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Recap / The Adventures of Batman & Robin E17 "Lock-Up"

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The streets of Gotham aren't big enough for two vigilantes when a new masked crimefighter, Lock-Up, shows up and starts trying to enforce a far tougher punishment in order to counteract Arkham's Cardboard Prison tendencies.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Summer Gleeson refers to Poison Ivy as a "villainous vixen of vines."
  • Batman Gambit: At the hearing, the villains are too terrified of Bolton to expose his actions. Finally, Wayne proposes giving Bolton another eighteen months of work, which immediately causes them to spill the beans.
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  • Berserk Button: When the inmates of Arkham expose his terrible acts, Bolton tries to brand them as liars and lashes out at them. Only a pile-up of six guards and the subtle assistance of Bruce Wayne tripping him up prevents him from attempting to strangle the criminals.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Regarding Bolton's attitude as a warden; Batman even hands Scarecrow to him without any fuss. Bruce knows that Bolton was trained to be a good leader and warden from Wayne Enterprises, and Bolton says that there are problems with Arkham being a Cardboard Prison while it contains mass murderers and would-be killers. No one contests that. On the other hand, the whole point of the Aslyum is to rehabilitate inmates so that they can reenter society, which is why Bruce is concerned about how terrified Harley and Scarface are when they tell him about Bolton's actions. He revokes Bolton's authority when he goes after the inmates for revealing the truth because the man went against the whole mission.
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  • Canon Immigrant: Lock-Up was one of two characters created for the series that found themselves in the main comics. Given that the other one was the massively popular Harley Quinn, Lock-Up is often forgotten, which is ironic as he was actually imported into the comics before Quinn.
  • Cardboard Prison: One of Bolton's biggest hang-ups is how poor a track record Arkham has when it comes to keeping hold of its inmates. During his tenure as security chief, however, Arkham has only one break-out—though the Scarecrow only escapes getting away from Bolton himself.
  • Cool Boat: The USS Halsey, a decommissioned battleship that Lock-Up uses as his base of operations/personal prison.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The eponymous villain was formerly a guard at Arkham Asylum who got his position due to endorsement and support from Wayne Enterprises. When he goes insane and begins kidnapping the people he blames for the city's problems (the police, bureaucrats and reporters that he says cause the criminals), Robin snarkily comments, "Another fine villain made possible by a grant from the Wayne Foundation." The look Batman shoots him is not happy.
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  • Debate and Switch: The episode brings up that Arkham is a Cardboard Prison, and some of its inmates are murderers or convicted violent thieves. No one contests that, Batman included. Lock-Up's methods are extreme, but as Robin points out he's a product of Wayne Enterprises. Rather than go into a discussion of alternative solutions to the Cardboard Prison, Lock-Up decides to kidnap Summer, Commissioner Gordon, and Mayor Hill.
  • Distant Prologue: The prologue takes place six months before the rest of the episode.
  • Emotional Regression: It's implied that Bolton torturing Harley caused her to lose some of her sanity, just after she had been released on probation in "Harley's Holiday" and her doctor Joan Leland promised to work with her. She's noticeably less trusting of Bruce when he asks for her side of the story with Bolton, despite the fact that he was civil to her in that episode.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Bolton seems to be incapable of understanding why Batman would show any mercy towards criminals.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Bolton's apartment is quite large for a single security guard. What makes it eerie is that the apartment is also nearly completely empty, with its only contents being a fireplace, a TV and a chair to watch it in. And Bolton busts the TV on his way out.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Lyle Bolton wants to make sure no supervillain can ever escape from Arkham, but his methods are so brutal and cruel that eventually, he ends up an inmate.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Even the most irredeemable and hardened criminals in Arkham are frightened by Bolton, and refuse to speak out for fear of what punishments he would inflict on them (only when being told not speaking out would mean an extension of his watch over Arkham do they realize it's now or never to expose him). Even Scarecrow, the self-proclaimed "god of fear" who specializes in manipulating terror, escapes the asylum just to get away from Bolton.
