Why is this episode like an adventure with Bill and Ted?
Because they're both excellent.
Seriously, though, this was a great episode. In fact, I'd say that it's one of
the best in the series. It’s dark, atmospheric, and the dynamic between
all the various characters works. Batman-Yin, Riddler-Yin,
Batman-Riddler, it all works out nicely.
Batman and Yin have an uneasy alliance which comes under a little strain, and you can see the extent of what they're willing to do for each other. Riddler antagonizes Yin, knowing that he's keeping Batman busy, and Batman just wants to put an end to Riddler's schemes, despite being distracted from Riddler's main goal, which leads him to fall into Riddler's secondary trap.
The animation is nice and fluid, which you learn to appreciate after watching Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Yes, there's the... odd costume choice for Riddler, but I can overlook that after getting used to it. I really like the aesthetic to this series; it combines the light fun of the Adam West series with the dark moodiness of the later Tim Burton influence.
plot is clever, and keeps you guessing without relying on Batman making
insane leaps of logic, which is all too common in Riddler stories. Too often, we get Batman having to decipher complex and often nonsensical riddles and clues. In fact, the writers of Batman:TAS often cite this as the reason why there weren't many Riddler episodes. But this episode makes it work by taking the Riddler's obsession with riddles, and making it a strength instead of something they feel they have to work around.
Speaking of working around things, I
feel like Rojas was shoehorned into a few bits to provide unneeded
comic relief. He really didn't bring anything to the episode and could easily have been edited out of the whole thing. I'm just glad he ended up being replaced with Jim Gordon before the end. But that and Riddler’s costume are my only complaints
In fact, in hindsight, this reminds me a lot of
collecting Riddler Trophies in Arkham City. I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode helped to inspire that sidequest either. Really, misdirection is Riddler's greatest strength, and a clever writer can do a lot with that. Riddler will come back in the series, but I can't remember any later Riddler episode as good as this one off the top of my head.
I hope to be recapping more episodes in the future, so I'll see you then!