Here’s the quick version of the story behind how this article came about. One of my favorite places on the internet needed to raise some money for server costs, so they put together an auction. I offered to write an article about an episode of any TV show the winner picked, and here we are. Five British Pounds later, here we are.
And here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4EwtTWy1R4
We begin at the Gotham City World’s Fair, specifically at what appears to be the embassy of the country of Maldavia. You may wonder why they’d be an embassy in the middle of a fairgrounds so far away Gotham that the city isn’t even a speck on the horizon, but it really is a safe choice. I bet the French Embassy in downtown Gotham gets blown up, poisoned or otherwise ruined on a weekly basis. Anyways, the Maldvian ambassador is having a big party, and it’s time to present the traditional Maldavian Friendship Cake.
Unfortunately, the cake explodes, ruining the celebration. They do happen upon a message, which parachutes down from the ceiling, after exploding from within the cake. The message is a simple riddle: Why is an orange like a bell? With that clue, the brilliant Gotham Police Department manages to deduce that The Riddle is behind the cake explosion. I’m assuming he’s also done something else, because that seems like a really minor crime for an entire police force to concern itself with. Actually, it turns out that they don’t have to concern themselves with it at all. Commissioner Gordon asks his men if any of them think they can handle The Riddler, and no one speaks up. Gotham’s Finest, indeed. With no other options, the Commissioner turns to the only men who can help…
Before we proceed, I’ve just got to point out some of the ridiculousness that occurs between Alfred informing Batman of the phone call, and Batman and Robin arriving at the police station. We’ll do some quick bullet points.
- When Alfred tells Batman that he has a phone call, he’s in a business meeting as Bruce Wayne, agreeing to fund anti-crime centers. This project seems like a really terrible investment, Batman is literally a one man anti-crime army, and the Gotham Police Department is incapable of catching a guy who asks them riddles.
- Bruce also takes the time to inform everyone in the meeting that his parents are dead. Did you know his parents are dead? Because they are. I feel like he tries to work that into every conversation he has.
- The best excuse the World’s Greatest Detective can come up with for having to leave a meeting early is “Hey guys, totally forgot I have to take my little buddy fishing, and we have to leave right now!”
- Robin gets way too fucking excited about everything. Also, I do not buy him as Bruce’s teenage ward, he looks like he’s 30.
- The poles they use to reach the Batcave are labeled with their names. This has to indicate that at some point they had some hilarious mix up, went down the wrong poles and ended up in each other’s costumes, right? Why else would they do this!?
- They pull up outside of the police station, in the middle of the day, and walk in the front door. So much for being mysterious.
Now then, back to the question at hand: why is an orange like a bell? Because you can peel (peal) both of them. Don’t worry; I didn’t know the answer either. Or what peal meant. Or why Batman’s mask has eyebrows drawn on it. The dark knight, and I use that term as loosely as possible here, figures out that The Riddler must be targeting Gotham’s Peale Art Gallery for his crime, and our dynamic duo is on the case!
As soon as they arrive at the gallery, they receive a call from The Riddler on the Batmobile’s car phone. Yes, not only does the Batmobile have a car phone in the 1960’s, but also, The Riddler has the number to it. It’s a recorded message, asking another riddle: There are 3 men in a boat with 4 cigarettes but no matches, how do they manage to smoke? Well, if Robin is one of the three men, they can just light their cigarettes on his costume, because it is flaming.
They scale the side of the gallery, only to find The Riddler inside, robbing the curator at gun point. They windows are barred, so Batman uses a blowtorch to carefully remove them, and they hang them on a hook he placed on the side of the building, all in the name of pedestrian safety. Remember that one kids, don’t go throwing the steel bars you’ve removed via blowtorch off a building all willy-nilly, there could be people down there!
