Beware the Batman Ep 2 Review: Secrets
This week the second episode of Beware the Batman as Batman fights the mysterious and deadly femme fatale, Magpie. We also see Katana’s first day on the job, Lieutenant Gordon and Batman clash over the investigation, and the first appearance of his daughter. An episode a lot better than the first with Magpie being front and centre. Directed by Rick Morales and written by Mitch Watson let’s look at Secrets:
We start off with we see Batman investigating a break in at Miskatonic University, Psychiatric Hospital, and finding Magpie. They fight and she is impressed by his shiny shines, his belt before any other images leap to mind, and she gets away. We then see a typical morning at the Gordon household, with Jim Gordon trying to have a quiet meal while his daughter Barbara tries to get him to introduce her to Batman. It’s weird to have her appear so early in a Batman series and in all likelihood we’ll be getting Batgirl down the line. Also even if we don’t see her we find out Jim is still together with Barbara’s mother, which hasn’t happened in any Batman media before. I wonder if something tragic will happen to her later.
Back to the plot Magpie’s attacking people and using a device to wipe their minds and Bruce’s investigation leads him to a psychiatrist and the usual bait and switch mystery plot. It all ends in tragedy when we find out why Magpie’s doing this and what caused her psychotic break. In the B plot we found out more about Tatsu, Bruce’s new bodyguard/driver and what her connection is with Alfred. There’s a nice scene where we see Bruce’s detective side when he deduces that she knew Alfred as a child and that her father worked with him in MI6. A small bit of backstory but she still hasn’t been involved with the plot yet. From what we can tell she finds this work boring and would rather be doing anything else. We also know she considers Batman to be a “nut in a costume” which will hopefully see follow-up when she finds out Bruce’s real identity. There is also a bit at the end where Bruce is going to be testing her in the next episode. Testing for what is my question, and it brings numerous thoughts to mind on how she’ll take on the Katana role. But we’ll find out next week.
Magpie first appeared in Man of Steel #3 as a villain for Superman and Batman to team up against. She was a little different, had a much different backstory, a rather vicious streak leaving many bodies in her wake, and a terrible costume. With this version they’ve changed things to better fit the story but also to give her more sympathy and less pity. Her love for the “shinys” is present in both but here it’s less prominent. She will still keep going on about “shiny things” which will probably get grating if she appears multiple times. Though I do have to say I’m surprised they managed to get away with Magpie’s costume, because that wasn’t what we usually get on kids shows.
This episode was great, definitely looks more in keeping with how the show will usually be. A good mystery investigation with Batman and Gordon taking two sides of it as it all comes together at the end. Magpie was a classic Batman villain, full of psychosis that makes her a tragic character. A victim of a system that failed her when trying to fix her. I think the ending was a little lacking in the dramatic weight it needed, though. The point of whether or not its right or justice to put her back into the place that made her is raised then dropped, which is a shame. Other than that it was very good way to end the plot, there was even hints at a Batman/Gordon friendship. But that’ll be a long way off at this rate.
We also get some more meta plot build-up with the Argus club, last time it was Bruce getting an invite to the club, which he turned down again, and this time Batman finds a key with the Argus logo in the doctor’s desk. This is building up to something that I assume will pay off with the big bad of the season. I suspect when it comes into the forefront Bruce will join to get on the inside. But that’s for later on in the season.
What bugged me about Magpie was her metahuman ability to take punishment. She falls off a building onto a car then just gets up and walks away, Batman hits her with an exploding pressurised gas canister into electrical wiring in order to take her down. Now pressurised canisters are used like that to bust open steel doors in movies, which should’ve left a hole in her. There’s a passing remark about how her ability to feel pain was taken from her, but just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I hope there’s something more going on with her that we’ll find out later because that’s just too odd to just skip over. Then again this is Miskatonic University, much stranger things have happened there. With its inclusion makes me wonder if the series will end with Batman fighting Cthulhu over the evil that has infected Gotham.
Overall an excellent follow-up to the first episode, it really did feel like an old school Batman the Animated Series episode.