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Episode #26 - Night and The City
Original Airdate - September 10th, 2005 - Second Season Finale

Joker, Penguin, and Riddler battle over control of the city, until finally deciding to settle their differences by giving all of Gotham over to whoever is able to capture and discover the true identity of the Batman.

Review by Jim Harvey
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 Steven Melching
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
Tom Kenny as Penguin
Robert Englund as Riddler
Jesse Corti as Chief Rojas
Mitch Pileggi as Commissioner Gordon

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Review

With this episode, the second season of The Batman comes to an end. "Night and The City" forces Batman to face off against three of his biggest foe, with the GCPD hot on his tail. And with Detective Yin's cover blown, all bets are off!

After watching this episode, my opinion has really changed on this series. I remember watching "The Bat and The Belfry" and being letdown. That feeling stuck around for most of the first season, until the season finale episode "The Rubberface of Comedy," and Clayface, came calling. The series did radical 180 change-up, bringing depth a villain and messing with the status quo. From there, aside from a few bumps, it's been pretty smooth sailing in season two.

The second season hasn't been perfect, but the good episodes far outweigh the poor. If you can get past "The Cat, The Bat, and the Very Ugly," then you're in for a shock. The second season has been somewhat maturing in tone. The puns, while still there, have been toned down. Granted, most of the villains remain a mixed bag, but the show has grown. It all comes together in yet another season finale, when the status quo is altered once again.

The Joker, Riddler and The Penguin all gunning after the Batman in one episode? Not really uninspired, I'll admit, but thankfully that takes a back seat to the main show - Batman and the GCPD. Detective Yin has her cover blown, with her connection to The Batman revealed. Now, the cops are out to capture the Batman by any means necessary. Just in time we're introduced to Commissioner Gordon, a supporter of The Batman. Believing he's fighting the good fight for Gotham's sake, he sides with The Batman. You can imagine the tension this causes the police department.

But remember, you have to get through that Joker/Riddler/Penguin stuff. Admittedly, it's not really that bad. It does sort of explain why Joker and Penguin have been popping up in every other episode - eight episode appearances for Joker, six for The Penguin - and gives motivation for the turf war between the three villains. The main purpose for this episode is to present Batman in a new light for the GCPD, and it does.

This episode features two major highlights for the series. First off, Commissioner Gordon is brought into the series as a recurring character. We're not introduced to Barbara, but that will happen in episode #27. She's mentioned briefly, but it's not distracting. It does feel like he pops out of nowhere to support Batman, but it's not too intrusive. He's quickly put into action and feels natural for the show. We also get The Bat-signal as well, premiering in the final moments of the episode during a rooftop Gordon/Batman scene. I wonder what the Bat-signal will mean for The Bat-Wave?

There are a couple problems with this episode, like Gordon's unexplained sudden appearance and the usual villain-plan plot holes, but it's quickly made up for. We get a well executed scene involving Batman, a dark room, and red laser targeting beams, and an actual sense of danger. The cops are just on his tail, and while they can't fire bullets, the shock bullets work just as well. Everything seems heightened a bit, and it pays off well in the episode's climax.

With the second season done (or at least the first half of the second season according to Kids'WB!), this show has really elevated itself. It's a fun rendition of Batman that features some of the best animation and CGI work on Saturday morning cartoons. It's sad to think that most fans of the older DC cartoons will hate it because they think this show is taking their place (which it isn't). There is some good stuff here, but those fans will be too stubborn to see anything but the flaws. It makes me wonder what the fans will think when the next "new" Batman cartoon premieres five – ten years down the line.

The marked improvement is hard to deny. Just look at the reviews for the first episode, which were pretty much 90% negative, and look at the reviews now -- completely different!

Once again, The Batman takes risks and changes the status quo once again, and it pays off. I really hope the quality continues into the third seaso and possibly beyond. The series has definitely found itself and has managed to fix a fair amount, but not all, of its' flaws. If the show can convert me, a die-hard Batman: The Animated Series fan until the day I die, than it should be able to convert anybody.

 

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