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Recap / Batman: The Animated Series E46 "Almost Got 'Im"

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We open on a dimly-lit Bad-Guy Bar where four distinctive pairs of hands—one in white gloves atop a purple suit, one with fused, flipper-like fingers, one relatively human and one horribly scarred, and one green and reptilian—are dealt cards. It seems that The Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and Killer Croc are having themselves a poker game. Poison Ivy soon shows up and asks to join, remarking that she's running from both the cops and Batman. The other villains agree, and Killer Croc remarks that it's odd that none of them have successfully "got 'im" by now. This prompts a debate over who has truly come the closest to defeating the Dark Knight. The Joker takes control of the situation and suggests that they all tell their stories while they play, and invites Ivy to go first.

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The former Dr. Isley tells a tale about last Halloween, when she rigged up jack-o-lanterns around the city with a powerful allergenic gas that tormented the people of Gotham. Batman naturally arrive at a pumpkin patch to investigate, only for Ivy to trigger a massive explosion of the gas that incapacitated him (her natural immunity to poisons and toxins left her unaffected). Just as she was about to unmask him, though, Batman was able to activate a remote driving function of the Batmobile that left Ivy literally up a tree (or, in this case, a telephone pole).

Two-Face insists on going next, recalling an incident where he robbed Gotham's largest bank of "two million in two-dollar bills." He also recruited some local thugs called "The Two-Ton Gang," who captured Batman and brought him to the double-talking villain. After removing the Caped Crusader's utility belt to ensure that he couldn't use gadgets, Two-Face strapped him to a giant penny and has it thrown into the air, reasoning that Batman would be crushed or horribly maimed regardless of how it landed. Unfortunately, he realized that his trademark coin—which he needs to make decisions—was missing; Batman managed to swipe it before being tied up and promptly used it to cut himself free. After some death-defying acrobatics, the Dark Knight successfully captured the group; to add insult to injury, the bank allowed him to keep the giant penny.

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After a brief interruption from Killer Croc—whose own story simply involved throwing a rock ("it was a BIG rock...") at Batman—the Penguin starts to recount his exploits. During a past criminal endeavor, he deliberately spread false rumors that he planned to steal some extremely rare condors from the Gotham Zoo. When Batman showed up, his monocled adversary locked in him what he grandly called his "Aviary of Doom," a title which results in a Smash Cut back to the gathered villains, who mock Penguin for his pomp. Humbled, the Penguin continues, explaining how he weaponized the entire bird population of the aviary to thwart Batman, including hummingbirds with toxin-dipped beaks and a massive cassowary with a terrible temper. Despite being stunned by the poison and nearly defeated, though, the Caped Crusader was still able to escape, although the Penguin got away.

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With the other stories told, the Joker announces that his "almost got 'im" tale is unquestionably the grandest and most successful—especially because it happened just last night. The Clown Prince of Crime successfully captured Batman, knocked him unconscious, and dragged him to a late-night TV talk show's studio, which he'd already commandeered with the help of Harley Quinn. The two tied Batman to a massive electric chair that was rigged up to raise the voltage whenever laughter sounded nearby. The Joker pumped the auditorium full of laughing gas, then had Harley recite names from the phone book; the (literally) captive audience couldn't help but giggle because of the gas, which gradually activated the chair and sent the Dark Knight into convulsions. Just when all hope seemed lost, though, Catwoman appeared to save Batman. She was able to set him free, but Harley and the Joker teamed up to knock her unconscious.

Back in the present, the Joker announces that he's won the poker game (albeit through blatant cheating), but Killer Croc is confused—the clown still hasn't explained how he "got" Batman, considering that he let him live. The Joker gleefully remarks that he's going for Revenge by Proxy instead—he's trussed Catwoman up at a local pet food factory, where Harley is prepared to send her through the processing machines. Even the other villains are sickened by this, but the Joker thinks it's a hilarious gag...until "Croc" stands up and, with a sudden vocal shift, remarks "I don't think so." He throws the Joker across the room and reveals himself as Batman, who set up the disguise to trick the Clown Prince of Crime into revealing Catwoman's hiding place. The other villains promptly pull their weapons and prepare to shoot, only for the Caped Crusader to click his fingers. The rest of the bar patrons immediately produce guns of their own—it's the Gotham City Police Department, who entered the bar disguised as criminals and now have the bad guys completely surrounded.

Leaving the cops to handle his other foes, Batman heads to the factory to save Catwoman. As soon as he arrives, Harley activates the conveyor belt she's tied to and gleefully taunts the Dark Knight, saying that there isn't enough time to both rescue Catwoman and arrest her. Batman promptly takes a third option and simply cuts the power to the whole factory, stopping the belt and allowing him to snag Harley. While the police show up to lead Dr. Quinzel away, Batman and Catwoman meet on a nearby roof. She thanks him for saving her, and remarks that she hopes that someday, the two can find themselves in a world "without masks." Batman admits that he wants the same thing, but when Catwoman attempts to remove his famous cowl, he distracts her and manages to slip away. The cat burglar looks after him swinging through the rooftops and sighs the final line of the episode: "Heh...almost got 'im."

