Batman: The Animated Series (1992) – Eternal Youth & Two-Face Parts I & II

 

The Dark Knight (Kevin Conroy) wings into more action this week in this trio of episodes that aired on 23, 25 and 28 of September, 1992.

Eternal Youth, Batman investigates a health resort that promises its clients youth and vitality. But the price is too high!

When Brice Wayne gets an invite to the spa, he passes on it, and insists that Alfred (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and his sweetie, Maggie (Paddi Edwards) go in his stead. It seems that someone, read as Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing), is inviting the rich to the spa and then exacting revenge on them for their crimes against the environment and Mother Nature.

It all ties in to a number of missing people that Batman is looking into at Gordon’s (Bob Hastings) request.

Alfred falls ill upon his return to Wayne manor, and Bruce begins to see the connection between the spa and the missing people. The fate of the people Ivy has wreaked revenge upon is truly horrifying.

Once again, we see a villain who is motivated by a perception of justice, but is going about things the wrong way. Of course, when confronted by corporate greed and wealth, perhaps she felt there were no other options; but even Batman refers to her as an eco-terrorist.

Not the strongest episode of the series so far, but still a well-written tale that gives us a peek into Alfred’s personal life. I wonder if we’ll be seeing Maggie again? I know Ivy will be back.

 

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Two-Face Parts I & II, see the fall of Harvey Dent (Richard Moll) from public office to transform into the villainous Two-Face.

Dent is on the election trail, but also seems to be struggling with his personality disorder, a disorder that is given full release, by accident, by gangster Rupert Thorne (John Vernon).

Dent is having nightmares about a darker personality within him, and it seems to come out at the mos inopportune time, provoked by emotional stress. Through some hypnotic therapy, we get a glance at his internal workings, but despite trying to keep the sessions a secret, knowledge of the sessions get out, and Thorne blackmails Dent into meeting him.

Bats follows, discretely, and when Thorne and Dent confront each other, Batman is unable to stop a chemical explosion which disfigures his friend. The damage causes his mental split to become permanent, as his inner Big Bad Harv comes to the fore and takes over completely, letting his scarred two-headed coin make all of his decisions.

Bruce is haunted by his own dreams, blaming himself for not being able to save Dent, or even his parents. Will he be able to save his friend, turning him back from a life of crime and violence? Or is it too late?

Every major character in the series has an inner conflict to be resolved. And Dent is no exception. The character’s duality is explored, once again illustrating why Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery continues to be one of the best created for comic books. Variations on perceptions of justice, humanity’s dual nature, not just in society, but in oneself, are all examined, proving once again that this series is one of the best animated series ever created for television.

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