Batman: The Animated Series (1994/1995) – Lock-Up, Deep Freeze and The Terrible Trio

 

There’s more trouble in Gotham this week, and Batman (Kevin Conroy) and Robin (Loren Lester) are ready to take it on.

First up is Lock-Up which aired 19 November, 1994. Lyle Bolton (Bruce Weitz) is fanatical about his job as security chief in Arkham, keeping an eye on the likes of Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin), the Scarecrow (Henry Polic II) and Scarface (George Dzunda).

When he’s disgraced and let go, he takes up a vigilante mantle, becoming Lock-Up, and it is up to Batman and Robin to put a stop to him. I guess one vigilante (even if he works with the police, Batman is still a vigilante) is enough for this town.

This ‘vigilante’ has a much different agenda than stopping the crooks running around town. He’s going after what he believes is the real cause, the media, the politicians, and the law. He takes a number of prisoners, and spirits them away.

The Dynamic Duo attempt to track him down by following the clues, finally discovering his hideout on a decommissioned warship, where the episode’s final confrontation takes place.

There are moments when Lock-Up seems to pose a legitimate threat to Batman, and seems to get the upper hand a number of times, but the Dark Knight will triumph in the end.

I like that this episode played with a different kind of villain, sure it’s just another adventure story for younger viewers, but there are some heavy politics and ideas at work in this one… what really causes criminals, and how much of society could be at fault for their continued actions.

Lock-Up

Deep Freeze aired on 26 Novmber, 1994. Grant Walker (Dan O’Herlihy) is an elderly theme park designer, who is beginning to fear his end his near, and would rather continue to live, to be immortal in fact, and he thinks Mr. Freeze (Michael Ansara) may be the solution to that problem. So he breaks him out of Arkham, in the hopes Freeze will make him ‘frozen’ like the super-villain.

Following a lead, they consult with Dr. Rossum (William Sanderson) who is still working on robotics, and in a nod to lontime Batman fans gives us a glimpse at Bat-Mite (Pat Fraley).

The trail leads to Oceania, Walker’s latest theme park, but it’s also designed to be a self-sufficient base as he wipes out the rest of humanity to start anew, a Dark Knight riff on the Moonraker plot.

Freeze helps Walker as the designer has Freeze’s frozen wife Laura, and tells the villain he has the key to restoring her.

Batman and Robin arrive, seemingly just in time, and put a stop to Walker, but as the episode closes, we are left with two poignant images, both Freeze and Walker are encapsulated in ice… Walker seems to be sinking toward the bottom of Gotham River, and possibly out to see, aware of everything going on around him, while Freeze and Laura are sealed together, with the villain kneeling, longingly at the base of her capsule, wishing only to restore her.

deepfreeze

The last episode this week takes us into Season 4 of the series, before it’s continuation in 1997. The Terrible Trio aired 11 September 1995.

Three spoiled rich kids, Warren aka The Fox (Bill Mumy), Armand aka The Vulture (David Jolliffe) and Gunther aka The Shark (Peter Scolari) are committing crimes around Gotham, robbing for fun, but their crimes are escalating, and so is the danger.

When they see an opportunity to strike closer to home, Warren’s girlfriend Rebecca’s (Khrystyne Haje) father (Hector Elizondo), they may have gone too far, and left just enough evidence for Batman to figure out who they are and track them down.

Even when Warren is faced with justice, he tries to buy Batman off, and there’s an interesting moment at the end of the episode, when he says he will get the best justice money will buy as he owns all the judges. It’s a topical remark, that still holds true today, as we’ve seen recently, but somehow, true justice prevails…

There’s also a subtle commentary on those who have ‘succeeded’ giving back and helping out in society.

That’s it for the Caped Crusader this week, see you next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!

terribletrio

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