The Batman Series in Review-Season 3

And so, after a hiatus on my part owing to a combination of school, personal writing, and just plain other stuff to do, I've finally gotten around to continuing my assessment of "The Batman", beginning with Season 3:

S301 and S302: Batgirl Begins Two-Parter

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Season 3 opens up pretty strong with a two-parter that introduces not only Batgirl, but also this show's take on Poison Ivy.

Now, before I go any farther, I should take the time to stress that I usually have a fairly "neutral" opinion of Poison Ivy, in the sense that I am neither one of her hardcore fans (of which she has many), nor am I a hater. I tend to just see her as a simply "okay" Batman villain. Good, but not great. So what is my assessment of this show's take on Poison Ivy?

She's okay.

Part of it is, she's actually a very faithful adaptation of the character. Her being roughly Barbara Gordon's age and a former friend of her's gone bad notwithstanding, her overall personality and characterization, not to mention her character design upon becoming Poison Ivy, is all pretty on-point to be honest. Her younger age does make any sexual/flirtatious interactions with Batman rather gross, but fortunately the cartoon doesn't have too much of that. In all, she's a pretty on-point take on the character in my mind, and that's exactly why my assessment of her is as lukewarm as it's ever been.

That out of the way, I thought this episode pair worked well as a "dual origin story" for Batgirl and the villain who I almost feel was meant to be her arch-enemy (something the cartoon really didn't capitalize on at all). For her part, Barbara Gordon is well written and well-voiced here. Her "peppy teen girl who wants to be a hero" mold will likely grate on some viewer's nerves, but I for one found it to be a fairly accurate portrayal of who Barbara was when she was first trying to be Batgirl. And what's more, the character is funny. Though most of her best comedy gold in this show will be in her interactions and banter with Robin, Batgirl is still pretty funny on her own, and really, this is why Batman is usually paired with such light-hearted sidekicks in both the comics and the cartoons: because they're a good foil to him. And it's no different here.

Special praise should also be given to the Batgirl costume here. It's not my favorite Batgirl costume (that would be the Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown Batgirl costumes), but it does make my Top 10, and it also feels right for this take on the character. Also, those very expressive whited out eyes that she has when she wears the cowl, are all kinds of adorable (and add to her comedic appeal).

Having spent so much time talking about Batgirl and Poison Ivy as they are portrayed here, I haven't actually spent much time talking about these episode's story. Well, they are (as already noted), a good two-parter to open the season with. Ellen Yin's inexplicable absence is irritating, but beyond that there's no real flaws to the two-parter that I can see. My not being a huge Poison Ivy fan keeps me from loving these episodes as much as, say, a well-done Joker, Catwoman, or Riddler episode, but nevertheless the story serves it's purpose, complete with just a twinge of tragedy as Barbara finally sees just how bad a friend Ivy really was.

Like it or not, these episodes marked a shift in the status quo for "The Batman". With each new season from now on, the show would get less and less grounded as it incorporated more and more major DC heroes, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Ellen Yin's absence is regrettable, but Batgirl makes a strong debut here, and will remain an enjoyable presence throughout.

Final Grade: B+ (Both parts)

S303: A Dark Knight to Remember

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I had earlier noted in my Season 2 reviews that Catwoman was criminally underutilized in this show, especially in comparison to say, Penguin. But, that in mind, if Penguin was overused in the show (and he was), then which episodes featuring him should not have been done?

And one of the answers that first springs to mind, is this episode.

Look, this isn't a terrible episode. In fact, the premise of Batman with amnesia is an intriguing one (and earlier explored in a decent BtAS episode). But the trouble is, it's another Penguin episode. And there is absolutely no reason for Penguin to be the villain here. Any other Batman villain could have been used in this episode whilst retaining the premise of "Bruce has forgotten he's Batman". So making Penguin the villain again just feels unnecessary, especially when (again), many other villains had hardly any appearances in this show (Man-Bat, Riddler, Poison Ivy, and especially Killer Croc and Catwoman).

