A variant on the locked door mystery, but a very obvious one since we see the birds stealing a necklace. The real question is who’s doing it. And once the obvious villain appears, even the youngest of audience members have put the mystery together.
Dualities. The Penguin, being short, ugly, poor, and evil, is the exact opposite of our good Mr. Wayne. There’s a bit of lip service to the age-old question of whether superheroes attract supervillains, but this only comes up in the very last line of the episode, so it’s not really what I’d call an ongoing theme.
Honestly, there’s not much in the way of theming or unique plot to speak of. This episode's main purpose was to introduce the Penguin. And to sell toys, but that's what every episode was for.
Penguin (Tom Kenny)
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Where Batman: The Animated Series zigs, The Batman zags. Here, they’ve taken the suave gangster/businessman of the former series and done the exact opposite with the characterization. Although, interestingly enough, B:TAS was essentially forced to use the Tim Burton Penguin design before being allowed to redesign the character into what they wanted all along when the show's look changed.
There was a design at one point that drew on Penguin’s typical gentlemanliness, but this was eventually changed to reflect the new characterization they wanted to give him. Good thing, too. With that design's nose taking up half his head, giving him a posh accent would have made him seem like a grown-up Ferb Fletcher.
A common criticism of The Batman is that too many people know kung-fu. And… yeah. Seeing the little fat guy doing those flips and kicks is kind of ridiculous. As is his general buffoonery. Though the character might have been turned into a joke, his henchgirls and affinity for trained birds makes him far from harmless. But that still doesn’t stop the character from rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.
|Stealing the Halloween Town Mayor's hat might have cost Penguin the Tim Burton fans....|
I kind of like the fact that Alfred gets a moment to shine, but his feud with the Cobblepots never really comes up again. I think the occasional lip service is paid to it in Penguin's next appearance, but not as a real plot element. This is a shame. Alfred really won’t get another chance to have such a personal stake in the events.
These two are probably the most memorable original characters that this show ever brought us. They’re creepy, silent, and quite possibly not even human. Are they robots? Ninjas? Who knows? I think the bigger question is why they’re working for Penguin? Like the other mysteries about the twins, this will never be answered.
The fight scenes are as amazing as ever. Smooth, fluid, and with some impressive choreography, especially when the Kabuki Twins are involved.
It’s a hit-or-miss episode. I found it fairly enjoyable, but I have to admit that there are better episodes in the season. And it’s entirely likely that you would hate this episode if you saw it. Or maybe you’d love it. Who knows?
I can only tell you what I thought of it, and I can pretty much guarantees that your opinion would be different. Give it a shot, see what you think. I'd love to hear your opinions on both the episode and the character in the comments.
As for The Batman, we'll soon see another episode and another villain. See you then!