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Episode #20 - The Butler Did It
Original Airdate - August 20th, 2005

Spellbinder, a three-eyed mystic, with the ability to induce both hypnosis and visions, sets his sights on stealing the valuable Eye of Sarkana – mesmerizing Alfred to be his personal thief.

Review by Stu
Media by Gareb
Credits
Supervising Producer Duane Capizzi
Supervising Producer Michael Goguen
Producer Linda M. Steiner, Jeff Matsuda
Associate Producer Kimberley A. Smith
Written by Alexx Van Dyne
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Animation by DR Movie Co., LTD.
Music by Thomas Chase Jones

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman
Alastair Duncan as Alfred
Ming-Na as Detective Ellen Yin*
Kevin Michael Richardson as Joker*
Michael Massee as Spellbinder
Andre Sogliuzzo as Duncan

* - Credited, although didn't appear.

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Review

I was a little skeptical about this show introducing Spellbinder when I first heard he was going to appear, as I find they seem to have trouble with modern 'mainstream' villains, I was prepared to be horrified when I heard they were translating a cheesy villain from the 1950's. Much to my surprise, he's managed to surpass the majority of the villains in this show. It's not a difficult task at all, as there are only 2 villains worth writing home about.

Thankfully, instead of using a full 22 minutes on a villain who probably won't be used again, the episode actually developed its two main characters, Batman and Alfred. This episode is, so far, the only instance in the entire existence of The Batman in which I haven't felt like strangling Alfred. He manages to come across as a great supporting character, and he and Bruce managed to get a few laughs out of me. This show usually results in two or three 'eye roll' moments, but the only one that came here was Alfred figuring out Spellbinders plan. It wasn't a bad plan, not in the slightest, but Alfred managed to put 2, 2, 2 and another 2 together to come up with his conclusion, which left me with a simple reaction of "…what?", much like The Batman's evaluation of the Ethan becoming Clayface in Clayface Of Tragedy. Thankfully, the episode quickly moves on, and then the good part kicks in.

This is what I've been waiting for since I saw Batman kill most of Gotham's fish in 'The Bat And The Belfry'. Finally, The Batman displays some of those skills he spent years developing, in this case, his strength of mind to overcome Spellbinder's hallucinations. This was followed by a very cool sequence in which Batman chased Spellbinder through the sewers/his own fears. The creatures used to frighten Batman had some nifty designs. I would've loved to see some of his villains thrown in here for the hell of it though, as long as it wasn't The Joker or The Penguin.

The episode also features another "At long last!" moment that every single episode has been missing so far. Yes Ladies and Gentleman, the villain has…motivation! A genuine, good old-fashioned motive to his schemes! Spellbinder hypnotized everyone in order to steal a gem that gave him great power. It's nothing original, but at this point in the series, I was simply happy to see.

All in all, a good episode, with an interesting plot, great animation and boarding, a few laughs and a decent villain make this one of The Batman's better episodes. If the upcoming episodes live up to this quality, I'll consider this season a success!

 

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