Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recap: Beware the Batman "Broken"

It can't be anymore broken than Alfred's knowledge of chess! Or Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Pick which comparison you're less sick of me harping on.

Let's hope this episode doesn't need any fixing.
Previously on Beware the Batman...

So, last episode, ninjas happened and Silver Monkey tried to steal Tatsu's Soultaker Sword. I guess Batman was involved somehow?

Now, some people have complained that Tatsu's past (that a lot of us already knew by the fact that it's freely available online, and not being hidden at all) took up too much of the last episode, and they should hurry up and make her into Katana, already. Well, seemingly in response to that, this episode has almost zero Tatsu within. 

Is this good? Is this bad? Let's find out!

We begin with an overhead shot of one of those hobby model tables, with the fake grass, bushes, and a castle on it.

???: "...all the King's horses, and all the King's men...."

We then fade from a shot of a toy soldier to a shot of a larger toy solder. This one's life sized and on a Gotham sidewalk. We also see the first random bystander since the episode "Tests." Man, just when you thought it was safe to walk around Gotham, huh?

Guy: "What the heck? Since when did the city of Gotham start putting statues on the sidewalk?"

Wrong, good sir. The correct answer to seeing a life-sized toy soldier in Gotham City is "Oh, God, run! It's a supervillain trap!" Then you run; then you call the cops. Thankfully, the cops quickly arrive and tell the man and his girlfriend/wife/sister/cousin/call girl/prostitute/all of the above to step away and be on their way. A cop named O'Brian calls the situation in to the station, and the statue's arm clicks down, aiming a flintlock. Laser sounds occur as it start firing bullets, and the cops respond in kind, firing their own laser guns that shoot bullets.

So, I did promise at the beginning of the first Recap that I wouldn't judge the decision to replace all the guns with lasers... but that's exactly what I'm going to do. I would like to point out that I respect the decision and especially their reasoning; I take issue with the execution, not the decision itself.

The showmakers' response to the 2012 Aurora tragedy was to make all the firearms in the show "less realistic," which apparently means "they look and sound like guns from sci-fi, but they're obviously shooting bullets (Alfred made references to shooting bullets last episode), and they even need to be reloaded with bullets (as seen in "Hunted"). So their response to a tragic shooting was to redesign all the guns in a stupid way? If I were them, I'd put more work into removing the gun violence. But I'd replace it with other violence.

Have Batman incapacitate the gunmen, or take out the guns with batarangs, and rely more on showing Batman going fist-to-fist with thugs. But back to my main point here, cops in real life aren't so trigger-happy. Maybe the writers could have kept the guns looking the same, but just had the cops shoot wildly fewer times? As I've said, I respect the decision and the reasoning, though. To be fair, the fact that they were quite far in the animation before the change was implemented probably didn't help things.

So where were we? Ah, yes, the cops were firing round bullets out of square gunbarrels with square holes in them that sound like lasers. They shoot the tin soldier's eye out, and take out part of the horse the soldier's on. This shorts it out, disabling the gun. They cautiously approach, and a man's muffled voice calls for help. In the hole where the statue's right eye used to be, part of a man's face can be seen. And that's why cops don't discharge their weapons on a regular basis, because they might hit innocent bystanders or hostages. In fact, the way that bullet hit the statue's eye, they barely missed this guy. Geez.

Anyway, backup's called, and Lieutenant Gordon (yeah, he's still not the Commish, yet. Give it time?) is soon there, inspecting the scene. He calls for the jaws of life to rescue the guy, but a batarang whooshes past his face and embeds itself in the ground. A voice from above speaks.

Batman: "Stop!"

The batarang opens up, and scans the statue like this is Star Trek or something, and Batman reports to the cops that the suit is actually also a bomb, which is likely set to go off if they try to remove him. After Batman disappears, they call the bomb squad and decide to worry about the absent vigilante later.

Cut to STATELY WAYNE MANOR, and Tatsu is searching the pot that she stashed her sword in last episode. Except it's gone. Alfred comes in and asks what she's doing, and she claims she lost her keys and walks away. Alfred smiles in a way that makes it really obvious that he's got the sword. Fifteen seconds? Wow, that was a short scene. Get used to that for these two; they're barely in this episode.

Cut to an underground parking lot where Gordon's overseeing the bomb technicians trying to get into the statue, and he's standing much closer than I would to that thing. The guy inside's freaking out.

Victim: "Where'd you jokers take me?"

No, my friend, the Jokerz aren't appearing in this series. Neither is the Joker, for that matter. Batman calls Gordon, having hacked his phone, and Batman reveals the the man in the statue, "Icepick Joe," works for a local gang boss who goes by the name "Tobias Whale." Gordon tells Bats to stay away from Whale, but Batman hangs up. Gordon tries to alert the force, but he can't get cell service. Gordon's not impressed.

"Can you hear me now? ... Good!" I bet the kids these days won't even get that reference.
We cut to a warehouse, where Whale (yet another bald guy in this show; even some of his goons are bald. What's with all the bald people?) and his goons are confronted by Batman, who calls Whale a fat tick using sesquipedalian loquaciousness.

