My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 71-75! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.
71. The Terrible Trio: Batman and Robin let the Terrible Trio, a new group of thieves, slip through their fingers. The Trio is revealed to be three wealthy frat boys who decide to rob their leader, Fox’s girlfriend’s father, which helps Batman track them down to their ski resort where he takes them down. After a frustrating battle with my dvd, I resorted to other sources to find this episode and am working to remedy the fact that only half of my disc plays. And all that frustration wasn’t worth it. This is by far my least favorite episode in the entire series. It lacks any mystery since it gives away who the villains are immediately, and has no excitement, drama, or intrigue. The Terrible Trio are probably the most awful villains in the series, they aren’t crazy or desperate or fun. They’re just terrible people. Part of what I despise so much about these guys is that they’re actually realistic, and it’s not the realism that bothers me, it’s that there are people who exist that are like them. Selfish, spoiled, holier-than-thou jack asses who think they are entitled to everything. The Joker might be a murderer but he’s more sympathetic than these asshats. I wanted Batman to smash Fox in his stupid face the entire episode, but alas that didn’t even happen. There’s nothing positive to say about this episode beyond that Robin had one funny line about piloting the Bat-wing with a broken arm. Overall, a terrible story with terrible characters that should just leave this episode ignored. Rating: F
72. Harlequinade: The Joker is holding Gotham for ransom with an atomic bomb, so Batman enlists the help of Harley Quinn in order to find him, and with the help of her and Robin, Batman is able to save Gotham! The Harley-centric episode is hilarious and dark with just the right amount of silly. Paul Dini writes the hell out of this girl and Arleen Sorkin is probably the best cast voice in the entire series, she defines Harley Quinn. The episode is all very funny, but there are some laugh out loud funny parts that I really enjoyed! We get to see everything that makes Harley great in this episode. She’s funny and goofy yet dangerous, she’s dim yet clever, and she’s the hopelessly in love basket case obsessed with her Puddin’. We explore more about Harley’s origin in this episode, where they discuss her origin as a doctor who fell for the Joker and we see more of the Harley/Joker dynamic which is just spot on. These are two absolutely insane people who are over the top ridiculous. They go from hot to cold and back again, and the Joker can just manipulate her so easily, it’s actually a little heartbreaking sometimes. Robin was actually a great addition to the episode, as he was both helpful and witty, and while yet again he is tied up, he isn’t in need of rescuing and actually rescues a tied up Batman. The plot with Batman using Harley to help find the Joker was great and clever! The Joker with an atom bomb? Meh, not all that interesting since it’s too dangerous to be taken seriously and a little out of character. Overall, a really fun episode for fans of Batman, the Joker, and especially Harley Quinn! Rating: B
73. Time Out of Joint: The Clock King returns to exact his revenge on Mayor Hill, now equipped with a time control device! Batman and Robin try to protect the Mayor, but the Clock King is able to slip by them. While investigating the inventor of this technology, the Dynamic Duo is trapped in the Batmobile for two days because of the time acceleration device. They eventually are able to prevent the bomb the Clock King set from harming anyone by using the same time accelerating devices against their foe. This episode is yet another that I remember from my childhood, so there’s some nostalgia goggles attached to this one. The original Clock King episode was interesting because the Clock King was such a dangerous opponent, which he was in this episode, but both times his plan and motivations are just a little silly. I did like that they brought time-control into the Clock King’s character, but the physics behind it just seems really off. But then agian, this is a cartoon, and I am not a scientist. The episode definitely has some great moments. Robin was a nice addition, with some funny/cheesy one-liners. Time-boosted Batman and Robin was pretty cool, especially when Batman was running with the exploding bomb. The animation was pretty good with the time warping stuff, but Robin was distinctly miscolored in one scene which was distracting. Overall, the episode is fun but nothing special. Rating:C
74. Catwalk: Selina Kyle recaps her history as Catwoman while at a charity gala hosted by Veronica Vreeland, whom Selina insults. After confessing to Bruce Wayne that she misses her life as Catwoman, Selina accepts an offer from the Ventriloquist and Scarface to rob the museum of priceless jewels while getting revenge on the Vreeland family for their past as animal poachers. But while robbing the museum, Scarface double crosses her, sending Catwoman on a quest for revenge. After tricking Batman, Catwoman confronts Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and Selina eventually resumes her lonely path as the free-spirited Catwoman. Definitely the best Catwoman episode we’ve had so far! The episode is pretty good, full of witty dialogue and one liners and a much more interesting Catwoman. Dini does a good job with all the characterization, and I’m glad we see the return of the Ventriloquist and Scarface, who are always a lot of fun. In this series, I’ve enjoyed Catwoman but disliked Selina Kyle. The animal-activist thing is just not clicking, but the direction they took here with Selina’s burning need to be free and do what she pleases is infinitely more interesting and makes her more likable. I’m guessing there was some issue about having Batman love a bad-guy, which is why she turned out the way she did. Catwoman and Batman’s relationship is so much more fun in this episode too, because they finally have that push and pull. As Catwoman famously says, “I don’t know whether to bite you or kiss you.” And I think that perfectly sums up their dynamic. The plot itself with the double cross and the character building of Catwoman is all very good, but there was just something to be desired with the level of mystery and drama. I did actually laugh out loud when Selina laughs and mocks Scarface when she first meets him. They are a very unlikely team. The animation was really good, I thought the character movements and faces were all well drawn, and they did a great job with Batman’s cape. Women’s faces in particular are sometimes animated funny in this show (Barbara Gordon) but this episode did awesome work with Catwoman! Overall, a pretty good episode that finally gives Catwoman the credit she deserves. Rating: B
75. Bane: Rupert Thorne hires the mysterious masked assassin known only as Bane to kill the Batman. When studying Batman and Robin while they hunt down Killer Croc, Bane destroys the Batmobile and hands them a defeated Croc on a platter. Batman interrogates Killer Croc, investigates the legendary Bane, and traces it all back to Thorne. Bane captures Robin and holds him hostage while he faces off against Batman in combat. Batman is able to defeat Bane, and rat out Thorne’s secretary, Candice’s plan to betray her employer. Enter: Bane! This is another childhood favorite episode, as the chemically-charged Bane is a pretty cool character. I’ve never read Knightfall so I don’t know how closely they adapted it, but I know it’s supposed to be a watered down version of that story. I thought the whole episode was great, it had a strong villain with a motive, and a mystery, and a physical challenge for Batman. I loved that they kept Bane as the calculating foe that he’s supposed to be and didn’t dumb him down. I thought the inclusion of Killer Croc was a great element to the story. I really liked the episode, and while I really like when they use recurring characters like Thorne and Candice, I would’ve preferred the episode to focus solely on Bane. All the stuff with Thorne was boring. What was cool about this episode? The strange masked man with the plan and power to break the Batman! Another complaint that I keep coming back to is Robin. I love Dick Grayson, and I do really enjoy when he’s on the show, but I feel like the writers never know what to do with him. Because, yet again, we have Robin the Boy Hostage. Dick is chained up shirtless and nearly drowned. Poor guy can’t catch a break. Unfortunately, I think this is an episode that didn’t really need much Robin. I thought the animation was pretty good too, I didn’t really notice anything glaringly bad but it wasn’t stand out impressive like Catwalk. Overall, a great inclusion of the character Bane that challenged Batman physically and mentally just as Bane should, but the episode definitely felt a little bit watered down. Rating: B