By shroudofsorrow 8 Comments
Been a while, but now I'm finally doing my review of the fourth (and in my opinion best), season of The Batman.
S401: A Matter of Family
Coming from someone who did not at all mind Batgirl coming in before Robin and actually really liked the show's take on Batgirl, I think we all knew that we were going to get Robin sooner or later. And man, what an intro episode it is.
Now, it's clear that this episode owes a huge debt to the BtAS two-parter "Robin's Reckoning", as this episode borrows heavily from that two-parter in terms of how it tells the Robin origin story. On the one hand, this may seem like a lazy choice, but on the other hand, those episodes did the origin story so well that I can't really fault the writers for not wanting to mess with a classic (especially considering how, when this show did try to be different, it often got flack for it).
No, I appreciate that this episode is overall pretty faithful to "Robin's Reckoning", at least the flashback parts of those episodes. The story here, being only one episode long, is simpler, but much of the emotional weight remains intact and a lot of what was done right in Robin's Reckoning was done here. Obviously, Robin's Reckoning will always be superior, but this is a perfectly adequate re-telling of the Robin origin that also serves it's purpose within the confines of the show: it introduces this show's version of Robin and does it with the right amount of tact and tragedy. It's also hard to go wrong casting Mark Hamill (well known as The Joker in the DCAU) as here a different Batman villain, one who he makes much more memorably sinister than usual (Tony Zucco not exactly being a household name in Batman's Rogues Gallery). Similarly, having John Grayson be voiced by the great Kevin Conroy is a wonderful touch, as the two veterans again voice Gothamites, but different ones this time around. And though it wouldn't come until later, I also like how Mary Grayson is voiced by Grey DeLisle, Catwoman's future Arkhamverse and IGAU actress.
I also have to give them credit for doing Robin's costume right. Not that it would be hard, as Tim Drake in the comics at the time plus Robin in the Teen Titans cartoon had both set the precedent by then, but even so, I do love his costume here. The "split cape" actually looks kind of nifty, and helps to further contrast it from Batman's cape.
While I find it rather difficult to believe that Batman could ever be endangered by someone like Tony Zucco, I did still like the action here well enough, the big highlight being the fight in the nightclub as an understandably very angry Batman makes it clear he's out for the Zucco's blood. Truth be told, I almost wish the fight had been even more vicious to highlight Batman's righteous anger, but I suppose that even this cartoon could only get away with so much.
In all, while it's inferior to "Robin's Reckoning", this episode is by no means a pale substitue. Rather, it's a well done retelling of that episode's story, and it does a bang-up job of bringing Robin into a cartoon he was arguably overdue to appear in, while also having some nice guest voices from DCAU veterans.
Final Grade: A
S402: Team Penguin
Sometimes, episodes in a serious show built around comedy fail or are just plain a bad idea. Other times, they work.
This is one such time.
I had mentioned in my assessment of Season 3 that, after "The Icy Depths" none of Penguin's subsequent appearances warranted keeping him alive. Well, when I said that, I had completely forgotten about this episode, and I now rescind my earlier statement, because this is one of (if not the best), of Penguin's appearances throughout the series.
Firstly, the notion of several Batman villains coming together to bring down the Dark Knight is such a perfectly logical move it's a wonder it doesn't happen in either the show or the comics more often. Second, I like how it was mostly less major villains working with Penguin, as it gave such characters another moment to shine. Considering Firefly's next major appearance is the disappointing "Phosphorus" episode in Season 5, this is pretty much the character's last real highlight (I especially love when he suggests the villains call themselves "The Gotham Gangsters", only for Penguin to lay down the law). Killer Croc going from "smarter than you look" to "team brute" may seem a disappointing step backwards, but at the same time, his incredulousness regarding Penguin's wanting them to steal a penguin statue was great, and so was his "you couldn't lead us out of a paper bag!" line. Ragdoll was just nice to see again after his being the villain in the best Catwoman episode in the show, and Killer Moth's transformation into Charaxes led to one of the stronger character redesigns in this show, not to mention some good action. I also love how he remains a total doofus/Penguin's sycophant even after mutating into a giant monster. Makes sense though; it was only his body that got changed, not his mind.
On the hero side, we got the first meeting between Batgirl and Robin. Some predictable bickering and in-fighting ensued, but I actually thought the episode could have been much worse in that regard, and I honestly loved some of their back-and-forth, and how Batman has become basically the "parent figure" to these two bickering kids. The back-and-forth between the two sidekicks will remain a consistent high-point of Season 4, so it's nice that that starts here.