Honestly, this should have been a Riddler episode. Imagine how fun a premise it could be, to put Bruce in a situation where he's not only forgotten he's Batman, but while a villain who relies on his mind rather than muscle to commit crime is running amok? It would be the worst possible time for our hero's own mind to not be at it's best, and that's why it would make for such a fun premise (not to mention giving Batgirl the opportunity to try and match wits with Riddler).

But, instead of Riddler Vs. Amnesiac Batman and a Batgirl who could get to show off her intellect, which could have been a ton of fun, or perhaps Clayface taking advantage of the situation to impersonate Batman via shapeshifting, we got...another Penguin episode. Because Lord knows we didn't have enough of those.

Again, the episode itself is not terrible. Everything about it is competently executed, from the handling of the amnesia plot to the action to the dialogue. All of it is perfectly serviceable, if not the show's absolute best. It's just so frustrating to see Penguin get yet another episode dedicated to him when there were (again), so many other villains that were just as good or better who got only a handful of appearances at most. Catwoman and Riddler are just as major in Batman's world as Penguin, but he had more appearances in the show than both of them put together, and in my own mind, I can't justify that. Some of Penguin's episodes should have gone to someone else, and this is one of them.

Final Grade: B-

S304: A Fistful of Felt

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As I've noted previously, I have a soft spot for the Ventriloquitst/Scarface duo, and this is by far their best appearance in the show proper. Enough so that part of me wishes it had been their final appearance.

Yes, I did just get through saying that I wish that more non-Penguin villains got more screentime, but to be fair, Ventriloquist's story ends on a nicely bittersweet/open-ended note in this episode that is completely derailed with how, in "Rumors" and "The End of the Batman" in Seasons 4 and 5, he's gone right back to crime. Disappointing, as I much preferred how this episode ended with the idea that maybe, just maybe, Arnold Wesker wasn't totally lost. Figures later episodes had to ruin that.

But, that being said, this is still a great episode. Ventriloquist is at his most sympathetic by far as he makes an earnest attempt to go straight, and then when Scarface returns he snaps and yells at him about how he was happy for once in his life, which is actually my single favorite scene in the episode. All the tragedy of Arnold Wesker is well conveyed, and highlighted by how we also finally get this version's origin story in this episode. It's no Mr. Freeze origin, but it serves it's purpose well, along with providing a credible explanation for how he could actually be a Ventriloquist.

This episode is also the one that fully confirms that Hugo Strange is indeed a villain, same as usual. His going out of his way to try and help Ventriloquist only to then sabotage his own patient's progress is a little difficult to believe, but the show does try to offer up a credible explanation. Regardless, Hugo is used sparingly here, but subsequent appearances will really give him a chance to shine as a villain (including, I might add, the series finale).

Also, I really liked the little bit where, after the Arkham inmates are asked to listen to their "inner self", Joker notes: "Mine's not talking. Must be a mime."

In all, this was a solid Ventriloquist/Scarface episode, and, as noted, the best one the series gave us. It's also a nice rebound after the previous episode being a disappointing example of the Penguin over-usage that hindered this series.

Final Grade: B+

S305: RPM

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Now this was a fun one.

Not that other episodes aren't fun of course, but this one definitely was aiming for a very action-packed, "thrills heavy" episode. It actually changes up the status quo of the show a bit by getting rid of the original Batmobile and making way for a new one.

For the record, I hadn't really ever paid much attention to the Batmobile in this cartoon, but maybe that was why this episode was done: to demand that audiences finally pay more attention to and respect, Batman's signature vehicle. And I have to admit, it was fun seeing Bruce build his new and improved Batmobile, which itself had an awesome design and with visually stunning blue fire effects that were previously used for Batman's (also quite awesome), jetpack from Season 1.