    Scarecrow: Look at me Batman, I'm shaking with fear. Me! The Scarecrow!
  • In Prison with the Rogues: The overzealous Arkham warden is first fired for his methods, then becomes a vigilante, and at the end, goes to Arkham again, this time as an inmate. And is glad he can now once again keep an eye on the criminals.
  • Informed Ability: Apparently, Lock-Up is such a horrific guard that he has driven even the already-insane inmates of Arkham further insane, paralyzing the Scarecrow, "The God of Fear," with fear. When his offenses against the patients are actually given, however, it is debatable as to whether they are extreme or standard asylum fare, apart from his mental abuse of the Ventriloquist (threatening to burn the Scarface doll or holding the dummy over termites), possibly because the show could not portray anything worse.
  • Kick the Dog: Given this takes place after "Harley's Holiday" where Harley tried to prove she was reformed and failed due to her blowing a misunderstanding out of proportion, it's established that Bolton torturing her is despicable and may have caused her to regress. She is close to tears when telling Bruce Wayne that even when the inmates behave, Bolton finds reasons to punish them.
  • The Jailer: Lock-Up provides the trope image.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Lock-Up goes from wanting to lock up Gotham's criminals to wanting to lock up Gotham's authority figures for not being extreme enough (such as people like Gordon, who actually captures the criminals to begin with).
  • Knight Templar: Lock-Up may be one of the purest examples of this, being a former head of security at Arkham who was fired for brutalizing the inmates, who comes back as a villain trying to imprison forever the "scum" that he feels represent the people that allowed Gotham to get this way (including the head doctor at Arkham, Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, and Summer Gleeson). In true Knight Templar fashion, he has no idea that he's gone too far (he views Batman as a potential partner, much to the other's disgust).
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The deranged security chief of Arkham Asylum becomes one more costumed criminal terrorizing the streets of Gotham and is placed in Arkham Asylum as an imnate once he's captured. Bolton, on his end, is too crazy to see it as punishment and loves the fact that he can keep an eye on the other inmates 24/7.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The fight between Batman and Lock-Up causes Bolton's ship to tear itself open on some rocks, and by the episode's end the Halsey has sunk into the depths of Gotham Bay.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: Lock-Up uses a robotic truck to kidnap Summer Gleeson: the back opens up and two claws come out, snatch up Summer's car and drag it inside.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Rather than take out his anger on the broken prison system or the villains themselves, Lock-Up kidnaps a cop, a mayor, and a journalist, blaming them for Arkham being terrible. Summer makes the least sense because she doesn't make the news, she reports it. Her editor-in-chief is a more sensible target.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When the Arkham inmates finally speak against Bolton, his furious reaction certainly doesn't help. If he had just kept calm, he would have been able to save his job. Instead, he lunges for them and beats up the five orderlies holding him back.
  • Not Me This Time: Batman and Robin intercept Scarecrow after he escaped from Arkham Asylum. However, he reveals while they have him in custody that he wasn't even planning to do any crimes. Actually, he broke out just to get away from Arkham Asylum due to the new security chief (who was extremely abusive to the prisoners).
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Scarecrow looks genuinely terrified, and not because he was hit with his own gas, Batman takes notice. He says that Scarecrow usually has a scheme and sees the villain doesn't have one.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Lock-Up is a fairly obvious GOP pundit parody. He constantly says that the "liberal media," "coddling doctors," and "gutless police" are responsible for supercrime in Gotham. He believes that the criminals at Arkham don't deserve privileges or even the most basic humane treatment. Obviously, he's hyperbolized, but it's still pretty severe for a kids' show.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Bruce Wayne when Scarecrow tells him in Batman's guise that he's afraid of the new Arkham Warden. He goes to investigate at Arkham, question the inmates about what has been going on, and eventually coaxes out that Bolton is torturing them. When he learns that Bolton was abusing his power, the doctors in charge revoke his authority. It says something that these supervillains trust Bruce to handle the situation enough when confessing what has been happening behind closed doors.
