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Recap / The Adventures of Batman & Robin E13 "Showdown"

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In the 1880s, Jonah Hex must stop Ra's al Ghul's plan to destroy the transcontinental railroad.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Affably Evil: This episode's flashbacks depict Ra's at his most benign. Whereas Arkady is a brutally petty taskmaster towards their workforce al Ghul never forgets they're human beings.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Arkady Duvall's ultimate fate is an old man who is destroyed by hardship and unable to be healed by the Lazarus Pit, as it took his father too long to find him. He is left to die in peace as an old man.
  • Ax-Crazy: Arkady gets into duels, hits women, whips subordinates, kills prisoners (well, tries)... You got the idea.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the present day, Ra's al Ghul has come to collect Arkady Duvall, and in the end Batman lets him go, despite his use of knock-out gas and armed mooks on a retirement home.
  • Benevolent Boss: Ra's Al Ghul, in sharp contrast with his son, expects their employees to be treated with courtesy and respect.
  • Cattle Punk: Ra's al Ghul describes his attempt to destroy the transcontinental railroad and bomb Washington back in the 1880s with an advanced war dirigible, complete with cannons, turrets and gatling guns. Unfortunately, Arkady ruins it by getting Jonah Hex involved.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: When the zeppelin attacks the railroad, several soldiers start firing their rifles at it to no visible effect. Then Jonah Hex drops a bomb off in the ship's artillery pile, causing a massive explosion that's attributed to the gunshot that happened at that instant—the shooter is confused while the soldier next to him is impressed.
  • Cowboy Episode: A Whole Episode Flashback showing Jonah Hex battling Ra's al Ghul in the Old West.
  • Dirty Coward: Once at Jonah Hex's mercy, Arkady begged him miserably for his life after failing to bribe him.
  • Dread Zeppelin: Ra's al Ghul has a twin-envelope zeppelin armed with cannons—which unfortunately make it very easy to destroy, simply by pointing one of the cannons at the hydrogen-filled envelopes.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: All of this was so that Ra's al Ghul could bring Arkady home before he dies.
    Ra's: What father can ever forget his son?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ra's is disgusted by Arkady's cruelty towards their workmen.
  • Fakeout Escape: How Jonah escapes imprisonment. The soft dirt floor of his cell allowed him to hide beneath a pile of hay, tricking a guard into opening and entering his cell.
  • Fate Worse than Death: After Hex turns him over to the authorities, Arkady winds up serving 50 years of hard labour. This ends up shattering his mind.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Though the episode features Batman and Ra's al Ghul, it's ultimately a story about Jonah Hex and his quest to arrest Arkady Duvall who is the son of Ra's al Ghul.
  • Framing Device: The main story is presented as a recording left for Batman by Ra's al Ghul, explaining his reasons for taking Arkady Duvall from the rest home.
  • Groin Attack: Robin nut-punches one of Ra's al Ghul's cronies. You don't actually see the impact, but the look on the mook's expressive mask is unmistakable.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guard sees Jonah Hex's cell apparently empty (he'd dug a trench in the dirt floor to hide) and runs right in.
  • Guns Are Worthless: The only time Jonah Hex fires his revolver is against goons whose work suits turn out to be bulletproof. He's then taken prisoner and disarmed, after which he fights the rest of the episode with his fist, knife, and rope.
  • Hero of Another Story: Jonah Hex, of course.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Not one hundred years ago, Arkady was a cruel and arrogant man who lorded over workers and whipped them as he pleased (unless Ras told him otherwise). A century of hard labor has reduced him to an enfeebled old man with a broken mind and a broken spirit.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Ra's abandoned Arkady to his fate because he was too cruel and unstable to be an acceptable successor.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The blonde barmaid is voiced by Elizabeth Montgomery. Yes, the one from Bewitched, which explains why the barmaid looks a lot like Samantha Stephens did in Betwitched's animated opening. It was also her final acting role before her death in May 1995. This episode was first broadcast almost four months after she died.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: If not intentionally. Ra's al Ghul mentions that Arkady is too far gone even for the Lazarus Pits. When Ghul returns in Superman: The Animated Series, his own body is in similar condition.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Arkady winds up serving 50 years of hard labour under (we can assume) even worse conditions and harsher treatment than the workmen he lorded over.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Jonah Hex was originally after Arkady for what the latter did to a girl back east, which resulted in a $200 bounty placed on him. That's how Jonah ends up discovering Arkady's involvement in Ra's plot to destroy the intercontinental railroad.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Arkady actually was about to have Jonah killed for being a possible spy, but Ra's insisted on having Jonah imprisoned so he could be questioned. Because of this, Jonah later escapes and ends up bringing down the airship Ra's built to destroy the railroads.
  • Not Worth Killing: After capturing Duvall Jonah Hex takes him in alive, if only because he doesn't want to drag his dead body across several states for the bounty, opting to make him walk instead.
  • Perspective Flip: Classic Super Hero tale that seems to be Another Side, Another Story from the point of view of the Hero of Another Story, but the Twist Ending reveals a reminiscence of an early Villain Episode.
  • Politician Guest-Star: Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy as the Territorial Governor. This continues a trend established by Leahy, an avowed Batman superfan, of appearing in every Batman adaptation possible.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The episode feels very much like a backdoor pilot for a Jonah Hex cartoon, seeing as how Batman's only in the framing device of Ra's Al Ghul telling a story about a cowboy who thwarted one of his plans once.
  • Recycled In Space: The episode was made because the writers recognized Hex as Batman OF THE OLD WEST!
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Jonah Hex rejects a bribe from the defeated Arkady that is worth over twenty times the bounty for his arrest, insisting on taking him in for the people he has harmed.
  • Shout-Out: Ra's escape glider and the parachutes are modeled off the designs sketched by Leonardo da Vinci. (Ra's could've actually known him personally.)
  • Smug Snake: Arkady has all of Ra's' ego without his better qualities. Best exemplified in his duel with Jonah Hex:
    Duvall: You cannot defeat me. I am a Heidelberg fencing champion.
    Jonah Hex: My heart's all aflutter.
    Duvall: I'll chop you to pieces!
    Jonah Hex: Talk, talk, talk.
  • Steampunk: Ra's al Ghul's airship and base have that whole aesthetic, with the ship even using steam engines.
  • Toilet Humour: Of a sort; when the airship's cannons open fire on the town, a direct hit blasts an outhouse.
  • Villain Has a Point: Ra's is totally correct that Arkady's treatment of their workforce is needlessly cruel.
  • The Western: Set in 1880s as the railroads to the west are being completed.
  • Wham Line: Ra's, when Batman asks why he would take Arkady back.
    Ra's: Come, Detective. Do you truly believe that in 600 years, I would have sired only one offspring?
  • Zeppelins from Another World: An armoured example. In 1883.


Video Example(s):


Let Me Take My Boy Home

At the end of the episode, Batman confronts Ra's al Ghul over kidnapping an elderly man, only to discover that not only was it an old partner of his named Arkady, but that Arkady was Ra's son and that he simply wanted to collect him to bond over for his final days. Understanding this, Batman leaves Ra's to take his son.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvenEvilHasLovedOnes

Media sources: