The Batman Review: A Fistful of Felt (S3E04)

(DISCLAIMER: The author of this blog owns none of the properties depicted below. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise.)

Original Airdate: October 8, 2005
Writer: Steven Melching
Director:
 Anthony Chun

So here we are – The Batman‘s second attempt at a reformation story, and its last Ventriloquist episode. Much as I love him/them, I have to admit that’s probably for the best, since there’s really only two stories you can do with the Ventriloquist: the debut (which may or may not double as an origin) and the rehabilitation attempt.

This is an accusation more commonly leveled at Two-Face, and while I disagree in that case, I can’t deny that Arnold Wesker is in many ways a poor man’s Harvey Dent. Like Harvey, he’s a fundamentally good man plagued by an evil split-personality, but there’s no rise-and-fall arc, and far less complexity. Arnold and Scarface have nothing in common – to the point of using different names and different bodies – so their story is less “man confronts his darker side, compromises with it through random chance” and more “man gets pushed around by douchebag he just happens to share a brain with”.

And that’s when Scarface isn’t being portrayed as a literal demon possessing poor Arnold.

ScarfaceDemon

Long story short, Ventriloquist reform stories tend to go through the same beats no matter who writes them – you read one, you’ve read ’em all. That Other Show’s take stands out with a somewhat unconventional ending, but that’s about it. Let’s see whether The Batman can rise to the occasion.

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The Batman Review: Strange Minds (S2E10)

(DISCLAIMER: The author of this blog owns none of the properties depicted below. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise.)

Original Airdate: September 3, 2005
Writer: Greg Weisman
Director:
 Brandon Vietti

Good evening, mhm, scholars and faithful readers. Dr. Hugo Strange, PhD, speaking.

I am rather pleased to report that the owner and operator of this blog has been reacting, mm, quite well to Arkham Asylum’s latest psychotherapy techniques. Why, at this point, I am reasonably certain he will be fit to rejoin respectable society within as little as two years.

RL Straightjacket
“There are five lights! FIVE LIGHTS!”

Such are the wonders of isolation, electroshock, and their ilk, mm?

Mr. Lotus, however, remains stubbornly insistent on returning to the dreadful little reviews that keep this blog afloat, which no doubt stem from some narcissistic delusion that he is somehow irreplaceable. The Batman‘s one reviewer and champion in this day and age, he’d like to believe. Utter rubbish, of course, and the purpose of this review is to prove it so that I may break his spirit for once and all time complete his treatment and further his recovery. Anyone may review an episode of a cartoon as forgotten as this one, and better, I daresay.

Ah, I see that some of you are already prepared to bombard me with accusations of narcissism equal to or even greater than Mr. Lotus’s, for does this episode not mark my “true” debut on The Batman? Not at all, I contend – that moment is quite far off, and today’s episode largely focuses on the psyche of another of Gotham’s inhabitants. You may have heard of him from some little gossip rag or another.

Joker Delivery

The inner workings of Joker’s mind have been an endless source of fascination to amateurs and professionals around the globe, and the theories, I daresay, are as numerous as the graves he’s filled. Aheh.

In terms of motivation alone, it has been theorized that he was once an ordinary, law-abiding soul, driven to become one of society’s greatest monsters by a tragedy that was largely out of his control; that he was an unrepentant albeit mundane monster inspired to deeper depravity by his first encounter with Batman; that he is in fact perfectly aware of what he is doing and only uses the veneer of insanity to steer himself away from the electric chair; that his mental abnormalities are in fact a kind of “super-sanity” which mocks the very idea of a single consciousness, sane or otherwise. Even my considerable intellect has not solved this conundrum, though I admit that the one opportunity I had to interview him in person was hampered by rather… disagreeable circumstances.

(The man also happens to be an inveterate liar. But that is neither here nor there.)

Hrm. That’s quite enough with the preliminaries. Let us see whether this cartoon, brought to us by perhaps the only writer on this program who even attempted any intellectual sophistication, might shed some light after…

FOX Gotham
“Dr. Strange? I’m looking for a Dr. Strange?”

Who dares… I mean, yes? How may I help you?

FOX Gotham
“Hi, I’m from FOX, and we’re looking to shoehorn feature as many of Batman’s enemies as possible in our second season. Tell me, how do you feel about B.D. Wong?

Ah, say no more. There can be only one logical reply to a situation like this.

Hugo Strange
“When do I begin?”

                                                   

RL Straightjacket
“Wait, what?! Where are you going?!”

                                                 

Hugo Strange
“Please. Surely you did not think I would be content to function as a second-rate Horned King, for a third-rate blog that cannot even keep to a schedule?”

                                                                   

RL Straightjacket
“B-B-But-“

                                                             

Hugo Strange
“Farewell and best of luck, Mr. Lotus. Oh, and do read a book on how to convincingly wear  a straitjacket one day.”

No, wait, you were supposed to be my big comeback! The start of an epic metaplot that would’ve left Unshaved Mouse in the dust! Don’t… leave… me…

Goddammit.

Aw, what the hell. Just start the episode.

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The Batman Review: Meltdown (S2E06)

(DISCLAIMER: The author of this blog owns none of the properties depicted below. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise.)

Original Airdate: June 25, 2005
Writer: Greg Weisman
Director:
 Seung Eun Kim

And here we arrive at Season 2’s first indisputable masterpiece, which unfortunately has to stand in the shadow of a certain other Batman episode with the exact same title, not to mention similar themes. But honest to God, I think today’s episode may actually be a contender, if not outright superior, thanks to that fellow whose name comes after the Writer tag up there.

Greg Weisman is back, people, and he’s here to kick ass, take names, and sweep the Emmys. Tell us, Sir – what is your secret?

Greg Weisman
“Uh, I treat the viewership like they’ve got more than one brain cell to rub at any given time?”

Oh, Greg. You and your wacko radical theories. Good thing you’re handling the one villain this show allows a modicum of maturity and nuance, else we’d have to put you in the funbox!

Anyways, this is the first time The Batman‘s taken a stab at a villain reformation episode – something That Other Show absolutely loved, especially during its The Adventures of Batman & Robin season. How will the more simplistic, black-and-white world of The Batman handle the same theme? Let’s find out.

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