Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The DC Animated Universe Weekly Review - Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series

Episode 10

Two-Face, Part 1

There’s a lot to unravel in this one.  This is the introduction of one of Batman’s biggest villains.  We get to see Harvey Dent as the good guy DA in earlier episodes which makes his transformation into a villain all the more tragic.  His switch to villain almost seems rushed but everyone knew it was going that way.  No reason to drag it out too long.  There’s a nice sense of irony that episode 10, the first double digit count, is Two-Face’s premier episode.


The episode sets up that Harvey Dent has multiple personality disorder.  The creators actually consulted a psychiatrist to craft an episode in a way kids could understand but also have some grounding in reality.  It worked in spades because Big Bad Harvey is actually far scarier than Two Face.  


Dent’s obsession with keeping his image clean and hiding his psychiatric troubles are his ultimate downfall.  It’s tragic because he had the best of intentions.  Dent was truly a good guy that Batman admired.  When he’s eventually disfigured in a fight with a mob boss trying to black mail him and becomes the scarred monster we all know, there’s a poetic tragedy to it.  


Part one does a great job of setting up this bad guy personality, his stress factors, job, fiancé, friends.  The dominos are carefully placed to be knocked over one by one if his secret ever gets out.  The audience understands his desperation to hide his secret.  A fight ensues where half his body gets blown up.  


Batman’s culpability in how it played out is questionable.  Batman tried to save Dent but ultimately failed.  As the henchmen goes to shoot Dent, Batman pushes the bad guy and he shoots a vat of chemicals which explode and burn off half of Dent’s face.  If Batman didn’t push the henchmen then he would have shot Dent in the back and died immediately.   


The episode ends on a great cliffhanger.  Dent sees his scarred faced breaks out of the hospital. As he is escaping he comes across his fiancé who faints at the shock of seeing him.  A brilliant, shocking, ending to a great episode.


Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®