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Recap: Batman: The Animated Series E12 "It's Never Too Late"
aka: Batman The Animated Series Its Never Too Late
Drug Dealer Arnold Stromwell has two worries in his mind: the disappearance of his son and the emergence of rival Drug Dealer Rupert Thorne who's rapidly muscling in on Stromwell's turf. Naturally, Stromwell's convinced that Thorne's behind his son going missing, though the other denies it. It all comes to a head when Thorne invites Stromwell to his restaurant for an underworld "peace summit". It's a trap, the place is rigged to blow, and only the intervention of Batman saves Stromwell from a fiery demise.

Once safe, Batman urges Stromwell to give up the pointless gang war and turn state's evidence against his criminal associates, but Stromwell brushes Batman off. Determined to make his point, Batman reveals he knows where Stromwell's son is, and personally takes him there to prove it. Turns out he hasn't been kidnapped by rival gangsters at all. Instead, he's confined to a hospital bed, where he's recovering from an overdose of drugs. Stromwell's estranged wife is also present and lets him know in no uncertain terms that she holds him responsible for their child's condition, since Stromwell actively traffics in narcotics all over Gotham. Batman again urges Stromwell to give himself up, noting his life of crime has brought nothing but misery to everyone.

Apparently convinced, Stromwell offers to give up what he knows to Batman and leads him to a remote railyard warehouse where he's kept extensive records of his criminal operations. Batman, however, instantly realizes the files are dummies, and Stromwell never intended to go straight after all.

Suddenly, Thorne and his men arrive, having tracked Stromwell down to finish him off for good. Batman manages to take out the attackers, but Stromwell gets away in the confusion. Stumbling to the nearby railroad tracks, he encounters his brother Michael, his presence tonight has also been arranged by Batman.

The nearby track and Michael's presence triggers a painful flashback in Stromwell. Arnold recalls that when they were children, he had already started down a life of crime with petty stealing, while his brother Michael tried to keep him honest. One day, while walking along the tracks, Arnold's foot became stuck on the rails as a speeding train approached. Acting quickly, his brother threw him to safety, but in the process lost one of his legs. Michael explains that he holds no grudge against Arnold, but that it's time for him to atone for all the wrong that he's done, this time, he has to save himself and his family or go down with the rest of his crumbling criminal empire.

As the two reconcile, Thorne makes one last effort to finish Stromwell off, but is foiled by Batman.

The police soon arrive to arrest Thorne's men, and Stromwell tells Commissioner Gordon he'd like to make a statement as Batman watches from the shadows.


Tropes:

  • Being Evil Sucks: Stromwell's life is a living hell because he's a gangster.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Stromwell is a gangster/drug lord whose son becomes an addict.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Stromwell accuses Thorne of being responsible for his son's disappearance, Thorne replies that he doesn't go after a rival's family.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Stromwell versus Thorne. Though even the news states that Thorne is winning.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator
  • Good Samaritan: Michael; justified in that he is a priest, but he shows remarkable restraint and refuses to give up on his brother, even though his help has never yielded much results before.
  • Heel-Face Turn: "Mister Gordon? I... I have a statement to give you."
  • Homage: To the gangster film Angels with Dirty Faces — the two boys, one of whom becomes a priest (Michael), the other a gangster (Arnold Stromwell). The scene on the railroad tracks alludes to a similiar scene in the film.
  • I Own This Town: A somewhat unusual treatment of this trope: at the start of the episode a young delinquent is seen proclaiming he'll someday own Gotham City. Most of the rest of the episode takes place in the present, where said delinquent is Arnold Stromwell, The Don who has long held Gotham under his sway but whose family life and criminal empire are rapidly collapsing from a Mob War with Rupert Thorne.
  • It's All My Fault: Arnold asks Michael why he's still helping him, clearly blaming himself for the accident when they were kids where Michael lost his leg.
  • Master of Disguise: The bearded drunk that Thorne has removed from his restaurant so he can "talk shop" about disposing of Stromwell with his goons? You'll never guess who that was.....
  • Monochrome Past: The flashbacks are in sepia tones.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Arnold's foot got caught in the rails of a train track at the wrong time. Ironically, it was his brother Michael coming to his rescue who ends up paying for it; Arnold gets away without a scratch.
  • Running Gag: One of Stromwell's goons mentions his boss looks pretty sharp on the TV news... Stromwell isn't amused. Later, Detective Bullock tells Commissioner Gordon that he also looked better on TV than in person... Gordon's not amused either.
  • A Very Special Episode: Starts off as a basic gang war story, before leaping into an anti-drug Aesop


Batman: The Animated Series E11 'Two-Face: Part 2"Recap/Batman: The Animated SeriesBatman: The Animated Series E13 'I've Got Batman in My Basement"

alternative title(s): Batman The Animated Series Its Never Too Late
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