Between all of that, and lots of fun race-car driving and car chases, this was a vehicle-heavy episode and a good showing for the Batmobile. Pretty much it's best moment in the entire series, actually. For those who grumbled about the heavy usage of the Batmobile in Batman: Arkham Knight, perhaps it's usage in this cartoon episode will better suit their fancy.

Gearhead's vehicles were also pretty awesome looking, and for that matter, so was Gearhead himself. Believe it or not, this guy is an actual Batman villain from the comics (and the show people noted as much), but they definitely gave him a rehaul. This Gearhead has little in common with his comics counterpart, but you know what? That's just as well. Comic Gearhead was a fairly lame/sub-par Batman villain, and this version has not only a much better power-set and characterization as a speed-freak/hedonist, but also a far cooler looking design (racecar driver uniforms already look like superhero costumes, so having a supervillain that has a variant as his costume makes perfect sense). Not to mention, that Will Freidle (ironically Batman Beyond's voice actor), does a solid job voicing him.

Batgirl's involvement in this episode was welcome but mostly inconsequential. As I said, this episode is really more of a good showing for the Batmobile than it is for Batman's sidekick, but given how great a turn it is for the Batmobile, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Again, this was a fun episode. Nothing ambitious, but it didn't need to be. It took a lame, minor Batman villain from the comics and made him cool, gave the Batmobile a chance to shine, and had some good vehicular action. For me, that's my money's worth.

Final Grade: A-

S306: Brawn

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Another fun episode. Gimmicky as hell, but fun.

For the record I'm a little surprised it took Season 3 this long to have a Joker-centric episode, considering how major a presence he was in Season 2 (and to a lesser extent, Season 1). But, I think it was better to wait it out and let other villains have the spotlight for a while. Especially when it makes the arrival of "Venom Joker" more impactful and exciting.

Yes, Venom-Joker is gimmicky as hell, as I've already noted. But I have also already noted in my reviews for this series so far, that "gimmicky" isn't necessarily a bad thing. And while Joker on Venom is not something I would ever, ever want as a recurring thing, it works as a one-time gimmick, especially when this episode honestly did a better job with it than Batman: Arkham Asylum did with the anticlimactic "Titan Joker". The fiendish delight Joker takes in invoking cliched bully stereotypes and abusing his newfound strength is entertaining, and while his design is definitely grotesque, I think that was sort of the point (and also no worse than Bane's own design in this cartoon, which was awful).

Not surprisingly for a "Joker on Venom" episode, there's plenty of action to be had, and it's very good action to be sure. Seeing Batgirl get the hang of the Bat-Bot was also fun, as was Batman's "She didn't..." line. I do also love the way Batgirl finally takes Venom-Joker down, as well as this priceless little exchange:

Joker (after being de-powered): I'm still bigger than you

Batman (getting his attention from behind): But not me...bully

(Batman punches him out)

Admittedly, Batgirl spelling out the moral of the episode's story to the audience (as if we were too stupid to get it on our own), is a little annoying, but that one quibble aside this was a fun action-based episode that marked yet another time the Joker opted for a specific, one-off gimmick with which to challenge Batman. By this point, it's become almost standard for Joker on this show, but I also think that's a good thing for how it makes each Joker episode feel different from the others. Like "RPM", this episode is nothing ambitious, but it is fun.

Final Grade: B

S307: The Laughing Cats

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I had noted in the past how "The Laughing Cats" was a weak Catwoman episode in my mind. Well, I stand by that here, and here's why: the characterization is poorer.

One of the many things I dislike about the BtAS version of Catwoman, is their turning her into an animal rights-obsessed individual. Not only is this unnecessary (Catwoman was sympathetic and nuanced as was without having that sort of thing tacked onto her character), but it also makes her feel too similar to Poison Ivy and her "the environment first" rhetoric, or even Ra's al Ghul, who often has a similar worldview. So, deciding to have Catwoman's characterization here be blatantly akin to her BtAS portrayal, was an unwelcome change of pace. I didn't like it in Batman: The Animated Series, and I don't like it here.