As already noted, the action was good. A team of heroes Vs. a team of villains is an easy recipe for success, and I like how Team Penguin was more formidable than the tensions between members would suggest. As Batman himself notes, they handled themselves well, and we got some cool teamwork moments from them during the battle involving the oil barrels in particular.
As a side-note, I did enjoy the movie Penguin was fond of, and I especially like how all of the Team Penguin VAs voiced one of the thieves in the movie, but that it was ones who's roles were different from their's (Ron Pearlman, for instance, voices the leader of the thieves, not Tom Kenny). Nice touch that also shows better creativity than just going the predictable route of each villain and each corresponding thief having the same VA.
For more good humor moments, I loved Ragdoll's mockery of Killer Moth and Batgirl's brief moment of one-upmanship over Robin being foiled when Batman casually reveals her secret identity to him.
In all, I really enjoyed this episode. I understand that comedy stories and Batman tend not to mix, but every now and then one can pull off something fun and entertaining. This was definitely that, as well as bringing Batman and his two different sidekicks together as one fighting force. In all, the episode was, to quote Penguin's inspiration here: "A blueprint for success".
Final Grade: A
Following two home-run episodes, Season 4 takes a slight step back in quality with it's third episode that introduces who is for many Batman fans the Clayface. By no means is this episode bad, but it is also not on the level of most of the other Season 4 episodes. For one, as much as I'm happy that Ethan Bennet finally got his redemption in this episode, it does seem a bit awkward after the episode "Meltdown" which seemed to suggest that Ethan Bennet was gone for good. So not only is this episode almost a retcon in that regard, but the absence of Ellen Yin (who had as strong a bond with Bennet as Bruce), is also perplexing.
All of that out of the way, there was still a lot to like about this episode: like "Team Penguin", this episode is overall more comedic in tone, but it works. Basil Karlo is supposed to be hammy and over-the-top, and this show's conception of him as exactly that is pretty on-point. Truth be told, he's such a spotlight lover here, I don't think it would have been out of the question to have him use shapeshifting to give himself a costume (such as the one worn by the third Clayface in the comics). After all, he lives for the spotlight, why not wear something visually distinct and elaborate to go along with his over-the-top nature? This is, after all, part of why it makes sense for superheroes and villains to wear the costumes in the first place; elaborate and distinct clothes for larger than life people.
But besides nailing Basil Karlo Clayface, the episode also deserves credit for some visually impressive Clayface action, including a fight between the two Clayfaces that this episode would not have been complete without. I also have to admit to loving this, having even recited it multiple times just because I enjoy it so much:
Judy: (In a fancy British accent): Pardon me, sir...you're plan, how does one put it? Stinks on ice.
Punch: (Also in a fancy British accent): I must concur, Jude
Joker: Okay, one: you never, ever talk to me like that, and two: when do you two ever talk at all?
So, like I said, this episode wasn't perfect, and it just doesn't quite reach the highs of nearly all the other Season 4 episodes, but having said that, I still enjoyed this episode. It does make it seem like the writers wanted to have their cake and eat it too where Ethan Bennet's time as a villain was concerned, but even so it was a nice enough episode. It's just a pity that we never see Ethan again after this, he like Ellen Yin sadly vanishing without a trace. More's the pity.
Final Grade: B
S404: The Everywhere Man
Ah. Back on track.
Funny enough, this episode was written by the guy who did most of the previous Clayface episodes (the great Greg Weisman). As it is, this is a much stronger and more fun episode than the solid-but-not-great "Clayfaces", and returns Season 4 to it's winning streak.
Yes, "The Everywhere Man" has a weird costume, though I must confess to having a certain soft spot for it myself (I like the orange/white color scheme and usually enjoy full-face covering masks). And, it's not as though Marvel's Multiple Man ever really wore much better. And in any case, he's a fun villain with a great premise, especially considering it leads to one of the absolute best fight scenes in the series as Batman, Robin, and a small army of clones of the latter engage the Everywhere Men in a very nicely designed environment that so far as I can tell is some kind of garden. And, Brandon Routh does a good job with the voice, this being a far better turn for him in DC media than the dreadful "Superman Returns" (though also losing out to his later turn as Ray Palmer in the Arrowverse).
The story has a smartly written quality to it, and I feel that this episode more than others does a great job capturing Batman's cerebral/detective nature. Truth be told I almost got a bit of a Sherlock Holmes vibe off of him here, which is a good thing. I especially love how he outsmarts Everywhere Man not once, but twice. Just goes to show that Greg has a solid handle on Batman's character that would serve him well when he later did Young Justice.
