We finish Mav‘s request with the Nolan Trilogy, and with the best film of it, The Dark Knight. In the movie, on his vengeful quest, Two-Face threatens to kill Commissioner Gordon‘s son to make him feel the same way he did when his beloved Rachel Dawes died. The boy is James Gordon, Jr., portrayed by Nathan Gamble. In the film, he’s saved from Two-Face, but after the episode his mother divorces his father and he moves away from Gotham City (most likely for the best). In the comics, he sticks around and grows up… becoming a dangerous psychopath, more similar to the guys his dad usually hunts for rather than to his father. Let’s see together.
When James Gordon and his wife Barbara moved from Chicago to Gotham City, the woman was pregnant with their first child. Barbara gave birth to a boy, James Jr., who learnt to know the true nature of Gotham since his cradle: when he was an infant, in fact, mob boss Carmine Falcone, threatened by Gordon, sent one of his hitmen, Johnny Viti, to kidnap him and use him as leverage against his father. Baby Jimmy was eventually thrown off Gotham Bridge during the pursuit of Viti, and was saved only by the quick intervention of Batman, who caught him in midair. It was probably from that moment, starting with that shock and damage, that something dark began growing inside Jimmy. As a child, he tortured, maimed and killed animals as a hobby, without the slightest empathy for the poor beasts. During a family vacation, a friend of Barbara‘s, a girl named Bess Keller, made the mistake of mocking him: she was never seen again. Albeit Barbara swore that she saw her adoptive brother wearing Bess’ key chain, James’ involvement in the disappearance was never proved. Commissioner Gordon and his wife had a difficult marriage, and Jimmy’s odd behavior and antisocial tendencies contributed to drift them apart even more, to the point of divorce. Again, he didn’t feel absolutely anything when the two parted ways. As a young man, he decided to leave Gotham to see the world, and traveled the country for a while. During his peregrination, James Gordon, Jr. completed his personal path into becoming a serial killer, and arrived to the conclusion that empathy itself was a weakness he had to purge the world, or at least his home city, from. He came back to Gotham with one goal: to punish, destroy and expose the two weakest men of the city, Batman and his own father, and to start a new era of psychopaths.
He started stalking Commissioner Gordon, until he confronted him in a cafeteria: during their first meeting, Jimmy did his best to convince his father that he wanted to change, and even showed him the meds he was taking to suppress his psychopathic impulses (he had actually reversed the formula, so that they suppressed even what little empathy he still felt for some people, namely his family). He even asked for his support in obtaining a job in Leslie Thompkins‘ clinic, as he wanted to help other people who, like him, suffered from antisocial tendencies. Gordon desperately wanted to believe him: after finding in his old cases archive another killer who could have been responsible for Bess Keller’s murder, he decided to try and let Jimmy work with Leslie, albeit Barbara warned him not to trust his son. Just to be sure, despite Leslie assured him that Jimmy was doing a great job, Gordon had his son’s drugs examined by his daughter, and found out the truth… but it was too late already, as Jimmy’s plan had been set in motion. In order to divert attention, Jimmy enlisted the help of the Dealer, and orchestrated the evasion of The Joker from Arkham Asylum. While Joker attacked Barbara Kean with his Joker Toxin, Jimmy took advantage of the commotion to kidnap his sister, gaining a leverage. He even tried to share his vision with his sister, but as he told her that he wanted to taint a baby food production line with the drugs of his own design to make everyone a psychopath like himself, Barbara remarked that he wasn’t different from the dozens of loony murderers roaming in Gotham… an offense that Jimmy slightly punished by stabbing her in a leg, wounding her femoral artery. Jimmy was sure that he had already bested even Batman, since, as he revealed, he had successfully deduced his secret identity, and was ready to destroy everything he believed him… but albeit ready to trust people, Batman was always suspicious, and had already planted a tracking device on James Jr. when he was playing the good boy working for Leslie. The Dark Knight found him, and as Barbara stabbed her own brother in the eye and freed herself, Commissioner Gordon prevented his son from escaping and committing suicide from the same bridge he had been thrown off as a baby by shooting at his legs. As he was brought to Arkham, though, Jimmy was smiling, as his drugs had already been released in the baby food…
James Gordon Jr. is a highly intelligent and highly efficient psychopath, a man with a genius level intellect who however doesn’t feel the slightest connection to other human beings, and is incapable of feeling any empathy. He’s proficient in physical combat and is a master planner, and he apparently masters notions of biochemistry and neurology, as he’s been able to create a formula to increase psychopathic tendencies in people’s brain. The fact that he cannot feel emotions doesn’t make James Gordon Jr. unable to understand them, quite the opposite: he understands the love that his father still feels for him, and is ready and willing to exploit it at his own advantage, in the most painful and manipulative way he can think of.