In last week’s review I started by saying that now that we knew what the villains’ master plan was, it should be a straight shot to Batman stopping them and saving the day. Well the show decided to pull a last minute audible and throw a twist into who the real villain behind everything was. Now the dramatis personae have all been established and we’re actually at that part of the story. The bulk of the action is Ivy and Stirk making their way to Bruce Wayne’s vault to get the ancient tree stored there, and Batman chasing after them. In many ways it’s largely set up for the climax, but it does manage to deliver some suspense in the meantime.
The voice acting is mostly effective at making the break-in to Wayne Enterprises exciting as the villains get past each line of defense one by one. Emmy Raver-Lampman does a good job as Poison Ivy; she’s intimidating but at the same time maintains a captivating aura that you want in the character. However, the opening scene with her is hampered by the somewhat amateurish performances by the voice actors playing the guards. Gina Rodriguez’s Barbara Gordon, who I’ve been critical of in the past, keeps the tension high as she watches the hostage situation from the shadows and struggles on whether to move in. Of course my praise for the acting goes away once Batman starts talking. It has the same over-the-top growl that immediately takes you out of any scene that Batman’s had since episode 5.
Ivy’s motivation for wanting to access the tree leaves me scratching my head. In her origin last episode, her primary motivations were wanting to be able to touch people without harming them, and wanting to save plants in general. The former especially had a lot of time devoted to it and the trauma it caused. Now Ivy wants to merge with the tree so that she can kill 2/3 of the world’s population and the remainder will be able to talk to plants. I suppose we’re meant to assume that she could also interact with the remaining third without hurting them, but it all just seems very out of sync with what we had spent a whole episode establishing. Also, she made a point of talking about how she would use the tree’s fungal connections to all other plant life (a real and interesting phenomenon known as the mycorrhizal network), but if the tree was being held in a hydroponics lab, then it no longer has those connections…
There’s not too much else to say about the events of the plot. It’s a fairly short episode that serves two purposes: allow for an initial confrontation between the good guys and the bad guys, and build up to the finale. It mostly lives and dies by the acting to carry those scenes, which is a mixed bag. The same is true for the sound effects and music, as usual. Sometimes they do a good job of creating an atmosphere of suspense, while other times they can be distracting. The music that plays while the Wayne vault is processing is odd and I’m not really sure if it was supposed to be diegetic or not. A couple sound effects were also very questionable like when bottle cork sound effects are used for Bruce’s smoke bombs, or this strange metallic sound that plays when accessing the Batmobile. Based solely on context I assume it’s supposed to be computer noises but I’m really not sure.
- You’ve been waiting for Batman to finally confront the villains
- The final episode is only one away and you’ve made it this far
- You want to finally see inside the vault everyone’s been talking about for so long
Not too much happens this episode, as it starts with the heroes chasing the villains as they try to get to a tree, and it ends the same way. The performances used to keep things interesting in the meantime range from pretty good to distractingly bad. We get a little bit of info as to what’s all going on, but everything seems to be focused on pushing forward to the series finale.
You can listen to the entire series now, only on Spotify.