Hiding out from the police, and playing poker to kill the time, Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy recount the times they came the closest to killing Batman.
In 2017, Cryptozoic released a Mafia-like card game based on this episode.
Tropes in this episode include:
- 555: Every number Harley Quinn reads from her phone book in the Joker's story starts with "555".
- Actually a Doombot: Something that Croc was probably about to suggest in the beginning about Batman. ("Not the robot theory again!" groans the Joker.) This is actually an In-Universe example of a joke that's Harsher in Hindsight, given as this story takes place before "His Silicon Soul".
- Always Save the Girl: Harley Quinn tries to invoke this as a Sadistic Choice, telling Batman he can either catch her, or save Catwoman from a Conveyor Belt o' Doom. Batman flips the factory's master power switch.Harley: Heh heh. Good call. Help!
- Anti-Climax: Croc's colleagues were clearly expecting his story of attempting to kill Batman to end on a more dramatically impressive note than "I threw a rock at him!"Croc: (Depressed) It was a big rock.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At the end of Harvey's tale (which had Batman escaping a death trap that involved flipping an oversized coin), Harvey is more miffed that the police let Batman keep the giant penny than the fact that he escaped.
- Artistic License Ornithology:
- The all-too-common (and completely untrue) myth about a cassowary being aggressive and dangerous towards humans is used here. Although, in this reality, it might have been possible for the Penguin to train one to be such. To be fair to the writers, at the time the show was written, most books about cassowaries would have said that they were highly aggressive and dangerous.
- The Penguin covers Batman in nectar so hummingbirds will stab him with their pointy beaks, which he put poison on. Hummingbirds lick up nectar, they don't scrape or stab their food like a woodpecker, especially not hard enough to draw blood through cloth.
- Batman Gambit: Naturally. Batman's plan here is to trick the Joker into telling him where Catwoman is without any trouble, and seeing as the Joker just loves to talk about himself—so long as he thinks his audience is harmless (or helpless)—this is a no-brainer.
- Beat: After Croc says his infamous "I threw a rock at him!" line, there is complete silence as all the other villains stare at him.Killer Croc: It was a big rock...
- Big Damn Heroes: Joker's laugh-powered electric chair trap would've killed Batman had it not been for the timely arrival of Catwoman.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: On display in pretty much every one of the stories, but Joker's might be the worst example. He captures Catwoman, ties her up on a conveyor belt in a cat food factory... then leaves to have a game of poker with the other villains, deciding to finish up when he's done.
- Bound and Gagged:
- Catwoman tied to a conveyor belt.
- Batman himself twice, in Two-Face and Joker's tales.
- Buffy Speak: After being mocked for calling his lair the Aviary of Doom, Penguin then refers to it as his "big birdhouse."
- Car Fu: How Batman defeats Poison Ivy—he remotely calls his Batmobile to trash her crops and ultimately drives her up a telephone pole.
- Cast as a Mask: Aron Kincaid provides Croc's voice as usual until he reveals himself as Batman in disguise.
- *Click* Hello: Batman reveals himself to have been masquerading as Killer Croc at a villains' poker game and appears to be at the mercy of the other players; immediately, dozens of other "bar patrons" draw their weapons and reveal the bar to have been a police sting.Batman: I'm not bad with traps myself.
- Collective Identity: Two-Face suggests Gordon has a whole team of Batmen, and they're only supposed to think it's one man. Joker just thinks it's Two-Face seeing double as usual.
- Complexity Addiction:
- A recurring theme in the almost-got-'im tales. Each of the villains could easily have killed Batman outright, but chose instead to go a elaborate route with poison-tipped hummingbirds or sound-powered electric chairs that gave Batman room to escape.
- Averted with Croc's story, which is as straight-forward as plans get—making it considerably less impressive.Killer Croc: I threw a rock at him!
- Continuity Nod:
- Ivy mentions that she and Two-Face used to date, a reference to "Pretty Poison".
- Killer Croc's story about the rock has been referenced in two other episodes: during "Trial", when he yells "Hit him with a rock!" when the inmates are calling for Batman's execution, and during "Sideshow", when the actual event in question occurs.
- Two-Face gives us the origin for the giant penny often seen around the Batcave in the DCAU.
- Which is in fact different from its old origin in the comic books, where it had nothing to do with Two-Face, but came rather from a minor Batman villain named Joe "The Penny Plunderer" Coyne who unsurprisingly never made it into the DCAU. The comics have since been retconned to match the DCAU.
- Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Which includes a wonderful variety of Doomy Dooms of Doom.
- Cut the Juice: How Batman disables the Conveyor Belt o' Doom death trap.
- Dating Catwoman: "Almost got him..."
- Death Glare: Killer Croc noticeably gives one of these to Joker when he tells the villains what he plans to do to Catwoman. While the others are horrified, "Croc" looks ready to tear him apart. Not all that surprising, considering that "Croc" is actually Batman in disguise.
- Death Trap: Every vignette features at least one.
- Did Not Think This Through: Harley probably shouldn't have tried to pull her Sadistic Choice on whether Batman was going to stop her or save Catwoman while they were standing right next to the factory's master power switch.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Penguin's story takes place in his Aviary of Doom. The other villains call him out on his hamminess.
- Double-Meaning Title: The villains at the poker game swap stories about how they "almost got" (killed) Batman. At the end of the final scene, Catwoman muses that she'd "almost got" (seduced) him.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Batman disguised as Killer Croc signals the ambush and a bar full of police officers all cock their guns and point them at the villains.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The other villains look a little nauseous when Joker tells them his plans to grind Catwoman into cat food just to get back at Batman.
- Everyone Is Armed: Every patron in the club pulls out a gun and points it at the villains—they were all undercover Gotham police, making this an example of the bystanders being the hero's mooks.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Two Face has this reaction when he has Batman in his trap, asking where his coin before he realizes Batman stole it and is using it to cut himself free.
- Fanservice: Ivy proves to be this more so than usual in her story. She's wearing a black version of her normal leotard and nothing else, leaving her arms and legs completely bare. It's basically a Walking Swimsuit Scene.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Tons of them, from everyone's hands at poker being character-appropriate to Joker cheating by pulling cards out of his sleeves to Two-Face flavoring his coffee with half-and-half.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: Harley, having tied Catwoman to the cat food factory's Conveyor Belt of Doom, tells Batman he can either capture her or save Catwoman, specifically saying "you've only got time for one". The camera pans over a few inches to the factory's master power control switch, which Batman nonchalantly turns off.
- Meaningful Echo: "There's more than one way to catch Batman."
- Morton's Fork:
- Two-Face's response to meeting Poison Ivy again:Two-Face: Half of me wants to strangle ya.
Poison Ivy: [seductively] And what does the other half want?
Two-Face: To hit ya with a truck.
Poison Ivy: [aside] We used to date.
Joker & Penguin: [understanding perfectly] Ahhh.
- Interestingly enough, this is one of the few times both of Two-Face's personalities agree with each other. There is also focus on each side of his face as he speaks those 2 lines: Strangle = Normal half, Truck = Scarred half.
- Another example occurs in Two-Face's story of how he almost killed Batman—he strapped him to a giant penny and flung it into the air: "The coin lands face down, you'll be squashed flat. It lands face up, it'll just break every bone in your body."
- Two-Face's response to meeting Poison Ivy again:
- Mythology Gag: Penguin's brief "Oh, Crap!" Fakeout after he sprays Batman with nectar, along with him claiming "I have the wrong umbrella" is an obvious reference to Batman Returns, which released earlier that year.
- Noodle Incident: At the start of the episode, Penguin mentions that Batman recently caught the Mad Hatter. We never learn what exactly happened during that affair.
- Not So Above It All: While Two-Face's good side is usually that, dialogue reveals that even Harvey's holding a grudge from when Ivy tried to poison him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Disguising as Killer Croc, Batman had to play up being the hapless Butt-Monkey and The Runt at the End for the villains. And it worked.
- Oh, Crap!:
Harley: (Weakly) Heh, heh... good call. Help!
- The Joker's story ends with him successfully capturing Catwoman and he reveals her location, and that he's about to head off and finish her. Then Killer Croc says "I don't think so" in Batman's voice, and the Joker's expression in the split second before he's thrown across the room is priceless.
- Harley Quinn is guarding the Death Trap that Catwoman has been placed into when Batman comes calling, when Batman captures her Harley smugly gloats that he can either beat her up or save Catwoman, and can't do both. Unfortunately for her, she's neglected to consider the large circuit breaker the two are standing beside, and when he just shuts the power off her expression and reaction is even more priceless:
- Please Keep Your Hat On: Used as a Discussed Trope, with Penguin and Joker wondering if Batman covers his head with a mask because someone blew part of his face off. Two-Face is rather annoyed by the discussion.
