March 8th, 2012

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Review: The first two acts of "Two-Face, Part II" from BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

Part I reviewed here!

Two-Face, Part II is a decidedly different beast from the first episode, one that feels more complimentary than a proper continuation. And not to make it sound like I dislike the episode--because I don't, I love it--but nonetheless, it's largely inferior.

Part I was both a refreshingly psychological take on Harvey's descent into madness, as well as a powerfully tragic horror story which focused far more on character and mood than action. Even in its attempts to be made "kid-understandable," it was a moody, mature episode with depth and details crammed into every frame and every second of soundtrack. Part II, on the other hand, is just a really good--but rather standard--Two-Face story.

Rather than building upon their original character arc, Randy Rogel (and possibly Alan Burnett as well) instead devote much of the episode to rehashing the original Two-Face story by way of the Bronze Age Two-Face of classics like Half an Evil. It's like they really wanted to include all the classic Two-Face gimmicks (Crimes based on the number two! Scarred coin used to decide good or evil! An obsession with luck!) without coming up with any explanation for HOW he got there. It's like, why does Two-Face flip the coin? The mentality seems to indicate the answer would be, "Because that's what Two-Face does, a-duh!" but that doesn't explain why THIS Two-Face would become so dependent on the coin that it could single-handedly lead to his meltdown.

At best, it feels like there's an entire third episode missing between the two parts, something to bridge the gap between Harvey getting scarred and becoming Two-Face. Because if you recall the end of the first part, he WASN'T Two-Face as we know him, he only looked that way. And even then, his whole body wasn't scarred yet, so maybe a middle episode could explain away what was almost certainly an animation mistake. Six months pass between Parts I and II, and there's a lot of character study that still needs to be addressed before the Two-Face of Part II can make sense as a logical continuation of the first.

Regardless, this is still a damn good Two-Face story, one that allows Harvey to have more emotional depth than almost every other episode of the entire series. Furthermore, it has one-up on most other episodes and comics by giving Two-Face an actual motivation! Gasp! Sadly, this motivation will soon be forgotten in favor of randomly turning Two-Face into just another mob boss, "Because that's what Two-Face does, a-duh!"

So let's examine Two-Face, Part II, and study the state of a Harvey Dent who is over the edge... but perhaps not as far gone as one might think.

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So hey, I've discovered that there actually is such a thing as an LJ post size limit. Holy crap. I know that my fic posts have been longer than this, but I guess all the pics and gifs took their toll on my wimpy little free account. So let's save the final act for a separate post, and maybe in doing so, it'll be less jarring when I go off to talk about an episode of Night Court for a few paragraphs. Trust me, it's relevant. I think.

Note: the vast majority of the screencaps are by me. A couple others (postly the long pan shots) have been taken from Worlds Finest Online. Gifs are all by GhostOfCheney.