The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 66: “Sideshow”

In this episode, we tackle the challenging topic of behavioral reformation. Can criminal offenders really reform? Is criminality something a person can overcome? Or is a law-breaking lifestyle simply inevitable because it denotes something psychologically deeper? This episode focuses on one of our favorite characters: The misunderstood reptilian villain, Killer Croc. After escaping from his guards during transport, Killer Croc flees into a forest and encounters a “family” of circus folk who offers him reprieve in their isolated cabin. Like Croc, all members of his new community have an oddity, but seem to have found a way to coexist in a supportive and harmonious compound by seeing their differences as strengths. Croc is offered food, shelter, and work — he’s essentially embraced by this social group that is unaware of his “dangerous” past.  Despite this potential “clean slate,” Croc continues to see himself as different… and dangerous.

Studies have shown that criminal reform IS possible, but requires the individual to discover a sense of productivity and purpose. They must 1) find a way to make sense of their criminal or anti-social past; 2) find fulfillment in new, productive behaviors; and 3) feel a sense of control about their future.  We explore whether Croc is offered these opportunities and why he may continue to struggle with his identity and purpose in society. In one of the most memorable Killer Croc episodes, we witness a psychological experiment that puts nature vs. nurture to the ultimate test.

The Arkham Sessions is a podcast dedicated to the psychology of the show, Batman: The Animated Series.  Have psychology related questions about Batman? Write to us via twitter @ArkhamSessions or on Facebook. Or visit our official website.

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