- Revenge by Proxy: As Joker explains to the other villains, "there's more than one way to get someone". He plans to have Catwoman killed just to spite Batman.
- Rogues Gallery Showcase: Four of Batman's foulest foes—the Joker, Two-Face, the Penguin, and Poison Ivy—each get their own vignette featuring the closest they ever came to killing him. Also featured are Harley Quinn and Killer Croc (sort of).
- Rule of Cool: Batman's silhouette appearing over the Croc disguise. Bruce Timm openly admits in the commentary that it makes no logical sense, but was such a great image that they figured no one would mind.
- The Runt at the End: You wouldn't expect Killer Croc to have the least threatening story, but he does; as the others' descriptions of their Death Traps get more and more elaborate, Croc fails to impress:Joker: Anyone else want to go?
Killer Croc: ME! There I was, holed up in this quarry, when Batman came snooping around. He was getting closer... closer...
Poison Ivy: And?
Killer Croc: I threw a rock at him!
[the others stare dumbfounded for a few moments, then decide to just ignore Croc]
Killer Croc: [sheepish] It was a big rock...
- Save the Villain: Batman's objective is to find and rescue Catwoman.
- The Shadow Knows: Part of The Reveal. In the commentary, the animators admit it makes no sense, but it's such a great visual they kept it in the episode.
- Poison Ivy's hat and coat (and the general atmosphere of the underworld club they're in) is a shout-out to Ilsa's in Casablanca. Especially the way shadows fall across her face, with that hat.
- Poison Ivy's story involves pumpkin bombs, used during Halloween. Spider-Man villain The Green Goblin uses exploding pumpkin bombs as his primary weapon.
- The Pussy Kins Cat Food factory is a reference to a scene in the Looney Tunes short, Claws In The Lease.
- Sinister Surveillance: The Joker shows fellow villains a recording of a time he took over a late-night television show—a video that includes footage from backstage and all around the studio, in angles that shouldn't be possible. It's lampshaded by the writers in the episode's commentary.
- The Smurfette Principle: Ivy is the only female in the group. There is also a single female cop; possibly Montoya, but in the shadows, she looks like a redhead in a red dress. Quite possible she was wearing a wig.
- Something Completely Different: The villains play poker and swap stories about times they almost got Batman.
- Squick: In-Universe example when Joker reveals his plan; Ivy is horrified, Two-Face is appalled, Croc is angry and Penguin clearly thinks, "Oh dear."
- Tabletop Game: The episode was adapted into a hidden role game in which the villains try to figure out which among them is Batman in disguise.
- Take a Third Option: Harley Quinn captures Catwoman and ties her to a conveyor belt heading for a massive meatgrinder. Batman arrives and catches Harley, who then taunts that he can either bring her in or save Catwoman, but not both. Batman... nonchalantly reaches over to the circuit breaker and shuts off the power to the grinder, to which Harley responds, "Good call. Help!"
- "Take That!" Kiss: In Ivy's story she mockingly blows Batman a goodbye kiss while leaving him to suffocate in her poison gas.Batman: Poison gas!
Poison Ivy: (standing over Batman in the gas) It's just the darnest thing! I have this natural immunity against poisons, toxins, the pain and suffering of others. Go figure. Bye. [blows kiss and walks away]
- Thing-O-Meter: Joker rigs a "Laugh-O-Meter" up to an electric chair, straps Batman to it, and lets laughing gas leak into a studio audience.
- Title Drop: The Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman all quote the title.
- Took A Level In Dumb Ass: Croc seems to act like some Dumb Muscle thug in this episode, as opposed to other episodes in the series where he's actually pretty clever. (Of course, it isn't really Croc.)
- Touché: When Batman easily finds his way out of the Sadistic Choice Harley had tried to trap him in, she giggles nervously and says "Good call."
- Undercover Cop Reveal: An entire bar full of disguised cops all draw and cock their guns at Batman's signal.
- Vignette Episode: Four stories from the villains, with enough time for a present-day scene with Harley at the end.
- Villain Episode: Batman himself only shows up in the vignettes, and at the end. The rest of the present-day scene is five villains having a night out.
- Villains Out Shopping: Playing poker, drinking tea, and reminiscing about their favorite Death Traps.
- Wham Line: After telling his story, the Joker reveals Catwoman's whereabouts and imminent demise. Killer Croc's response?"Croc": [in Batman's voice] I don't think so.