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Recap / The Adventures of Batman & Robin E3 "Trial"

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Gotham's new District Attorney, Janet van Dorn, blames Batman for the city's problems. The inmates of Arkham kidnap her and Batman and put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them—and Janet is given the task of defending him.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Angrish: Harley gets into a particularly hammy version that quickly devolves into unintelligible shouting when she sees evidence that Joker revealed many of her criminal acts in court to reduce his own sentence.
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  • Batman Gambit: Batman pulls one that allows Commissioner Gordon to find him, but Van Dorn also uses these to discredit the villains during their testimony.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Van Dorn says on television that she wants to put Batman on trial. The Arkham residents do just that—with van Dorn serving as Batman's defense attorney. Though she comes to realize that this was actually the better decision.
  • Berserk Button: Van Dorn uses the Mad Hatter's obsession with Alice and Poison Ivy's fanatical love of plants against them on the witness stand, prompting both into snarling breakdowns to discredit them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The villains are about to unmask Batman, so Van Dorn throws the batarang she recovered earlier at the only light in the room.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Batman's enemies have captured and restrained him, but instead of just killing him decide to put him on trial. With the Joker as the judge and Mad Hatter, Harley, and Croc as the Jury. The DA who stated that Batman should be put on trial is kidnapped to be his defense, and if she gets him acquitted they'll both be set free, if she fails they'll both be killed. But then, what else would you expect from Batman's enemies? Two-Face at least does want to just shoot him, but lost the coin toss. They do try to kill him after the trial, but by then Batman and the DA manage to escape.
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  • Bullying a Dragon: Van Dorn plucks a flower in front of Poison Ivy when the latter gives testimony. She invokes this to discredit the testimony.
  • Call-Back:
    • Assorted Arkham inmates are baying for Batman's blood while Killer Croc suggests they "Hit'im with a rock!", which is first featured in both "Almost Got 'Im" and "Sideshow".
    • Poison Ivy makes a reference to trying to kill Harvey Dent in "Pretty Poison," her debut episode.
    • Nearly all the villains' origins are referenced in the trial.
  • The Cameo: The Riddler and Scarecrow have no lines and play only minor roles in the episode, probably for budgetary reasons related to their voice actors given the already large guest cast. Also, Scarecrow's voice actor Henry Polic II was unavailable for health reasons.
  • Cat Fight: Subverted; Poison Ivy attacks van Dorn when the latter plucks a flower, but Killer Croc and the Scarecrow pull Ivy off van Dorn.
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  • The Cavalry: The GCPD in the climax.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Van Dorn picks up a Batarang that Batman leaves with a Bound and Gagged gang leader. It comes in handy when the Arkham residents try to unmask Batman.
    • As anyone who has any sense would on capturing Batman, the villains remove his utility belt; Harley wears it as a trophy during the trial. She's the first person he nabs from the dark, so when he takes on the rest he's got his toys back.
  • Courtroom Antic: Van Dorn does this with the flower the Joker keeps in his lapel to enrage and discredit Poison Ivy.
  • Courtroom Episode: The inmates of Arkham Asylum capture both Batman and new district attorney Janet van Dorn and put the former on trial (with the Joker as judge), with the latter acting as defense. Ms. van Dorn is an outspoken critic of the Dark Knight, being prevented from putting inmates in prison for life due to their being apprehended by a vigilante, and has made claims that Batman was directly responsible for creating all the supervillain scum of Gotham—now, in the Kangaroo Court set up at Arkham, she is tasked with defending Batman from those very claims. She succeeds in proving that each and every villain would've become who they were even without Batman's existence, both changing her tune on the Caped Crusader's role in society and actually convincing the inmates to find him Not Guilty. Unfortunately, being that they are such crooks, they don't want to pass up the opportunity to off them anyway—but since Ms. van Dorn did her job, it becomes time for Batman to do his...
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Arkham Asylum inmates put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them. This trial leads to the revelation that even if Batman had not pushed them off the edge, they were all deeply disturbed people and would have entered villainy anyway from their own motivations (the only thing the Caped Crusader really influenced them to do was wear costumes). In fact, they created him. The villains then come to terms with this and find Batman innocent... and then, because they are such bad guys, they try to kill him anyway.