He asks about Icepick Joe, and Tobias knows nothing.

Tobias Whale: "He didn't come to work a few nights ago. I thought you were what happened to him."

That's a good guess. Batman happens to a lot of criminals.
Tobias walks away, and his incredibly casually-dressed mooks go ahead and engage Batman in fisticuffs. Some of them cheat, because they have guns and knives. In a good fight scene (par for the course for this show), Batman takes almost all of them out. When only one remains, the guy puts his arms over his face to guard himself and begins to whimper in fear. He peeks through his arms to see if Batman's there, and Batman punches him between his arms. Geez, Bats, that's really kind of mean. The guy surrendered, and you go ahead and inflict blunt force trauma right in the face. Then again, something similar is my favorite thing to do in the Arkham video games, so I can't complain.

Batman follows after Whale into the other room, but only finds signs of a struggle, an open door outside, and a toy soldier, which fades back to the diorama from the beginning, where a meaty hand sets up toy cannons.

???: "Set the cannon on St. Mary's wall,and it shall surely, surely fall. And three-score men and three-score more, cannot put it as it was before...."

Yep, that's creepy. Actually, the whole episode sets a really nicely creepy tone. The soldiers and cannons end up aimed at each other, before fading in to a Gotham intersection where the same thing is set up for life-size. A taxi drives up and the driver hears the muffled voices for help as the statues begin lowering their arms to light the cannon fuses. He... well, he just kind of stares with a blank expression. After we come back from commercial, Batman shows up, and knocks down a signpost in the middle of the street, successfully deflecting the cannonballs.

Cut to Gotham City PD, where Batman places a file on Gordon's desk.

Batman: "Somebody is sending Gotham a message, Lieutenant."
Gordon: "How did you get in here? Why do I even ask..."

Batman names all the victims of the toy soldiers; it turns out that they're allcriminals or politicians, and Batman informs Gordon that Tobias Whale is missing. Gordon spots the connection between everything: the Dumpler Case.

Uh-oh. Whenever a cop says "the _____ case," expect a cliche storm.

"Just the facts, ma'am."
"Dammit, I'm a good cop!"
"You're a loose cannon!"
"What about justice?"
"I'm getting too old for this shit."
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
"I'm taking away your badge!"
"What about the rights of that little girl?"
"The mayor's on my ass about this case!"
"You're out of order! The whole system's out of order!"
"You killed innocent people!"
"The means to an end!"
"You started a massacre!"
"I caused a revolution!"
"You betrayed the LAW!"

"You're under arrest, Gordon!"
"I think you might have this backwards."
Sorry, where were we? Oh, yes, Gordon exposits on "the Dumpler Case." In flashback, we see Gordon encouraging a rather obese man named Mr. Dumpler to exit the police van and testify against Tobias Whale.

Batman, are you sure that the Walrus isn't loose in Gotham? Because the Eggman's here. 
Suddenly, a missile comes out the sky and blows up the van, knocking everyone away.

Back in the present, Batman exposits that Humphry Dumpler worked for the mob a a brilliant accountant, but he "went crazy" after the explosion, and later escaped protective custody. Batman deduces that Gordon's likely the next target and offers to protect him. (He also refers to Dumpler as "Humpty Dumpty," which is actually kind of mean, seeing as how Humphry hasn't actually adopted that name. It just seems mean-spirited this way, like Batman's making fun of him for being fat.) Gordon declines and walks out of his office.

Then, the emain plot gets derailed as we cut back to STATELY WAYNE MANOR, where Tatsu decides to bite the bullet and let Alfred know about the sword, and that it's missing. Alfred, meanwhile, is in the kitchen making himself a sammich. He cuts the crust off. Huh, he didn't seem like the type.

Anyway, he suddenly whips out a gun and aims it right at Tatsu. He quickly apologizes and advises her not to sneak up on ex-MI6 agents making sammiches. Tatsu admits she's not looking for her keys.

Alfred: "I know."

Two things.
  1. Alfred's not limping; and he has neither a cane nor a cast, so did his leg finally heal? When?
  2. The sandwich has disappeared, so I'm going to assume it shape-shifted into the gun. Hey, Q-Branch has come up with weirder. I've heard that they developed trousers that turn into jam with the push of a button.
Alfred leads her to another room, where the Soultaker Sword lies on a table. Alfred knows the sword's name, and asks Tatsu how the heck she got it.

We cut back to Batman, perched on a rooftop across from Gordon's house, creepily watching Barbara return home to her dad. He listens in on their conversation with a device, and Barbara finds and remarks on a toy soldier she finds. Batman realizes Dumpler's in the house, and he springs into action, only to be stopped by three life-size toy soldiers appearing before him and firing. Taking one out, he notes that they're empty inside. Not, like, soulless and dead inside but just literally hollow.

Dumpler better hope that the Toyman doesn't get upset about his schtick getting stolen.
Gordon, meanwhile, tells Barbara to get out the back exit, and she runs off, only to run into....

