy? Where does he come from? What’s his story? He’s got this random nephew, Sonny. What’s he really about? I’m hopeful that’ll be the case going forward.
On the actual depth of Tabitha’s feelings for Butch:
Lucas: I don’t know that she knows what real love or intimacy really is… But loyalty is so important to her, so for Barbara to turn on her any way, or to be disloyal — that’s where her affection lies, so if that doesn’t exist, there is none. For Butch, I think that she has a lot of affection. He’s like a puppy dog. It’s an unrequited kind of love. I think she’s cares about him more than she lets on.
As Fish Mooney returns yet again, will she pose a challenge for Butch’s ties to Tabitha:
Powell: When she came back the first time – other than when he ran away when the ghost Fish showed up – there’s really no interaction between the two of them. [Now], there’s a scene that we shot that we’re all in. I feel like there’s this closure that’s needed. So we try to address that a little bit when she comes back this time. I think the fans will appreciate it. I would have liked to really get into that. But yeah, there’s this particular scene that I think people will dig.
On the joys of building characters without comic book backstories and fan expectations:
Powell: I took Bruno Heller at his word when he said early on, he’s like, “Look, this Butch character’s going to take time, and he’s going to grow, and people are going to underestimate him until it’s too late. There’s going to be a life here, you’re just going to have to trust me.”
It’s been fun because I’ve kind of known, particularly at the beginning, I knew what was coming, but fans didn’t. So they’re like, ‘This henchman…” Then to see them slowly — I see these Tweets, they’re like, “I don’t know if it’s weird, but I’m really starting to like Butch.” “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Butch it one of my favorite characters.” It’s like each one of those was like a fist bump for me, like, “Yes!”
I think Butch would be a great fit for the comics. I think he would be a great addition to any parts of the canon, because he’s written from that. There is this element of him. How is there not a Butch doll? He’s got the hand, he’s got the scar, he’s got the suits, he’s got the gun. How is there not a freaking Funko with a bazooka? I don’t get it. I do not get it! They’re missing the boat. Hopefully it’ll come.
Lucas: I very much modeled her after Catwoman, honestly, because I was told that she was the precursor to Catwoman and that there was going to be a mentorship there. So I wanted to take elements of that character, especially physically, so that when you looked at her, you thought, “Huh, kind of reminds me of Catwoman.”
But then everything else, as far as developing Tabitha Galavan, I just took things as they came. I’m really, really open to whatever the writers want to write and bring to it. I don’t feel as much of a responsibility as I think some of the other actors do to get these things right, these elements right from the comics. I don’t really have that feeling.