Not only that, but the episode's ending, which is basically Batgirl losing all of her faith in Catwoman's capacity for good in a very heavy-handed and poorly written way, also makes Catwoman a more shallow character in turn. One of my favorite parts of the "Ragdolls to Riches" episode in Season 2 was in how it ended with a subversion of expectations: with Catwoman not doing the shallow criminal thing but instead something more noble. It also emphasized that she cares about animals without being heavy-handed about it (as is the case here and in BtAS).

So between it all, this is a terrible turn for this show's take on Catwoman, and actually the worst turn in the show proper. Catwoman's at her best when she's the thieving but noble Anti-Hero or neutral, rather than a straight-up, shallow crook or the "animal rights zealot" she is here and in BtAS.

All that being said, it's hard to enjoy this episode as a whole. The notion of Batman, Batgirl, and Catwoman having to navigate a maze without their toys is a fun idea, but one that I don't think the episode capitalized on very well. Joker as always is a fun villain, but this is hardly his most exciting or fun turn (that would be his Greg Weisman written appearances, as Greg just has a very firm handle on that character in general). The action is solid, but not this show's best (though seeing Catwoman do well against Batgirl was nice). In all, nothing about this episode feels representative of the show's A-game.

Credit where credit is due though: Joker's hyenas taking a liking to Catwoman and licking her instead of attacking her, was a pretty funny moment (and also consistent with how in the comics, Krypto the Superdog liked her too despite her being a Cat-themed character).

In all, this was a weak and disappointing episode, and also the worst of Catwoman's appearances in this show hands-down. I wish I could say that this was also the worst episode of the season, but sadly it's not. No, the episode after the next one is even worse, and let me tell you, I am not looking forward to talking about that.

Final Grade: C+

S308: Fleurs du Mal

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As I've already noted, my assessment of Poison Ivy tends to be lukewarm, and that's no different here. This was a solid Poison Ivy-centric episode, and the notion of her replacing people with plant copies does have a nice "invasion of the body snatchers" vibe to it, but it does also simultaneously reinforce why I rarely sympathize with this character. Fact is, for a villain I'm supposed to consider sympathetic or even view as a misunderstood anti-hero or a would-be hero that goes too far...I just don't. To me there is nothing sympathetic about a sadistic, violently anti-human eco-terrorist who tries to kill or hurt people for any destruction of plant-life, no matter how small. It gets to the point where her fake GCPD try to arrest Batman for accidentally stepping on a single flower. Seriously.

But, I may not find Poison Ivy sympathetic at all, but I do think she's a solid enough villain (again, neutral opinion on her), and this episode gave us a good bit of plant-based action. The highlight action scene of course is Batman and Batgirl's fight with their "bushy" opposite numbers. This actually won't be the last time Batman fights an evil copy of himself either. The fight between Barbara and her "not-dad" in the kitchen was also pretty well done despite the lack of costumes or gadgets, and Batman's fairly brutal fight with an army of "plant police" was also really nice, and one of my favorite "Batman Vs. a lot of fodder" scenes in the show.

But, for all the good action and the "invasion of the body snatchers" type plot, this episode is not without it's weaknesses. For one, Penguin is once again shoe-horned into an episode he doesn't need to be in, his role as Ivy's glorified pawn being one that any one of a number of other Batman villains could have filled (I for one would have loved the irony of the fire-based Firefly helping the plant-based Poison Ivy against his will). In addition, the ending is a bit abrupt, and Batman's way of escaping Poison Ivy's trap feels borderline Deus Ex Machina.

But, those quibbles aside, this isn't a bad episode, and it reinforces my belief that Poison Ivy could have been Batgirl's arch-enemy on this show, and that it would not necessarily have hurt. I suppose the writers couldn't think of too many different ways to do the Poison Ivy plot, but one does get the impression that they still could have made the effort, especially given how many unnecessary Penguin appearances there were (sorry, I just can't get over how rampantly overused Penguin was in this show).

