The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 46: “Almost Got ‘Im”

What happens when some of the most violent villains in Gotham get together in the same room? They compare stories of how they almost took down the Caped Crusader, of course! In the episode, “Almost Got ‘Im,” Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Two-Face, Killer Croc and The Joker discuss their most terrorizing traps and pernicious plots that nearly put a stop to Batman’s reign of order. Much like real-life criminals and serial killers, these high-profile sociopaths turn their stories of criminology into a competition. As they try to establish whose story is the best (i.e., the most vicious), we learn more and more about how each villain operates. Two-Face is guided by his precious coin, determined to make important decisions based on the ruling of a single token. The Penguin is too sophisticated to get blood on his own hands, instead constructing elaborate schemes involving deadly birds to trap Batman. The Joker employs the most tortuous, horrifying and humiliating methods to take down the Bat. Let’s just say he has a lot of giggles with an electric chair and a live audience. And yet, we learn much, much more about Batman himself in this insightful episode!

lfAs each villain describes his or her most impressive attempt at destroying Batman, we learn a lot about their psychology. Poison Ivy, for instance, explains her lack of empathy toward Batman (or humans in general) when she states, “I have a natural immunity against the pain and suffering of others.”  Two-Face laments that his power is also his weakness; if it weren’t for his coin, he would have actually “gotten” Batman. Harley Quinn quips about torturing animals in her early years, and we discuss how cruel, antisocial behavior can manifest early in life. We analyze each of the villains’ motivations and methods, but of course, this leads to our theories about Batman’s ongoing involvement with Gotham’s Rogues, and what their stories say about his psychological functioning and makeup. Why does he often let them go? Why does he continue to engage with them? Why does he participate in their destruction, violence and deceit? Is this a way that he can “justify” his own risky or harmful behavior? Our analysis of every episode of Batman: The Animated Series nears its 1-year anniversary with this memorable episode!


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3 Responses to “The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 46: “Almost Got ‘Im””

  1. Jason says:

    Great episode! Best one yet, followed closely by the Robin’s Reckoning two parter. Thanks for such a fun part of my week.

    Andrea, I was surprised you went into the hero complex stuff. It’s one of the darkest pet theories on the bat that’s out there. Batman keeps Arkham incompetent because the continued release of his rogues enables his need to keep being the hero; Gotham is his personal playground and won’t ever be corrected until he’s no longer running the show. This doesn’t apply to all depictions of Batman, for instance he abides being seen as a villain and even quits heroing in the Nolan trilogy. I don’t think it’s true overall, but just maybe shades of this bleed through, consciously or subconsciously.

    This discussion finally nailed down for me why the Joker is the ultimate Batman villain. There’s certainly to thematic ties between bats and clowns and Joker’s not particularly lower class. It’s because Batman operates in secret and Joker craves an audience. Joker is a perfect foil for Bats because he doesn’t just challenge him physically or mentally, he shatters Batman’s supernatural mythology by pushing him into the public eye and making him mortal, fallible, ridiculous. His extremely effective specter over the cowardly and superstitious is irreparably damaged by the one man who can think on his level and completely undermine it. Fear is Batman’s greatest weapon, but comedy is the death of fear.

    Something I’ve been wanting to post on this show but needed to get current on the episodes is why Batman exhibits so many symptoms with his villains of the week: each of his enemies embody a facet of the man that is Batman. Scarecrow exemplifies his usage of fear, Riddler his powerful mind, Bane his physical mastery, Penguin his fortune, Two-Face his multiple lives. The list goes on and extends into the comics villains and even his sidekicks. They are all relevant to a Batman story because they are explorations of another part of this incredibly complex individual. It’s been said before that Batman stories are only interesting because of the great villains and Bats himself is boring and rote; the truth is these villains wouldn’t work as well outside of their relationship to Batman because in the big picture it’s all about him.

    • Andrea says:

      Great points, Jason! I absolutely love your comparison between the Joker and Batman–one being the exhibitionist, the other needing to be elusive. Keep listening and thanks so much for the feedback!!! – Drea

  2. Chris says:

    I couldn’t get past with this episode is that all of it could be a lie. Well, apart from The Jokers story as that’s still happening in this episode, but for every other story, the people that are telling the story are the people that are trying to make themselves look good, and thus their stories can’t be trusted.
    It is the same problem as Ironman 3, the story is being relayed from one person to an other.

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