Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: The Batman "Two of a Kind"

Gonna be honest, I'm really struggling to come up with more jokes relating to the title. The old Olsen Twins show was pretty much all I had. Oh, sure, I could make some obscure reference to a movie or two, but I doubt you kids these days have heard of Olivia Newton-John, let alone Edmond O'Brien.

Now let's discuss whether or not "Two of a Kind" was a Royal Flush or a Dead Man's Hand. (Guess I had one more.)

Story/Themes
Metafictionally, the main theme can be described as "'Mad Love,' but set in the Ultimate Universe." (If I may mix my comic book metaphors.)

As I've said multiple times before, The Batman zigs where Batman: The Animated Series zags, and this episode is no exception. Retelling Harley's origin story with her as a fame-hungry pop psychologist as opposed to an accolade-hungry clinical psychiatrist is an interesting twist that nevertheless stays true to the character's roots. Of course, it helps that Paul Dini adapted his own story into this episode. And who doesn't like taking a few shots at Oprah/Jerry Springer?

You may remember that, in my review of "Mad Love," I ruminated for quite a bit over whether or not the Joker loves Harley. While it's too early to tell here, it's quite clear that Harley holds a spot in Joker's heart. At the very least, there may not be "love," but there is a spark of chemistry. At the very least, there seems to be a mutual crush born of the Joker's scheme to take advantage of her fragile mental state.

Now that I mention it, here's the proper response to a creepy clown playing Hannibal Lecter with you.

Take notes, Harley.
Interestingly enough, I'd say that this version of the Joker cares about Harley more than she cares about him. Think about it. After one night on the town, he went and stole some bling for her while she ignored him and focused on getting revenge. It's by no means the classic Harley/Joker relationship, but it brings us an interesting twist on the story. Kudos, Paul Dini; you retold a twice-told story and managed to keep it fresh and interesting. That's pretty impressive.

Characters
Harley Quinn (Hynden Walch)

Forget the Dr. Harleen Quinzel from B:TAS, this Harley was a bit screwloose before the Joker got to her. It's easy to see why they stay together. You know, besides the whole "they're both wanted criminals" thing.

Hynden Walch does a great Arleen Sorkin impression. This might sound a bit sacrilegious, but I kind of wish she had come up with her own voice for the character. While Harley's distinctive accent is iconic, I feel like this different take on Harley's origin might have benefited from a different voice for the character. Still, Ms. Walch does a darn good job, as ever. Though I can't help but hear Princess Bubblegum/Starfire, even through the accent.

Animation
Harley Quinn's new costume design is a bit of a miss. I do like that the traditionally-black areas are now dark red, but I feel like her hat's too big and her blank-eyed mask makes her look a bit too much like Robin, facially speaking.

Once you see her with Robin's face, you can't unsee it.
All things considered, this is a solid episode. While the things this episode changes in regards to Harley might irk a few people, it's very enjoyable if you take it on its own terms. I highly recommend it as one of the best of the season as well as series.

See you next time.

3 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this on the "Assault On Arkham" blu-ray (haven't seen the movie yet) and I can't say this was bad, I do wish they found someone else to do HQ's voice. Hyden comes across as trying to hard to imitate Sorkin (who seems to have disappeared off the map after the Arkham Asylum game for some reason).

    I liked all the AT jokes in the recap and your review. A little surprised you didn't have her picture from "The Great Bird Man" laughing about suicidal Mermaids or her making fun of Raggedy Princess from "Sky Witch"

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    1. Well, you can't reference 'em all.

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    2. But I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway.

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