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Episode #29 - A Fistfull of Felt
Original Airdate - October 8th, 2005

The Batman sends The Ventriloquist and Scarface to Arkham where the duo is evaluated by Hugo Strange. Strange uses the opportunity to separate Arnold Wesker from the dummy, but is Wesker really free of the nasty little puppet?

Reviews by The Penguin
Media by Bird Boy
Credits
Written by Steven Melching
Directed by Anthony Chun
Music by Thomas Chase Jones
Animation by Dongwoo Animation Co., LTD.

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman
Alastair Duncan as Alfred
Kevin Michael Richardson as The Joker
Tom Kenny as The Penguin
Frank Gorshin as Prof. Hugo Strange
Dan Castellaneta as Scarface / Wesker / Mr. Snoots
John DiMaggio as Rhino/Mugsy

Video

Screen Grabs






Pans


Review

"You?! How could you?! For once I was happy! Why couldn't you stay out of my life?!"

For the first time since episode nine, Arnold Wesker and Scarface return. The Ventriloquist is a good villain for multiple episodes, but he's not one that you can use over and over and over again. Wesker's story is strong, but since it revolves around the pain of his own psychosis you can't use it two or three times a season. Wesker requires a special story and that's what we got here.

Dan Castellaneta turns in another strong performance as the conflicted Ventriloquist and Scarface and brings in Mr. Snoots for a trifecta of voices. During the time that Wesker was "cured," Castellaneta got to explore a happier side of the conflicted children's performer. The added history via the news report was a nice touch. Other than the obvious we didn't know much about Wesker before.

The cameo by The Joker and Penguin was a nice extra and added to the Arkham atmosphere. We have rarely seen the rogues incarcerated so it was good to see that they aren't just always running around Gotham waiting for The Batman to catch them again. The entire Arkham segment was well-done. Strange's additional probing of Wesker was somewhat suspect and he seemed overly intrigued as he watched The Ventriloquist interact with the puppet on his hand. The scene where the orderlies pulled Scarface from Wesker's hand made for a powerful moment and you could tell that Arnold felt naked.

Getting the giant penny in the Batcave after battling with a one-man duo in the opening was a nice nod. The trophy room is really starting to grow. Can a dinosaur be far behind?

This was a classic example how Batgirl, while a good addition to the show, is not always good for it. This episode was a well-done as The Batman tried to figure out whether or not Wesker was reformed, but if they had tried to shoehorn Batgirl in this story it would have become crowded and on episode four of the season, fans would have been calling for her removal.

"You have quite an interesting friend there Mr. Wesker. Tell me, why do you allow him to speak to you that way?"

Professor Hugo Strange and his motivations got a lot more interesting by the end of this episode. He's always been questionable at best, but blatantly putting Wesker back with Scarface and ruining his treatment is completely unethical. I'm not sure if Strange really viewed that as part of Wesker's therapy or if he really is that sadistic. It's a shame this was the last time the late Frank Gorshin will be providing the voice. Strange's voice didn't make you go, "Hey, that's Frank Gorshin!" but he will still be greatly missed.

It may be another 20 episodes before we see The Ventriloquist and Scarface again, but I'm making a rule right now that on his next appearance Scarface isn't allowed to run over by a subway, a train or anything else that runs on tracks. And that doesn't mean I want to him hit by a bus or run over by the Batmobile either.

 

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