But, I should enjoy this episode while it's here, because next one is "Cash for Toys".

Oy vey.

Final Grade: B+

S309: Cash for Toys

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To it's credit, "The Batman" usually does humor very well between Alfred, Joker, and especially Batgirl and Robin. I understand that Batman doesn't exactly lend himself to humor very well, being as he is such a dark Anti-Hero most of the time, but his world does actually have a fair number of characters with a great capacity for humor (Alfred, Catwoman, Barbara Gordon, the Robins, Joker, etc.). And, as BVS proved, too little humor can hurt even a story that's meant to be serious. So, even Batman can stand to have humor.

But "Cash for Toys", ladies and gentlemen, is an example of going too far in the opposite direction, and also not doing it well.

Firstly, the villain pictured above is completely unnecessary and unwanted. Not only am I not feeling the design minus the blue hair, but in terms of MO/role, this feels in every way like a blatant rip-off of Toyman, with absolutely nothing to make him feel worthwhile or meaningfully distinct in any way from Toyman. So why not just use Toyman? Yes, he's a Superman villain, but non-Batman characters featured in this show now and again (albeit all after this episode). I don't see why they couldn't include Toyman. Failing that, perhaps just not do this episode at all? That wouldn't have been so bad, because honestly, even apart from the bad Toyman clone being used here, this episode is just not very good. It's a comedy episode that fails to be all that funny, and besides the (again), uninspired Toyman clone, there's another big reason for that.

That's right: Cash Tankenson is back.

Suffice to say, Cash is just as unwelcome a presence as ever. If anything, he was even more grating here because, unlike in his first appearance where the show rightly punishes, humiliates, and mocks the character in the form of Yin's exasperation and Joker's actions, here we're apparently meant to take his appearance as a good thing. That Bruce is taking this guy even remotely seriously is really hard to ignore, and the fact that he's even getting a return appearance while Ellen Yin remains nowhere to be found is just plain wrong.

I would like to point out that this is the only episode of the cartoon I ever saw that I did not bother to finish. That's right. This one was so bad that I didn't even finish it because it was so awful. Annoying instead of funny, leaning too heavily on the comedy for it's own good without actually being funny, and above all, sandwiching Batman between a woefully misguided return by Cash Tankenson return and a bland Toyman clone all combine to make this one of the two worst episodes in the entire series. In fact, I would probably say this is the single worst episode in the series period (it's certainly the worst episode of the first four seasons by far).

To think, we got this crap instead of another good Catwoman or Riddler episode. What a waste.

Final Grade: D-

S310: Thunder

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Hooray.

After the painfully bad and insultingly stupid "Cash for Toys" fiasco, "Thunder" is not only a nice return to form, it's one of the best episodes of this season by far.

Firstly, the redesign of Maxie Zeus will likely rub purists the wrong way, but I like it myself. The black, red, and gold color scheme is pretty rocking, and the cape and helmet definitely add to the whole "badass makeover" that the show-people clearly wanted to give Maxie Zeus. And while this take on the character lacks the tragic quality of his BtAS portrayal, he is at least more of a badass, not to mention well-voiced by Phil LaMarr (who is always a welcome presence in any superhero cartoon).

Not only is this re-imagining of Maxie Zeus a cool one, but the addition of an airship is a very fun change of pace that feels like something straight out of a 1980s or 90s cartoon in all the right ways. It also gives some nice action scenes too, both in the air, and on the ship itself as Batgirl plays saboteur, and Batman gets to plow through Maxie's cool-looking goons that for my money remind me just a bit of Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guards (though nowhere near as skilled).

I must say I also really love Batman's flight-suit and, like his wetsuit in the Killer Croc episode from Season 2, I kind of wish this had just been his default batsuit. In any case, it's a nice outfit to see.