  • Dating Catwoman: Considering van Dorn is on a crusade to get rid of Batman, Bruce's date with her could be seen as this. If she had seen him unmasked, their relationship could have gotten awkward.
  • Debate and Switch: The episode opens with several valid anti-Batman arguments, including the idea that Batman's vigilante status forces the justice system to send all the supervillains to Arkham instead of jail/death row (ignoring cases such as the Penguin, who is regularly sent to prison), as well as the idea the police are growing too dependent on Batman. However, most of the plot pursues the most easily-disproved one—that Batman "creates" all the supervillains—and by the climax it's pretty much turned into a standard Legion of Doom episode.
  • Disregard That Statement: Parodied when the Mad Hatter bursts out that he would have killed Alice rather than let her go if he'd gotten the chance.
    Mad Hatter: Your Honor, I would like that last remark stricken from the record.
    Joker: Record? Is someone supposed to be writing this down?
  • Enemy Mine: Van Dorn defends Batman as best she can under the circumstances despite her distaste for his vigilantism. At the end she comes to respect his methods, and they agree to work to create a city that no longer needs Batman.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Van Dorn gets some of the villains to admit that they chose evil all by themselves — at most, Batman may have inspired them toward supervillain gimmickry instead of mundane crime.
  • Escape Artist: Batman could've escaped his straitjacket whenever he wanted, but he needed the right moment first. Van Dorn gives it to him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Scarface objects to Joker almost hitting Killer Croc with his gun.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: After all the jokes in the fandom about Gordon and the GCPD being incompetent without Batman's help, it's nice to see Gordon using good old-fashioned detective work to figure out Batman's being held at Arkham.
  • Glasses Pull: When the jury ends up finding Batman Not Guilty, van Dorn does this out of surprise.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The villains putting Batman on trial with Van Dorn having to defend him. Her closer examination on them ultimately results in her and Batman actually winning the case.
  • Hanging Judge: The Joker takes on this role. It is lampshaded as a Visual Pun after Batman escapes and the Joker battles him while swinging on a rope.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: The episode makes it clear that all of the villains are this. They would've become what they were in some way, and Batman's interference was a coincidence, or even the effect, not the cause.
  • Hostage-Handler Huddle: As 'Judge' Joker introduces the 'impartial' jury, they start yelling out suggestions of what to do with Batman:
    The Mad Hatter: Hang him!
    Harley Quinn: Shoot him!
    Killer Croc: Hit him with a rock!
  • If I Can't Have You...: The Hatter outright admits he'd have killed Alice rather than see her with someone else.
  • Joker Jury: With the Joker as judge!
  • Judicial Wig: Batman is put before a Joker Jury that the the man himself presides over. Joker's attire includes the traditional black cloak and powdered wig, both apparently over his regular suit.
  • Kangaroo Court: The villains of Gotham take over Arkham Asylum, where they kidnap Batman to face an obviously one-sided trial (with several villains as the jury, Two-Face as the prosecutor, and the Joker as the judge). Also, Batman's defense attorney is Janet van Dorn, who was also kidnapped for this and happens to be anti-Batman. They actually do win the trial, but since they're dealing with psychopathic villains, said villains attempt to kill them off anyway.
  • Lap Pillow: Joker and Harley, to the disgust of Janet van Dorn.
    Van Dorn: I object to this witness! She's obviously trying to influence the judge.
    Joker: [sounding genuinely confused] What makes you say that?
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: After the villains discover that Batman has escaped:
    Two-Face: Everyone spread out—don't let him get away!
    Batman: [from the surrounding darkness] Who says I'm leaving?
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: The lights are knocked out just as the assembled criminals are about to kill Batman. When Two-Face gets out his lighter, they see that Batman has escaped.
  • Mook Horror Show: When Batman escapes his straitjacket after the light is broken, the villains are in a dark room lit only by Two-Face's lighter. Batman circles around the edges of room, outside the lighter's radius, and grabs the villains one by one. The Joker finally says it is okay to panic when he notices Harley suspended from the ceiling and bound with the straitjacket Batman had just escaped from. To make things worse for the villains, Harley was the one who was holding onto Batman's utility belt.