I must say I also liked the characterization of the "real" John Marlowe. He's not necessarily a character who would work as a recurring presence, but as a one-off ally he wasn't bad. I kind of like the juxtaposition of "science nerd" and "art lover", as you don't generally see the two go together.
In all, this was a fun episode with a cool one-shot villain. Much like the man he/they are clones of, the Everywhere Man/Men would probably not work as recurring villains, but as a one-off baddie that Batman defeats once and for good, he/they works very well. Almost wish we'd gotten other similar such episodes. Sometimes a cool one-off villain can be a fun change of pace.
Final Grade: A
S405: The Breakout
Remember how I mentioned that the interactions between Robin and Batgirl where a consistent high-point for Season 4? Well, nowhere is that more true than here, as this episode focuses much more on Batman's proteges than on Batman himself.
Instead of their mostly bickering relationship in "Team Penguin", here Robin and Batgirl work together and trade banter near-effortlessly, and their teamwork gets it's high point in this episode as they do their best to keep back an army of specialized goons from laying siege to the GCPD. There's definitely a "desperate last stand" quality to that, but Batgirl and Robin also show themselves to be capable and resourceful in their own right, holding firm even as they threaten to crack under pressure. Some may roll their eyes at how two kids do so well against a bunch of adults, but Batgirl and Robin are supposed to be competent sidekicks, and this episode does a better job than almost any other at driving that point home.
That, and their banter and chemistry here is excellent. I especially love their getting snacks inside the GCPD (they are teenagers, after all), while simultaneously wondering how a criminal with a mugshot got his eyepatch. Batgirl's finish of "he probably just thinks eyepatches are cool" is hilarious, and on the other end of the spectrum, there's also a nice moment where Batgirl consoles a steadily panicking Robin and reassures him, showing these two are good for more than just kicking butt and cracking wise; when push comes to shove, they know how to get serious. Honestly, I really wish we had seen more such "quiet/serious" moments with these two, as what little we got here suggests the actors were capable of even more if they'd been given the opportunity.
As for Black Mask, he was an acceptable villain. I thought it odd that he of all people would get the role of "kingpin with hi-tech goons and private mercenary force", but I suppose he's not that inappropriate a choice. In any case, his voice actor does a great job giving him the appropriate amount of anger and humorlessness, and I must say I do love how he first congratulates his "Number One" for rescuing him only to then immediately turn on him for "letting children slow him down". Obviously nowhere near as bad as what comic Black Mask is known to do, but such things would never get past even Cartoon Network's relatively lax S&P. He was still a suitably nasty villain who served his purpose for the episode. That, and his henchmen look totally badass, and I especially love the sort of "orange lightsaber clubs/tonfas" they were packing. Cool.
In all, this is one of many gems of Season 4. As someone who loves Batman's proteges as well as Batman himself, this was arguably their finest hour in this entire series. Dick and Babs may not have ever shown any romantic interest in each-other in this series, but their relationship still reaches new depths here that it had previously lacked, and ensures that the two of them are really at their best together instead of just one without the other.
Final Grade: A
S406: Strange New World
Now this was a fun one. Not that other episodes aren't fun you understand, but this one in particular was a highlight (you may have caught on by now, that Season 4 is filled to the brim with these).
For obvious reasons, this is an especially dark episode, completely the opposite of Team Penguin in tone, but that's actually a good thing. Much as I loved that episode, darkness is still the preferred tone for Batman most of the time, and this episode absolutely delivers in that regard. Zombie apocalypse stories are nothing new, but this one has the hook of it being Batman and Robin (and then just Batman), against a city filled with zombies, becoming increasingly addled, desperate, and almost crazed. The scene where Robin begins to suffer similarly under the stress is a great moment that highlights just how dark and serious this episode is. And of course, even better, there's a nice twist at the end. I won't spoil what that twist is (even though most people by now have probably seen the episode and know exactly what it is), but I will say that for me at least, the twist was one I didn't see coming and worked as a surprise. So that's good.
Yes, the zombie designs are freaky and grotesque...but that's a good thing! They're zombies! They ain't supposed to look pretty. And they certainly don't. The awkward, creepy movements in their fighting style is also nice, because it sets them apart visually from all the other fights in this cartoon. And of course, the "fiery" color palette to the present day parts of the story give Gotham an appropriately hellish/apocalyptic vibe that is just right for the story. And yes, I do love the "Apocalyptic Log" nature of Batman's journal narration. I'm a sucker for that particular trope.