I also love how this episode ends with Batman finally accepting Batgirl, officially, as his sidekick. That she never actually wears the belt he gives her ever again makes it's inclusion here seem kind of pointless, but the symbolism of the gesture is still felt, and appreciated. In that sense, this episode marks a slight but meaningful change in their relationship, and by extension the status quo of the show as a whole, and that's one more point in this episode's favor.

Could have used a scene of Maxie Zeus electrocuting Cash Tankenson though. Just saying.

Final Grade: A-

S311: The Apprentice

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To be honest, if I had to name another episode involving Penguin and/or Joker that should have been replaced with an episode featuring a less-used Batman villain, it would be this one. By no means is this episode bad, but compared to so many of the other Joker episodes it just failed to excite, and for the most part lacked the sense of fun that so many of the other Joker episodes had. That said, this episode was not without it's merits: for one, Joker in a firefighter variant of his usual outfit was actually a cool visual, and I also liked all the different references to BtAS sprinkled throughout this episode: for one, Joker taking in a would-be protege who turns on him after being horrified by Joker's evil is very similar to the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Be a Clown", and Joker's line of "too Riddler" in response to one of Prank's suggestions for an evil plain, is exactly what Joker said of one of his own plans in the classic episode "Mad Love". So those were appreciated.

Also, while Prank's journey was extremely predictable in every beat and he's ultimately not worth much as a villain, his costume was actually pretty nice, and appropriately bringing to mind Harley Quinn (who would later get an excellent rendition in this show in Season 4, but we're still getting to that). I also loved Batgirl's "why don't we have that kind of relationship?" line to Batman upon her realizing that Prank has been in Joker's lair while she hasn't been in Batman's.

So again, there was a lot to like about this episode, and it is in no way poor (especially compared to the disappointing "Laughing Cats", and the atrocious "Cash for Toys"). It's just that, like "A Dark Knight to Remember", this is an episode that's just one more appearance for a villain who wasn't wanting for appearances, and if it was a choice between this episode and say, another appearance by one of the more underused villains, I would choose the latter. But, at least what we got instead isn't half bad.

Final Grade: B

S312: The Icy Depths

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"Your demise may warm even my heart"

Sadly, Mr. Freeze didn't get to kill Penguin here, which would have been awesome (especially since none of Penguin's subsequent appearances in this show were worth anything), but this is still one of the highlights of Season 3, not to mention a case of a Penguin appearance that's actually warranted, rather than shoehorned (since, after all, the treasure is of Cobblepot origin).

This episode is actually much more cerebral than most other episodes in this show, given that most of the plot revolves around an actually pretty cool treasure hunt that even has some historical context. It's a refreshing change of pace that helps to break up all the action-heavy episodes (which are usually fun, but there is a danger in having too many in a sitting), and the treasure hunt itself is fun and well-done. The end result (that the treasure is lost shortly after being found) is predictable, but at least we get a nice fight scene between Freeze and Penguin beforehand.

Special mention should be given to both Alfred and his "old friend" here. The latter is a decent pseudo-villain who's given the appropriate charm and wit that the late Ian Abercrombie's voice acting definitely helps. The former gets what is arguably his best episode in the series here. Usually relegated to Wayne Manor in most episodes, it was nice to see Alfred "get out of the house" for a change. Don't get me wrong, I do love Alred as the "snarky supporter", but again, a change of pace isn't a bad thing now and again.

Also, how can you not love Mr. Freeze's response to Penguin's whining?

"Oh shut up."

So yeah. Of all of Penguin's appearances in Season 3, this is the only one that didn't feel forced, shoehorned, or unnecessary. That alone makes it worthwhile, to say nothing for the nice "treasure hunting plot", a good turn for Mr. Freeze, and a guest appearance by the late and great Ian Abercrombie.

Final Grade: A-

S313: Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind

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What a finish.