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".
  • Absentee Actor: Robin doesn't show up, but the Joker mentions him in his story.
    "Hey Bats, how's Robin?"
  • 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".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Penguin employs this throughout the episode; for example, when Ivy first arrives, he asks "What brings such a dainty dove to this dismal den?", and he later comments on the villains' "middling machinations" and calls them "mundane miscreants." It makes sense considering his oversized vocabulary.
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: It's possible to make out Commissioner Gordon, Detective Harvey Bullock, and (possibly) Officer Renee Montoya among the cops who surround the villains at the end.
  • *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.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Catwoman, as she's been tied to a conveyor belt to be killed.
  • 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.
  • Defiant Captive: When Joker traps Batman in his electric chair, he tries to make friendly conversation with his enemy by asking "How's Robin?". Batman just remains unmoving and silent, so Joker decides to just move on to killing him.
  • 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.
  • Distressed Dude: Batman ends up in this position in all of the villains' stories (except Killer Croc, of course). It's arguably the worst in the Joker's tale, as that one requires intervention from Catwoman to save him.
  • 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 nauseous and even horrified 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.
  • Five-Man Band: The gathered villains at the bar form an evil one of these:
    • The Joker is the Big Bad as Batman's archenemy and the person who actually did come close to defeating the Dark Knight;
    • Two-Face is The Dragon, as he's probably Batman's second-most dangerous villain and probably the most composed of the group;
    • The Penguin is The Evil Genius, due to his meticulously-developed plan and typical large, poetic vocabulary;
    • Killer Croc is The Brute, considering his role as Dumb Muscle; he also counts as a Sixth Ranger Traitor considering that he's actually Batman;
    • And Poison Ivy is The Dark Chick, given both her use of seduction to capture Batman and her status as the only woman in the group.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Batman knows that the Joker can't resist bragging about himself or proving himself the worst villain in town, so he deliberately sets up a situation where the Clown Prince of Crime will be able to talk about his recent plot and its details—including Catwoman's location.
  • 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.
  • Funny Background Event: After Ivy steals Croc's chair, Croc is seen in the shadows throwing a player off his chair and stealing it for himself. The eventual revelations make this scene even funnier, just imagine Batman saying "Sorry about this Commissioner..."
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The fact that the Killer Croc at the table was really Batman means that the whole time, Batman was playing poker with his deadliest enemies.
  • High-Voltage Death: Joker ties Batman to an electric chair that's powered by laughter. After the studio audience is given enough laughing gas to make them find even the phone booth hilarious, Batman was on the verge of being fried.
  • Hammerspace Police Force: When Batman springs his trap, there are more cops in the bar than should comfortably fit into the room, much less how many people were previously seen in it.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Joker insists on "a nice, clean game" without cheating...and promptly starts stuffing his hand with aces he had hidden up his sleeve.
  • 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.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The other villains laugh at Penguin's usage of the term "Aviary of Doom", with the latter chastising them for their depreciation of drama. Once Oswald decides to continue talking about Batman in his Aviary of Doom, he instead refers to it as his "birdnest" at the last second, wanting to be taken seriously.
  • Meaningful Echo: "There's more than one way to get someone."
  • 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."
  • 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.
    • The giant penny in Two-Face's story is basically this, in regards to the comics Batcave's iconic trophy room (which the DCAU proper never depicted until Justice League).note 
  • Near-Villain Victory: Each of the bad guys did come remarkably close to defeating Batman in their stories. They also went out of their way to arrange situations where they'd have the upper hand—Poison Ivy surrounded Batman with a toxic gas that she was naturally immune to, Two-Face removed the Dark Knight's utility belt to prevent him from using gadgets, the Penguin overpowered him with a bird-based Zerg Rush, and the Joker had him tied to a chair with no hope of escape. It's only Batman just managing to pull off some scheme (or, in the Joker's case, the timely intervention of Catwoman) that allows him to live. Heck, if they'd combined tactics (for instance, Ivy was thwarted because of the utility belt), they probably would have succeeded!
  • 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 has to play up being the hapless Butt-Monkey and The Runt at the End for the villains. And it works.
    • The Penguin also invokes this in his own story, claiming that he'd used the wrong umbrella to spray Batman. It turns out the spray was actually a nectar to attract some poisoned hummingbirds.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • 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:
    Harley: (Weakly) Heh, heh... good call. Help!
  • 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.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Two-Face's obsession with duality is on full display here. During the opening poker deal, he discards and draws two cards — keeping a pair of kings (i.e., two face cards) and a 2; he flavors his coffee with half-and-half; and in his story, he remarks that he arranged for a robbery of two million dollars, all in two-dollar bills, with the help of some thugs called the Two-Ton Gang; and he wields a pair of pistols when Batman reveals himself.
    • Two-Face, Penguin, and the Joker all tell their stories when it's their turn to deal in the poker game—in other words, they're both running the table and running the narrative.
  • 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.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Penguin, as usual, apparently swallowed a thesaurus, as he can't resist using the most elaborate language possible whenever he talks. It reaches its peak (and gets lampshaded by the Joker) when he starts narrating his flashback:
    Penguin: I find your middling machinations mildly diverting, but for sheer criminal genius, none surpasses my most recent ornithologically-inspired entoilment.
    Joker: Smaller words, please! You're losing Croc!
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Poison Ivy's hat and coat is a shout-out to Ilsa's in Casablanca. Especially the way shadows fall across her face, with that hat. Casablanca and its seedy clubs also provide a general inspiration for the Bad-Guy Bar where the villains gather.
    • 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 villains' poker game. 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.
  • Splash of Color: During the Joker's black and white talk show, Batman is briefly colorized, though, this was most likely an animation error.
  • 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 darnedest 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, Two-Face 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."
  • Trap Master: All of the villains—save Killer Croc—claim to be one of these, each designing an elaborate death trap to destroy Batman. At the end, the Dark Knight proves that he's the true king of traps by revealing that the entire poker game and conversation was a ruse to get Joker to give up Catwoman's location (and have three other villains confess to attempted murder—in a room stuffed to the brim with cops—for good measure).
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: An entire bar full of disguised cops all draw and cock their guns at Batman's signal.
  • The Unreveal: How Joker captured Batman during his bank heist and hoisted him into an electric chair isn't explained.
  • 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 (OK, four villains and Batman disguised as Croc) 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.

 
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