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Batman 66 Bat-Probe Episode 10: A Death Worse Than Fate
Reviewed by Geena Phillips, © 2014

Format: TV
Genre:   Batman!
Review Date:   September 04, 2014

When last we left our heroes, they were… well, they weren't actually in any danger; but poor Aunt Harriet was left dangling over a vat of flaming oil.

While waiting at police headquarters for Bruce Wayne to show up and deal with the ransom situation (presumably, Batman was still licking his wounds over having been completely outsmarted by Zelda the Great), Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara (in shirtsleeves! THIS IS SERIOUS) engage in some speculation regarding the lives of the 1%:

Chief O'Hara: ”I’ll bet Mr. Wayne is out on some yacht, eatin' sherbet and changin' his clothes!”

Now, I was born in 1968, and I guess it's possible that this is some bit of 1960s idiom with which I'm unfamiliar; but I checked on Urban Dictionary, and found bupkus. So I leave it to you, dear Gentle Reader: Was this EVER a commonly-used expression?

Luckily, Bruce Wayne shows up presently (his clothes-changing and sherbet-eating duties having been faithfully discharged), in order to execute Batman's brilliant strategy for securing Mrs. Cooper's release: preempt local television to engage the kidnapper in a bitchy radio call-in show.

And, yes, the following scene is pretty amusing, but a couple of Baba Booey-style crank calls would have sent it over the top.

Actual dialog:
Hello, criminals, wherever you are out there. Do you hear me, criminals?” (Do You Hear Me, Criminals? It's Me, Commissioner Gordon was my favorite book as I approached adolescence)
<“I>Enough of this prattle!”
"You already have your filthy lucre.”
"Aw, c'mon, ya crook!”

Anyhoo, they convince Zelda that the money she stole in the first episode was real (by showing her a signed affidavit from the editor of the Gotham City Times reading, ”This morning's headline was entirely untrue.” I don't want to start making New York Times jokes here, because I'll never be able to stop.

So, Aunt Harriet is off the hook at the end of the chain hanging above a vat of flaming oil. Upon her return back to Stately Wayne Manor, Alfred finds on her person a clue as to Zelda's whereabouts (the World's Greatest Detective's butler, ladies and gentlemen!).

As B&R speed toward the showdown with Zelda (and her Svengali, Eivol Ekdol), Ekdol reveals his master scheme: The high-end escape trick he's been developing for Zelda is not actually complete. He plans to trap Batman in the locked chamber, and then copy whatever method Bats uses to escape it (let that sink in for a minute).

Then, when Batman emerges from the trap, two gangsters from Central Casting will be hiding in prop sarcophagi, waiting to fill the Caped Crusader with lead (”In my country, we have an obscure peasant saying: 'Dead men tell no tales.’” Really, Eivol? Is it really that obscure? When I think "obscure sayings," it's usually something more along the lines of, “eatin' sherbet and changin' his clothes.”).

This goes down as stupidly as you're imagining it does: Batman and Robin escape the trap by using the electrified trapdoor within to ignite the poison gas inside (aren't they also breathing and enveloped by the same gas? Ah, well; best not to think about that too much, or the fact that that is a completely unusable escape method on stage); upon exiting, Batman receives the heads up from Zelda, and ducks just in time, causing the two gunsels to blow each other away (conveniently offscreen, as they're still inside the sarcophagi; what a way to go!). Eivol Ekdol's escape is cut short by his being cold-cocked with a terribly-thrown Batarang, and Zelda sexily (and tearfully! Taste 'em, Batman; they're real) surrenders herself into custody.

In the coda scene, Bruce Wayne keeps it in his pants long enough to visit Zelda in the penitentiary, where she's rocking horizontal stripes (take that, fashionistas!) from her prison heels all the way to her pillbox hat.

Wayne informs her that, because she acted to save Batman's life, she deserves a break after completing her sentence; so, he's going to set Zelda up for a regular gig at a Gotham Children's Hospital (that's right, kids: before HMOs, there was such a job as Resident Lady Magician at hospitals nationwide).

Next up: The Riddler returns! And BOY, does he work hard for a measly one million (USD)!


Find the archive of Geena’s Batman 66 Bat-Probe. Find it right here.

Geena Phillips knows more about eatin’ sherbet than you. Write her at geenacanblowme@gmail.com.

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