  • Never My Fault: There's a lot of this, but the Mad Hatter just might take the cake—insisting that Batman forced him to kidnap and brainwash Alice, despite the fact that he didn't even come to blows with Batman until after he kidnapped Alice.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Ventriloquist is made the bailiff and washes out, so Scarface takes over.
    Scarface: HE SAYS OYEZ, DIRTBAGS! DUMMY UP!
  • Not So Different:
    Janet: I see now there's a need for the things you do. But I'm still going to work towards a city that doesn't need Batman.
    Batman: Me, too.
  • Nuclear Candle: Two-Face lights up a room with his lighter, revealing that Batman has escaped. The fire does not quite illuminate the entire room, leaving the edges in shadow for Batman to hide in and grab the villains one by one.
  • Off on a Technicality: "Trial" demonstrates that Batman's vigilante work can lead to this.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: This is a group effort, but it's the Joker who claims the right of unmasking Batman.
  • Pet the Dog: Scarface, of all people, has a moment. When Killer Croc is fighting Batman in a dark room, Joker takes Scarface's gun with the intent to shoot inside the room. Scarface is upset... not because Joker took his gun, but because he's afraid Croc might get shot.
  • Right in Front of Me: While on a date with Bruce Wayne, van Dorn starts talking smack about Batman. If she only knew...
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: Nine of Batman's recurring villains appear in the episode (though a couple of them have no lines).
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Most of the trial sequence revolves around Batman and Van Dorn using the villains' pathologies against them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Ship Tease: Though Harley and the Joker are together in this episode, Harley gives Ivy an enthusiastic welcome and invites her to the Mad Hatter's "party".
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Two-Face offhandedly mentions that he suggested "a quick slug between the eyes" rather than all the theatrics. Naturally, he lost the coin toss.
  • Superhero Paradox: Discussed. Van Dorn concludes that while Batman may have inspired his enemies' various gimmicks, most of them would be spreading misery one way or the other.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Batman's entire Rogues Gallery practically set things up for him to lose the trial, but just by doing her job as an attorney, Janet ends up giving them no choice but to find him innocent. So they give it up and go straight for the sentence.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: Batman has been captured, bound in a straitjacket and is about to be unmasked by his Rogues Gallery. Harley Quinn has his utility belt. Janet manages to smash the only light in the room, and the Dark Knight instantly escapes and retrieves his weapons. Everyone freaks out because Batman is on the loose in just the sort of poorly-lit environment where he is next to invincible.
    Two-Face: NOBODY PANIC!
    [lights a match; Batman has escaped; Harley Quinn's bound in the straitjacket, upside down, without the utility belt]
    Joker: Okay... start panicking.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The villains of the series come to the realization that Batman did not create them, but they they created him. If Batman had never existed they would have lost their sanity and turned to crime anyway, but it was only because of crime that Batman himself was born.
  • Villain Ball: It's good thing the villains all stay at or return to Arkham rather than rampaging through Gotham. Justified in that they're all supposed to be insane.
  • Villains Never Lie: While the villains on the stand offer versions of their origins that are only Metaphorically True, when caught out by van Dorn they admit she's right.
  • Villain Team-Up
  • We Have Reserves:
    Scarface: Hold on, you'll hit Croc!
    Joker: What's your point?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Riddler is seen among the villains as a juror in their Kangaroo Court. However, he disappears during the second half of the episode and his chair in the jury is even empty. One review of the episode suggests that the Riddler was smart enough to realize that the Joker's plan would probably fail anyway and pulled a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, leaving a dummy behind in his place (which was discovered off-screen). Of course, this would create a Continuity Snarl with his next appearance, in which he's free after being judged sane rather than as an escapee. Alternatively, since he never moves and has no lines, he's still catatonic following his previous appearance.
  • Woman Scorned: Van Dorn turns Harley's infatuation with the Joker into raging fury by mentioning that he'd finked on her in hopes of getting extra privileges for himself.
    Harley: Is that true, Puddin'?
    Joker: [squirming] "Finked" is such an ugly word....
    Harley: [grabs and shakes him] YOU LOUSY SCUM-SUCKING CREEP!
  • You Don't Look Like You: In "Shadow of the Bat: Part 1", Janet van Dorn looked more like a frigid, 40-something old maid. In this episode she is much younger and more attractive.

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