In all, this was yet another home-run for a Season filled with them, as good of a dark episode as "Team Penguin" was a light-hearted romp.
Final Grade: A
This should have been the series finale.
No, seriously. As an episode where both parts of it take place in the future, and it ends with the note that Batman's legacy will live on even 1,000 years into the future, it's just such a powerful and awesome note to end a Batman series on. Especially when the actual Series Finale was, while not bad, not holding a candle to this episode.
One of the things I love about this episode is in how it not only goes for an appropriately dark and almost apocalyptic tone in how this is Batman and Mr. Freeze's "final fight", but we also get various little things that emphasize how different Gotham is by 2027; Ellen Yin and Ethan Bennet are in the GCPD with the former as Commissioner (a nice nod to a character who should have never been written out of the series). Barbara is Oracle and Richard is Nightwing. Batman has a scar over one eye. It's all these little details that enhance the story. I also think it was smart to keep everything focused on the airport, because it allows the writers to avoid showing too much of Gotham City and thus not having to spend time guessing (probably incorrectly), what a future city would actually look like. Of course, what little we do see makes it seem like not much time at all has passed, but to be fair Gotham is a sort of "frozen in time" city anyway.
And yes, Mr. Freeze's "The Dark Knight Returns" line is pure badass.
As always, the action is good, and Mr. Freeze's "upgraded suit" is pretty awesome. Myself I prefer his standard design, but this "V2" ain't bad either. Seeing Nightwing in action was also fun, even if he sadly didn't do much (though I did like the joke of how both Batman and Oracle still call him "Robin").
The stuff set even farther into the future is also cool. I love seeing a scenario where Batman has become a figure of legend akin almost to classic fairy tales or perhaps King Arthur. It's amusing the different ways these scientists get things wrong (mistaking Bruce Wayne for Robin for instance), but my favorite parts would be their mistaking Oracle's wheelchair for Alfred's (since it leads into the reveal that she is indeed crippled), and the female scientist noting that no one knows or remembers how Batman finally died (a nice way to keep our hero's fate open-ended).
To stress again, this absolutely should have been the series finale. Especially since "The Joining" being the solid season finale that it was plus leading into the theme of Season 5 precludes this episode taking it's place as the Season 4 finale. This is one of my all-time favorite episodes of the show, and definitely the best episode of this season (and that is really saying something).
Final Grade: A
S408: Two of a Kind
Oh look, yet another episode that's a home-run. But then, when it's the only episode Paul Dini actually wrote, that isn't surprising.
Fittingly, Paul's one writing turn is giving us an alternate take on the fan-favorite character he made for BtAS in what was now over a quarter-century ago (amazing how time flies, huh?). While the "classic" Harley Quinn origin story will always reign supreme, this is a great "alternate take", and I give Paul Dini credit for being able to come up with a different Harley Quinn origin that still pays homage to her cartoon/comic roots as he imagined them. So again, not the best Harley Quinn or Harley Quinn origin story, but a perfectly acceptable alternative.
That, and I must say that Hynden Walch does a pretty good job imitating the voice of Harley's original VA. She's not Arleen Sorkin, but she still sells the role.
That, and this episode is just plain hilarious. Honestly, I might even argue this is the single funniest episode in the entire show. For the highlights:
Joker (After watching a bit of Harley's talk show): Pop psychology at it's worst! That girl's theories are unfounded, her professional manner's a joke, and her training, if any, is shoddy at best! (Beat) I love this show!
After Batgirl and Robin see Bruce on Harley's show:
- Batgirl: He's faced some bad sneak-attacks, but nothing like this.
- Robin: We have to help him!
- Batgirl: It's too late, Robin. There's nothing we can do.
Batgirl (After Batman deduces Joker's motives for seeking out Harleen): And join us again next week when Batman analyzes the Freudian implications of Penguin's umbrella!
Joker (As he and and Harley are plummeting, and Harley is screaming): Fear not, my dear! Salvation is at hand! (Takes out an umbrella. Harley screams louder).
Yeah. This episode is pure comedy gold, even better than "Team Penguin" in this regard. And, it must be said, that Joker and Harley's "falling in love montage" to the song "Setting the Woods on Fire" is one of my Top 5 favorite moments in the entire show. So...yeah. I think this episode's getting the grade that it does is pretty obvious at this point.