    • The Arkham orderlies when they break up the brewing fight Harley and Scarface. Harley smacks Scarface's head and grabs Wesker, shouting they must tell the truth; note that when the orderlies pull her away, they have a lighter grip on Wesker who didn't do anything. No one even bothers to restrain Scarecrow because he merely points at Bolton and describes the torture. They also let Harley and Wesker go to handle Bolton.
  • Sadist: Lock-Up thinks that criminals deserve to be tortured and clearly enjoys doing it—and when stopped, expands his definition of "criminals" to include those who got him fired or condemned his actions, as well as Gordon, the Mayor and Batman because he thinks they are too "soft" on criminals. He is so scary the other Bat-rogues try to escape Arkham solely to get away from him.
  • Shadow Archetype: Lock-Up is essentially what Batman would be if his desire to inflict vengeance on criminals ever outweighed his belief that even the worst offenders deserve a second chance.
  • Shout-Out: When the computer reveals that Bolton was the maximum-security chief during Operation Stonegate, Robin says, "Well, blow me down!" which was the catchphrase of Popeye.
  • Strawman News Media: It doesn't help Lock-Up look any less reasonable that the Gotham "liberal media" he seethes against is in fact a vapid and shallow network afflicted with a bad case of Worst News Judgment Ever, sensationalizing unrepentant Arkham regulars like Poison Ivy to the point of depicting them as socialite darlings.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Lock-Up's methods are extreme and inhumane, but Arkham is a Cardboard Prison, especially for the more dangerous criminals like Joker. Though as Batman and Robin point out, the solution is to fix the system, not take it out on the inmates.
    • He is meant to be seen as a hard-headed conservative nutcase with his rant about the inefficient politicians and the "liberal media" being the cause of the superpowered psychos. While "cause" might be a stretch, he's quite right about them being part of the problem. The police routinely fail to combat the maniacs, leaving a vigilante to do 90% of the work, the people running Arkham keep it a barely-functional revolving door, and the politicians for the most part do nothing at all to improve Arkham or Gotham itself. Hell, we even see the news treating Poison Ivy as a media darling instead of a murderous eco-terrorist! If they all did their jobs more efficiently and professionally, maybe there wouldn't be so many costumed freaks terrorizing the city.
    • Sadly by the time of Batman Beyond, he's proven right as nothing has changed despite advancements in technology criminals and freaks still terrorize Gotham City.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Lyle Bolton, during his tenure as security chief of Arkham Asylum, applies such extreme brutality to the inmates that the one break-out that we are aware of happened on his watch (the Scarecrow) did it just to get the hell away from Bolton and nothing else. As Lock-Up, he places people in a privately-built secret prison with the plan of keeping them there for life (however long that may be). By the epilogue, Bolton is so deranged that being placed in Arkham Asylum is not seen by him as punishment, but rather he revels in the fact that he will be able to keep an eye on all of the inmates forever... even if he's bound up Hannibal Lecter-style and placed in a tiny room.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lock-Up... well locks up who he thinks is the real source of the problems in Gotham, the lax Police Force (Gordon), the pushover Doctors (Dr. Bartholomew), mindless Bureaucrats (Mayor Hill), and the media (Summer Gleeson) that "glorifies" the Bat-villains. Ironically, he is probably right.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Being the security chief for Arkham must have payed beaucoup bucks, because Bolton has at his disposal an arsenal of gadgets and vehicles comparable to the billionaire Bruce Wayne's toy chest. Electrified riot sticks, tire locks capable of immobilizing the Batmobile, even an armored car/prisoner transport van. And let's not forget he amassed all this while also paying for his oddly spacious apartment mentioned above. Wayne exposits that Bolton is an expert in high-tech security, implying that he built all of his wonderful toys himself.
  • With Us or Against Us: Lock-Up actually says, "If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem." (Throughout the episode, he also blames the "liberal media," as well as "gutless police, mindless bureaucrats, and coddling doctors" for society's problems, so he's really more of an outright parody of conservative argumentation.)


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