Well, there's my nightmares for tonight. Humphry grabs Barbara, and Gordon rushes in to save her. Batman, meanwhile, takes out the soldiers and runs inside. He comforts Barbara, who had been left behind after Dumpler changed his mind and ran off with Gordon.

Batman soon drives off to find the lieutenant, and we get the best exchange in the episode.

Batman: "Computer. Last known address of Humpty Dumpty."
Computer: "A wall."

See, Batman? That's why you don't call people by cruel nicknames.

Batman: "I'll rephrase. Last known address of Humphry Dumpler, aka Humpty Dumpty."

You are literally the only person who call him that. Stop trying to make "Humpty Dumpty" happen, Batman. It's not going to happen. ...Did I just make a Mean Girls reference? How the heck did I do that? I've never even seen Mean Girls.

The computer states that Humphry's grandmother died under "suspicious" circumstances, and her home is within Gotham limits. (Remember the thing about his grandma. It'll be important later.) Batman checks it out. (And for some reason, I swear that part of the Judge Dredd theme plays.)

Batman arrives at the house and investigates. Man, if only Gotham had some sort of group, or "force," if you will to do all this police work. A "police force," if you will. Batman B&Es his way into the house, and he discovers the table from the beginning of the episode, with two armies and a castle laid out. He finds a casing for one of the life size soldiers, and he gets his mini-computer to find a "resonance" to negate the explosive charges blahblahblah he technobabbles a way to deactivate the explosives in the shells.

Back with Alfred, he takes Tatsu back down to the secret library, and exposits that MI6 had been hunting for the sword since forever. He lays down a book on the subject, showing an old Roman picture showing the sword being used to take souls. (I wondered why the sword wasn't actually a katana; it's Roman.) Tatsu explains that she was hired by the CIA to infiltrate the League of Assassins and hunt down thier master (Ra's al Ghul). But then she saw Silver Monkey drain a man's soul.

Tatsu: "Empty as dust."

Dust isn't empty.

She stole the sword and ran away because the sword was even too dangerous for the CIA. Alfred wonders why, if the bad guys know where the sword is, why they haven't just killed them and taken it by now. And with that, we won't see those two for the rest of the episode, hope you enjoyed their brief scenes.

Back to Batman, and he's finishing up modifying his batarangs to negate Dumpler's explosives, and he figures out where Gordon and Whale are by looking at the model castle. We then cut to the same castle, life size, with two life size toy armies in front of it.

Okay, wait. Is there just a castle in Gotham? If Dumpler put it there, then why did no one see him do it? How did Batman know where it was? These questions and more were filed by the writers under "I" for "IDK," which stands for "Make something up, nerds."

Batman drives up, and Humphry greets him from the castle wall. Oh, hi, Voice of Gunther from Kick Buttowski. How disturbing that you're emanating from Dumpler's face. Dumpler fires upon Batman with a rifle as the toy soldiers start attacking each other. Batman whips batarangs left and right, and quickly finds Whale and rescues him. Whale runs off. Running back into the fray, Batman discovers Gordon in another one, and drags him behind the Batmobile. Humphry doesn't take this well.

Batman: "Humpty! Time to stop!"

Bats, you're just being a jerk by calling him that.

He runs up and grapples up the wall, and follows Dumpler inside. Dumpler, meanwhile, is panting and crying. He cries that he never wanted to hurt anyone, he's only doing this because Gordon and Whale dragged him into a war. The only way out that he saw was to win of the war. All he wanted was to go back to playing with his numbers and his toys. And with that, the character finally resembles his comic book incarnation.

See, in the comics, Humphry Dumpler has some vaguely defined, but realistic mental condition. He has the mind of a child, not helped that he was raised by a grandmother who perpetually treated him that way. He liked to "fix" things, often by taking them apart and failing to put them back together.
Eventually, after doing this to city landmarks, he was tracked down by Batgirl. He took her back to his home and showed her his grandma; because her health had been failing, he had sliced her into pieces and was attempting to put her back together. (This was referenced in the show. Remember his grandma's "suspicious" death? Yeah.)

Humphry doesn't want to hurt anyone. Out of all of Batman's enemies, he's the one who belongs in Arkham. He's the one who just genuinely needs some help. And he speaks in rhyme, when the writers decide that he does. It comes and goes.

Back in the show, Batman still follows after Humpty, who says that after all this time, Batman had given him the most fun he's had in years. And his crying turns into laughing. Batman catches up to Humphry, who's perched on the edge of the castle, reciting the Humpty Dumpty rhyme, before tipping off the edge. When he hits the ground, he shatters into a million pieces, revealing that the one who fell was just a dummy. The real Humphry Dumpler is still out there somwhere.

Batman meets back up with Gordon, who gets a call that all the "bomb-suits" deactivated. Batman says that Humphry's just broken, not evil, and he's being an honorable loser.

Batman: "But something tells me the war is far from over."

Humpty Dumpty will never cease in his efforts for the glory of the Sontaran Empire.
The war may not be ending, but the Review is just beginning.

1 comment:

  1. Humpty Dumpty: and you thought only Joker and Scarecrow were Nightmare Fuel. *jibblies*

    - That One Anon