Final Grade: A
And on the winning streak goes! While this episode doesn't rank quite as high with me as most of the others, it's still an excellent episode, giving us the closest thing this show had to Clock King (truth be told, I've always thought of "Francis" here as being this DCU's Clock King). His ability to turn back time to repeat something until he succeeds is a neat trick to be sure, and one that makes him a deceptively powerful foe for Batman and company despite the absence of a cool costume or code-name. He actually technically wins in the end, though arguably owing to some jobbing on Batman's part. Still, he was another good one-shot villain, and also one who makes the right choice in the end when offered a second chance. Kudos also to Dave Foley for doing a nice job with the role, and I especially love how some of his rewinds are to undo terrible one-liners that he's said! Sure, the explanation for how he got his powers is pretty weak, but his origin story is sympathetic (though I must say that the accidental disaster he causes just from trying to steal a watch is pretty funny, whether intentionally so or not).
As always, Batgirl and Robin bounce off of each-other well, and I especially like the more "casual" moment where everyone's out of costume and just chilling in Wayne Manor. I also love how Batgirl notes that poisons always seem to be green and openly wonders why they can't be pink. I wonder the same thing, Babs (whoops, forgot she doesn't like being called that!)
For obvious reasons, the action takes a bit of a backseat in this episode, but that actually isn't a bad thing. I kind of like how Batman actually gets just a bit of a mystery to solve here, if only the question of how a common thief can so easily (or seemingly easily) outmaneuver him. I may accept that "The Batman" is an action-oriented show, and I don't begrudge it for focusing on the action, but this episode is a good example of how sometimes, it's better for even an action show to focus more on story and less on fisticuffs.
Final Grade: A-
S410: Riddler's Revenge
As someone who loved this take on the Riddler and really wished he had more appearances, it would be no surprise I took to this episode. And as written by the great Stan Berkowitz, Riddler's last major appearance on the show is a great send-off, perhaps fittingly, ending with how it all began.
First off, I should say I love the scenario of "hero and villain are trapped and forced to work together". And with this one, we get to see Riddler lower his guard for a moment and open up to ironically his chief nemesis as he explains how and why he came to be what he is. Now, either you'll feel sorry for Riddler or you won't based on his origins. I myself felt just a little sorry for him. He's no DCAU Mr. Freeze, but I still think that Stan Berkowitz did a good job of making him sympathetic, and Robert Englund did an equally good job voicing the usual sinister and sadistic Riddler, but also a more vulnerable Edward Nygma. And, I have to say, if you're gonna hear a narrated story, Robert Englund's voice is a nice one to listen to. The flashback to Batman's first fight with Edward Nygma was also nice. As always, the riddles are fun.
The twist regarding Riddler's betrayal is predictable, but it does add to the tragedy of the character (seeing as the one person he really loved stabbed him in the back), but to be fair, Batman does lampshade the obviousness of it.
While the Riddler origin story/revenge attempt is the meat of this episode, I must say I did love Richard Grayson's deadpan teacher. Whoever voiced him nailed it perfectly, and I particularly got a kick out of the "rat poison" bit of sarcasm.
As I mentioned repeatedly, Riddler deserved more episodes. Robert Englund did such a terrific job voicing him and the writers usually made sure to give him some great lines, including in this episode. He really deserved more than what he got. Still, we should be thankful for what little we got, especially when it includes an episode this good. Definitely the best of Stan Berkowitz's few writing credits on this show in my mind.
Also, I must say, I'm surprised they got a name as big as Brooke Shields in on this.
Final Grade: A
This here is an episode that, while not as good as most of the other Season 4 episodes, was nevertheless still better upon second viewing.
Firstly, yes, the reveal of who Rumor is is predictable, and yes, the writing's a bit heavy-handed in regards to the whole "it's morally right to spare even the bad guy's lives" bit, as well as Rumor being motivated more by guilt than good intentions, but having said that, Rumor was a reasonably cool vigilante villain, and I especially loved his 1) Electrified staff, 2) Invisibility, and 3) Ron Pearlman doing the voice. Concerning that last one, I find it amusing that the first villain we see him bring down is the same one Ron Pearlman voices (Killer Croc).
It was also nice to see so many Batman villains active all at once. While it feels like Joker and Croc got captured much too easily, seeing so many villains fighting as one was cool, and I also like how the writers were able to make Batman and Robin's taking them down feel convincing rather than making it seem like the villains were jobbing. Things such as tricking Mr. Freeze into freezing a lot of his fellows for instance, helped even the odds and make it more believable that Batman and Robin could beat so many villains at once. The visual of Joker and Harley each fighting one of the Dynamic Duo as the latter went back-to-back was also pretty cool.
