For its entirety, there have been two separate major plotlines that have been running through Batman Unburied. On the one hand you’ve had the psychological struggle of Bruce Wayne wrestling his personal demons through the lens of induced hallucination, and on the other you have the real world serial killer/heist plot. Initially, they were very closely linked narratively, with Professor Hugo Strange masterminding both with Cornelius Stirk as his puppet. A little more than half way through, however, that link was at least partially severed with Poison Ivy replacing Strange as the main antagonist. Now the final episode needs to conclude all these story threads in a way that ties everything together.
The episode begins with an unconscious Bruce dreaming that he’s speaking to his dead parents. It’s a scene that ties together nicely with the beginning of the show and offers some reflection on what his dream world really meant. Even in his fantasy world, he still couldn’t live up to the idealized expectations of what he thinks his parents would want. Winston Duke and Lance Reddick are once again at the top of their game as Bruce and Thomas Wayne giving what is essentially a two person monologue with one’s self. I really enjoy these explorations into what being Batman means to Bruce, and that’s partially why these sections have been the best parts of the entire podcast. It’s a shame that only about three and a half episodes were devoted to them.
Those early episodes had a lot of elements filled with potential that were brought back now at the end, but I wish had been present throughout the series. The radio broadcasts as a framing device were always a great idea, especially the “Gray Ghost Radio Hour.” The one that plays this episode where The Gray Ghost must fight “The Phrenologist” and his monster men, in addition to making fun of bizarre old timey science, acts as a nice callback to one of the first appearances of Hugo Strange in Batman #1.
Once back in the real world, Batman’s final confrontation with Poison Ivy is about as good as one could hope for given the circumstances. The events leading up to this point have been questionable, but with the motivations established, what we get is a dramatic scene that uses the characters’ desires to create meaningful conflict. Ivy holds all the cards at this point, and Batman needs to talk her down from her plan rather than resorting to swooping in and punching people really hard. It works really well for a sympathetic villain like Ivy with multifaceted motivations. The ambient music and sound effects are very subdued this episode, and wisely just set the mood to take a backseat to the performances on display. Emmy Raver-Lampman continues to do a skillful job as Poison Ivy as she realizes the ramifications of her actions, even if the moment is brought down by Winston Duke’s distracting Batman voice (this will be the last time you have to hear me complain about that). It may still feel like an offshoot from the “main” story that we started out with, but Ivy’s story ends on a very satisfactory note.
However, ending the series with a scene of Bruce catching up to The Riddler in Egypt seemed out of place and a very strange way to conclude the story. He only ever had a tangential role in the series, and the attempt to tie his neuroses into Bruce’s psychological struggle feels forced.
- Seeing Bruce finally confront his psychological fears is something you’ve been waiting for
- You’ve been enjoying and are invested in Ivy’s storyline
- Well, if you’ve come this far it would be silly not to see how everything ends
Episode 10 of Batman Unburied manages to impressively wrap up all of its plot lines, even if they don’t really connect in the end. Bruce’s visions of his parents brings the narrative back to the ideas that were being explored in the first episodes, and I think I would have been much more positive on the series as a whole if those had played a larger role throughout. Ivy’s introduction as an eleventh hour villain may have been jarring, but her story concludes on a heartfelt note based on the small handful of episodes we’ve had with her. Batman Unburied altogether is a series with good ideas and some great high points which are unfortunately muddled by what often amount to distractions.
You can listen to the entire series now, only on Spotify.