WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Gotham, "One Bad Day."
Tonight's episode of Gotham looked to adapt part of the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland graphic novel classic, Batman: The Killing Joke, for the small screen. Over the years, the 1988 comic book has become one of the most celebrated and important in the DC Comics library. Why? Because it gave a possible origin story for Batman's nemesis, the Joker, and it dove right into the very complicated relationship between both characters, the dichotomy that separates them and the similitudes that bind them together.
Such a seminal story was bound to be adapted for Gotham in one form or another, and tonight, in "One Bad Day," the Batman origin series gave us exactly that. Of course, the series being its own entity, there would be some liberties taken with the story. But the episode, in and of itself, managed to touch on the big points of The Killing Joke -- not least of which being its most shocking moment.
One of the most controversial scenes of Batman: The Killing Joke starts with a knock at Barbara Gordon's (aka Batgirl) apartment door. When Barbara opens the door, she finds the Joker as an unwanted guest. The villain proceeds to shoot her in the stomach at point blank range. It is a gruesome act that ranks among the Joker's worst. The shot does not kill Barbara, but the bullet shatters her spine and paralyzes her from the waist down. Heinous and devastating, this shooting is one that still manages to send shockwaves through the current DC Comics continuity.
And, in one of its most shocking moments yet, Gotham managed to bring this very scene to life -- with a twist. Near the end of the episode, Bruce and Selina find themselves back at Wayne Mansion, only now recovering from the events that nearly cost Bruce and Alfred their lives. They spend a rare quiet moment that ends with the two of them sharing a kiss, but are interrupted by Jeremiah Valeska, the series' answer to the Joker, who has sauntered into the room. He may not have knocked, but he still manages to walk into a place where he isn't welcome. And, gun in hand, he points it straight at Selina's stomach... and he shoots.
The sounds start to fade all around as Selina collapses, covered in blood. Bruce's cries can't be heard, but they still manage to leave us reeling. The episode ends with this brutal act, as we are left to question the outcome of the shooting. As comics fans, we know that the comic book version of the scene leaves Barbara paralyzed, and we can't help but wonder if a similar fate awaits Selina. It's a good thing the next episode is seven days away, because that's about the time we'll need to recover from this horrific turn of events.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.