The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 35: “The Laughing Fish”

When Gotham Bay is plagued by a mysterious toxin, boatloads of fish are turning up with a grotesque disfigurement: The trademarked Joker perma-smile. Batman–working alone again– is energized to be back on The Joker’s trail, and soon learns that a binary compound of the toxin can affect humans, too. Written by Paul Dini and based on comic book stories by Denny O’Neil and Steve Englehart, this episode of Batman: The Animated Series packs the kind of action and adventure the show is known for. How can you not love a shark wrestling scene?

The Joker’s diagnosis: Signsof callousness, lack of remorse, and abuse

We revisit our analysis of The Joker, this time taking into account his relationship with Harley Quinn. In her second appearance in the series, Harley is depicted as a faithful, devoted partner to The Joker. Compared to “Joker’s Favor,” (Harley’s first appearance), their romantic involvement is much clearer, as is his abusive behavior toward her. We see additional signs of what’s considered “antisocial behavior”– a disregard of the law, lack of empathy toward others, and despite a self-assured, charming exterior, a willingness to harm others close to him. Harley is dangerously in the way of The Joker’s wild, impulsive antics. Is The Joker compassionate enough to save her? Listen to the episode for the full psychological analysis of this villainous pair!

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