Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
Beware the Batman: “Control” Review – He’s So Batman[Though it should scarce bear mentioning, spoilers reside ahead. Ye hast been warned.] People should just learn to never be by themselves because whenever someone is by themselves, something bad happens. A lonely, old architect is tonight’s opening victim in this week’s episode of Beware the Batman. The artist is working alone before a green Spiderman scuttles across the ceiling and inserts his neon green glowsticks into the nape of his neck and takes his brain for a joyride. It instantly gives purpose to the episode’s title of “Control”. I like the name “green brain puppeteer” but it seems our villain’s name is “Cypher” and, boy, are there so many good (read: “creepy”) shots of this Cypher guy. I mean for the first half of the show, you don’t even see him with his feet on the ground: he’s always plastered to the ceiling like some secret-stealing green mold.
I feel the need to admit that I had to bring my fan instincts back into check during this episode when I found myself repeating “He’s so Batman!” whenever Bruce did something cool like take down Katana with minimal effort. Primarily because that phrase doesn’t even mean anything or make the vaguest bit of sense. I did appreciate the beginning spar; it was a nice way to quickly detail the difference in skill between Batman and Katana.
After Tatsu left to go on a “kind of romantic but she’s still denying it so it’s not” date with Jason Burr, the developer of the Ion Cortex that the League desires, we get treated to another use of the Batsignal. Though how everyone else in the city doesn’t notice a bat-shaped spotlight in the sky is beyond me. The moment after Gordon sent the other cop to get himself half a dozen donuts instead of a full dozen — his wife wants him to keep his figure, so don’t judge him! — was another one of those “He’s so Batman!” moments for me. Being a ghost is basically a part of the job description for Batman but, as Gordon can no doubt attest to, it doesn’t even matter if you’re expecting it. I still find it cool.
I do like that Gordon and Batman are, for all intents and purposes, allies now. And though I think their partnership might have happened a bit too fast for my liking, I am placated by the fact that Gordon is not yet at the stage where he will openly fraternize with Batsy. It leaves a bit more room for the show to toy with Batman’s relationship with Gotham City’s law enforcement. We get to see detective Batman again as he is able to pick up minute details like graphite on the architect’s ears and the place where Cypher plugged into his brain. It took him a couple of seconds and the information that the architect drew up the plans for the Wayne Industries building to figure out that the League had sent another goon after Jason Burr and the Ion Cortex.
Back at the Wayne Industries building, we get to see the cute, burgeoning relationship between Tatsu and Jason. It should not come as a surprise because it’s been hinted at from the moment Tatsu didn’t immediately shut Jason down. Besides it fits into the classic “cool girl falls for the nerd boy due to his relentless sincerity” trope. We can, at the very least, say that the relationship doesn’t come off as forced which is something quite a few shows cannot. Although it might have been a little reckless to build a prototype energy manipulator to flex your nerd muscles and toy with a skyscraper’s lights. But, all credit to Jason, before it sputtered and fizzed out like a crushed candle, it was, as Tatsu said, pretty amazing. No wonder the League wants it.
As soon as Batman arrives on the scene, saving Tatsu from the first instance of having her mind melded with Cypher’s, we get to see more instances of her using her heart and not her head as Bruce told her in their spar. It’s just decision after bad decision until she gets caught and then Batman has to deal with the issue of weird, levitating combat against both Jason and Tatsu.
There’s a lot about Cypher that makes me feel like this is his first day on the job. The first piece of evidence being that he thought he could control Batman’s mind. The second being that, for some reason, he thought that Batman doesn’t have a way of opening his own handcuffs. Newness or not, Batman follows Cypher out of the building and into the…subway? Yes, strolling along casually like leashing two people by glow-y green tubes is as natural as exercising a dog. The civilians were suitably traumatized when Batman made his entrance. There’s some exposition and then everything is flipped on its side. And I don’t just mean the train car. Jason and Tatsu are freed and Cypher has control of Batman. For a very short time. And may I just say that, while having Batsy wrest back control from Cypher wasn’t completely out of left field, it was still cool to watch.
Tatsu planting a big, dramatic kiss right on brain-marionette Jason Burr, however, WAS out of left-field; might have even been from out of the stadium. Mostly because she had just gotten finished saying that everything Cypher’s puppets felt, Cypher himself felt. So she really wanted to kiss Cypher? I still don’t understand how it shorted out Cypher’s connection but I guess love conquers all, even neon cyborg brain puppeteers.
That sounds like a cool show, actually. Someone should get to making that.
The wrap up was neat and clean but it just would not have fit the “Beware the Batman”-style if they hadn’t teased the possibility of the villain coming back. And I knew it was true when as soon as we started panning back into Jason’s room, the cypher-green eyes were just the icing on the cake. Though I wonder in what capacity, Cypher will return: is he a vestigial personality left in Jason’s mind? I doubt he has taken over completely or else he would just walk himself over the League.
- Nice to see that the streets weren’t so empty what with other cars being seen on the highway when Batman was hightailing it back to save Tatsu and Jason.
- Though maybe the streets were so empty because the subway is much more used? However, I doubt it will be for quite a while as they’ll have to clean up that whole crashed train thing. I feel like Wayne Industries will make a sizable donation to help the city get that fixed.
- I was wondering: can Cypher only control the bodies movements or can he read their minds? Because I was very worried for Batman’s secret identity as soon as he caught Tatsu. I guess we’ll have to assume it was only a physical control.
- Everything in “Beware the Batman” is starting to focus in on the League of Assassins, I’m excited to see this plotline continue on.
“Oh, no problem. I’m totally comfortable with being the woman of the house.”