And yes, it was nice to see Catwoman again, even if her inclusion didn't amount to much. I did however, love how after Rumor revealed his identity and motivations, Catwoman noted that she should have known it would be the Joker's fault, which is by far the funniest moment in the episode. Still, that this is Catwoman's final appearance (and the final appearance of many of these other villains too for that matter), leaves a rotten taste in the mouth.
So, in all, this was in no way a terrible episode, and I did enjoy it much more the second time around, but at the same time I still feel that it could have been better (less heavy-handedness with some of the writing and more of Catwoman namely). But still, it's not bad, and if this is one of the weakest episodes Season 4 had to offer, then I'd say it was in good shape.
Final Grade: B
S412 and S413: The Joining
Now this was one heck of a finale!
Firstly, the introduction of Martian Manhunter was awesome. He was well-voiced and well-written as a strange, new presence in Gotham, but one who could easily hold his own in a verbal exchange with Bruce Wayne/Batman (truth be told their scene in the diner was actually my very favorite of their interactions in the entire series). His power was definitely nerfed, but that's probably only right given the nature of the story. But, much like how Season 2 ended with major changes to the status quo, Season 4 does the same thing here; with the introduction of MMH in Part 1, and the reveal of the Justice League in Part 2, this particular DCU officially expands beyond just Batman's corner, and I like that a lot. Definitely the show has come a long way from the relatively grounded nature of Season 1, and while some people may frown upon that, I actually like it. The DCU is a big place, so I like how this show took it's time but ultimately got around to expanding.
On the villain side, the Joining were nothing remarkable as alien villains. They were basically just an excuse to have an alien invasion story, but to be fair they did serve that role admirably. Even so, I might have preferred seeing the comic book "Dominators" instead.
Once again, the Batgirl/Robin dynamic was great. The scene the above image is from is hilarious, because of how it reminds us that, they may be badass superheroes, but they're still ultimately kids too, and they're attempts to come to grips with Batman's over-protectiveness together as well as their temporary suspicions that Alfred might be an alien robot, are hilarious. Alfred's response to the latter too is also great, as is his interaction with Lucius Fox during the big battle (who finally makes his debut here in what is for me a solid take on the character. I especially like his interactions with his robot counterpart).
Seeing the villains team up with the police to beat back the aliens was a lot of fun, and their only mistake is not doing more with that. I'd have loved to have seen more villains such as Catwoman (who has an altruistic streak in general), Man-Bat, Harley, and others pitch in, along with perhaps at least one of them noting that it's their city too. But, that's neither here nor there.
The "value of teamwork" message in Part 2 is laid on a little thick and is a tad heavy-handed, but at this point it's a Batman-storytelling tradition for the obstinately "friend-phobic" Dark Knight to be taught the hard way that he has friends and disciples for a reason. So, on the one hand, it could have been handled with just a bit less bluntness, but on the other hand, I appreciate it's presence. And, I love the dynamic between Batman and his pseudo-kids here so much that I'm willing to let it slide.
In all, while not perfect, this two-parter is still excellent, and a great way to finish off a strong season while also paving the way for the next season's (actually dubious) status quo.
Final Grade: A- for both parts
This, my friends, is the golden season. No seriously. Season 2 was excellent, Season 1 was mostly good, and Season 3 was rocky but overall still pretty good. This Season though, is just on a whole other level. I mean, the overwhelming majority of the episodes got the highest grade out of me! Eight A grade episodes! Add to that the three A- grade episodes, and hardly any episodes of the season weren't in the A-range! And the only ones that were were both Bs. Simply put, that's a winning streak no other season matched.
There was just a strong sense of confidence in this season; nearly every episode had a clear hook that was executed extremely well and competently, and the presence of such names as Greg Weisman, Paul Dini, and Stan Berkowitz was clearly an asset. One of the biggest problems of the series as a whole (over-usage of Penguin), was less pronounced here, as one of his only appearances this season was a great episode and in fact his best one. Suffice to say, it's clear that, after three seasons of trial and (some) error, the writers had really refined the show to the high point on display here. I regret to say, that the following season proved to be nowhere near a worthy follow-up, making The Batman a good example of a show that perhaps lasted one season too many. But, however mixed a bag the final season was, at least we had this season first.
Final Grade for Season: A
Top 10 Episodes:
2. A Matter of Family
3. The Breakout
4. Riddler's Revenge
5. Two of a Kind
6. The Everywhere Man
7. Strange New World
8. Team Penguin
9. The Joining