They bust through the window and chase down The Riddler, only to have two men run in and take their picture. The curator explains that The Riddler wasn’t robbing him, he was simply picking up an item he had loaned to the museum. Sadly, the question of why the museum is dealing with a known thief goes unasked and unanswered. We do get an answer to the earlier riddle though, the three men have four cigarettes, they throw one overboard and make the boat a cigarette lighter! Oh how delightful this episode has been. The Riddler has another one for the Caped Crusader, what it is that no man wants to have, yet no man wants to lose? The answer: A lawsuit, like the one The Riddler is now filing against Batman for assault!
Back at Wayne Manor, they discuss they lawsuit with Alfred, and Batman is just beside himself with grief. It’s a million dollar lawsuit, but it’s not the money that matters, it’s the effect the lawsuit would have on him. His identity would be revealed, his career as a secret crime fighter would be over. Everything he’s worked for since his parents were murdered would be ruined. By the way, did you know his parents were murdered? I bet Alfred and Robin never gets tired of hearing about that.
Robin figures out that the lawsuit documents Riddler gave them contain more riddles. I recommend you watch that sequence, there’s a lot of over-dramatic Shatner level line delivery. Plus the two riddles are rather stupid, and see Robin tooting like a train. Really, it’s a treat, starts around the 13:25 mark. As Batman and Robin head off to the address they got from the riddles, we cut to the underground layer of the Mole Hill Mob, a group of Riddler’s thugs who hang around dancing and eating caviar out of giant, bulk sized jars. Welcome to the good life. Their merriment is interrupted by The Riddler, who has decided to ditch his dapper suit and tie look for one that screams “Mom, I need you to come pick me up from the comic convention!”
The Riddler and his gang head off to the location Batman and Robin are heading to, which turns out to be Gotham’s hottest new nightclub, or as Batman terms it “the new discotheque” because he could not be more of a square. Unfortunately for Robin, the club has an age limit, and he can’t get in, so he’s left to wait in the Batmobile. Sadly, he misses out on Batman putting down some serious swag when he walks in the club. Even sadder, we don’t get miss that.
Batman saunters up the bar and orders a fresh orange juice because nothing makes sense anymore. He’s approached by the female member of the Mole Hill Gang, who asks him a riddle, which is thinly veiled as a request for a dance. Batman chugs his orange juice and accepts her offer in the most awkward way possible, telling her that she interests him, strangely. Friendly warning: I’m about to post a gif of him dancing, you may want to avert your eyes.
This goes on for an agonizingly long time, until Batman discovers his drink has been drugged, and collapses. Yes, long before Steve Urkel’s spiked punch gave birth to the Urkel Dance, Batman was having his drinks roofied and showing the world the Batsui. Robin isn’t faring any better, as The Riddler sneaks up and shoots him with a tranquilizer. Really, it’s just a banner day for the Dynamic Duo. Riddler’s plan was to kidnap Robin, but he decides to steal the Batmobile as well. Unfortunately, his attempt to start the car sets off its anti-theft system, which launches fireworks into the sky to alert police. Quickly fed up with this, The Riddler decides to destroy the car, and tosses a bomb inside. The bomb explodes, but the car quickly engages its fire suppression system and puts out the flames. The Batmobile is the most capable crime fighter we have seen in this episode, by far.
The Riddler heads underground with Robin, and a completely belligerent Batman stumbles out of the club, to give chase. He gets behind the wheel of the Batmobile, but the police arrive and insist that he is in no shape to drive. Batman reluctantly agrees and surrenders his keys, then proceeds to lament the lose Robin, with all the class and dignity of a college freshman on his first bender.
Will Robin escape, or will he be the victim of weird 60’s experimentation with drugs and free love?
Will Batman wake up the next day with feelings of shame and regret?
Why does the Riddler wear a mask, when earlier in the episode he was parading around without one?
Do they really expect us to believe that a bowler hat conceals someone’s identity just as well as mask?
The answers to those questions and more, in my next review!
…wait, what’s that?
It gets worse? No way. I’m not watching it, I wasn’t paid enough.