After a season of inconsistent quality and some noticeably weak and/or disappointing episodes, Season 3 gets to end on a very high note.

First things first, DAVE is awesome. His design, Jeff Bennet's superbly smug and appropriately over-the-top voice acting, his "I'm smarter than you" personality, and his being such a potent mix of brains and brawn all combine to make him a villain who is, while not my favorite Batman villain, definitely a favorite (enough so that I will be including him in a future list of 52 greatest Batman villains). That he's able to outsmart Batman and figure out his secret identity is pretty awesome, but the way Batman turns the tables on DAVE and outsmarts him by asking him the one question he couldn't answer, is epic. And yes, DAVE getting crushed by the giant penny is also an awesome finish.

The action in this episode overall is pretty good, particularly the fight on the Gotham rooftops in the rain (I'm a sucker for rain-soaked battles in general). Hugo Strange was also much more well-used in this episode than in the Ventriloquist/Scarface episode from earlier in this season, and out of all of his appearances in the show, this one feels the closest to his characterization in the comics, with how Strange uses another villain to fight Batman on his behalf while simultaneously acknowledging that Batman intrigues him. And, his "The Dark Knight Returns" line is an awesome reference to that classic Batman story (which will get referenced again, much more overtly, in a Season 4 highlight).

That much of the episode takes place on a rain-soaked, overcast gray night does a great job of creating a gloomy mood and atmosphere, which in turn highlights the seriousness of the threat that DAVE poses. Good thing too, because the premise of a robot that shamelessly imitates pre-existing Batman villains could have turned comical, or else DAVE could have come off as a cheap pretender rather than a legitimate threat. But he doesn't. DAVE comes off as legitimately intimidating, powerful, and a worthy foe for Batman, rather than a parody, and that's a good thing.

If this episode has any one weakness, it's that Batgirl's absence is felt. Given that this is the season that went out of it's way to introduce her and is more or less the "Batgirl season", it's odd that she be so totally absent from the finale, especially when she wasn't in the previous episode either. Not to mention that her particular brand of humor could have been a nice counter to DAVE's sardonic sadism. I certainly wouldn't have minded seeing Batgirl's reaction to DAVE, and vice-versa.

But that one small thing doesn't do much to detract from what is otherwise an excellent episode. I always like it when even a rough season of a TV show ends on a high note, and that was definitely the case here.

Final Grade: A

Overall:

I regret to say that, following the mostly good Season 1 and the exemplary Season 2, this season was a lot rougher in overall quality. It wasn't terrible overall, but the worst episode in the whole series being here, plus another sub-par episode and two more that were not bad but could have gone to other villains who needed more appearances, are all hard things to ignore.

For the record, I do not in any way blame the inclusion of Batgirl. While it is true that my two favorite episodes of this season did not involve her, and all but one of the four worst episodes did, that is mere coincidence. Consider also that my absolute least favorite episode did not feature her, and what's more, many of the best Season 4 and 5 episodes involved her. But really, Batgirl's inclusion did not necessarily mark any kind of significant quality change in either direction. She was simply a fun addition that shook up the status quo, which is not wrong. I also noted from the start that I liked this show's take on Batgirl, and I do. No, this season being weaker has nothing to do with Batgirl.

All that being said, this is indeed a weaker season. It is not a terrible season, and I certainly don't view it in relation to Seasons 1 and 2 that, say, most Arrow fans view that show's third season, but overall this season was indeed weaker than it's two predecessors. It still had plenty of good episodes and moments and a lot to love, however. Tune in next time for when I tackle what is to me the absolute best of the seasons: Season 4.

Thank God we're never going to see Cash Tankenson ever again.

Final Grade: B

Top 10 Episodes:

1. Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind

2. The Icy Depths

3. Thunder

4. RPM

5. A Fistful of Felt

6. Batgirl Begins Two-Parter

7. Fleurs Du Mal

8. Brawn

9. The Apprentice

10. A Dark Knight to Remember

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