Mar 7, 2018
The New Batman Adventures “The Demon Within” (part 3 of 3)
Back on the street, Batman suddenly splits into seven Batmans. Etrigan fires his eye beams at one of the Batmans, who explodes into a cloud of smoke. And then bats fly out of the smoke. Trippy.
And now, the Batman duplicates are running around in circles to disorient the bad guys. Etrigan hits a couple more Batmans with his eye beams, and they also disappear into smoke and bats.
The real Batman runs down an alley, and Klarion yells at his demon to follow. Abruptly, Batman and Etrigan are high in the air, fighting on a big network of pipes. That’s Gotham City for you. Whereas most major cities have the sense to put their sewage systems underground, Gotham just has pipes running through the air. All the better for Batman to have something to swing on with his bat-rope, I guess. You can’t say the city planners weren’t thinking ahead on that one.
Batman runs into a dead end alleyway, which he only learns is a dead end when he confronts a “Not a through street” sign. In general, a sign like this is more helpfully placed at the entrance to the street that is not a through street. Okay, I take back everything I just said about the foresight of the Gotham City planners.
Back at Blood Central, Jason is looking even older, and slowly encroaching on Farnsworth territory. He says he’s “losing strength”, but luckily, he’s still able to say some random gibberish to help out Batman. Whew!
Back in the alley, Batman is nowhere to be found, so Etrigan gives up and moves on. And then it turns out Batman was actually absorbed into a brick wall thanks to Jason’s magic. So, just for the record, spikes coming out of your body: bad. Merging with a brick wall: good.
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In another alley, Klarion is smacking his demon. By which I mean, he’s slapping Etrigan, not masturbating. He yells at Etrigan for losing Batman, and then reminds him that “you have to do everything I say, remember?” Now, maybe I haven’t had my Lucky Charms yet, but I’m pretty sure I can remember that the whole premise of this episode is that Klarion has complete control over Etrigan.
Klarion tells his demon to go “right to the source” and “kill Uncle Jason”. Tim and the aforementioned Jason see this in the crystal ball, and Tim thinks this is perhaps not a positive development.
Jason tries to get up from his chair, but he’s too damn old, so he tells Tim to get a jar of blue powder off the shelf. And also, to change the channel while he’s up. And close the damn window, because it’s getting drafty in here! And we know Tim’s got the right bottle, because it’s conspicuously brighter than all the other objects on the shelf.
He tells Tim to spread the powder in a circle around them, and as Tim creates a perfectly circular line of powder, Old Jason mutters more random gibberish “magical” words.
Just then, Etrigan comes smashing through the wall. I don’t think Jason’s landlord is going to be too happy about this. Jason says a set of completely different gibberish words, which cause the powder to shoot rays of light at the ceiling, forming a bright blue cylindrical force field around Jason and Tim.
Back in the alley, Klarion is holding up the barbecue fork and commanding Etrigan to not give up. So Etrigan fires his eye beams at the force field, but the field holds. Then he begins pounding on the force field, but it continues to hold.
Suddenly, Jason collapses, due to excessive oldness. This allows Etrigan to tear a hole in the force field. Klarion celebrates in typical whiny fashion, telling his cat, “Quiet, Teekl! I want to savor this!”
Alas, Klarion is so wrapped up in his remote viewing that Batman is able to run up and tackle him, and slam him against a brick wall. Batman gains possession of the potato masher, and he cleverly keeps it away from Klarion by… holding it above his head. I’m serious. Supposedly, Klarion has an abundance of magical spells at his disposal, and yet he can be defeated by a simple game of keepaway.
Back at Jason’s crib, Etrigan finally breaks through the force field, and tosses Tim to the side like a rag doll. Thanks again for being completely useless, Tim.
That’s when Batman holds the potato masher high and says, “The witch’s evil now undo! Make the one from what is two!” Um. Did Jason tell him that spell? Or did he just make it up on the spot? Is it even a spell? Does the barbecue fork just respond to anything that rhymes?
The branding iron glows, Etrigan glows, Jason glows. Soon, the red “M” vanishes from Etrigan’s forehead, and Jason turns young again. A moment later, he’s absorbed right back into Etrigan.
But Klarion won’t give up that easily. He sics Teekl on Batman, and Teekl changes back into her cat-woman form and lunges at Batman. Batman responds by jamming the potato masher into her forehead and yelling, “Sit!”
Teekl sits, and changes back into a cat. And that’s the end of that little skirmish. I’ll just assume Batman used some magic there to defeat Teekl, and move on.
But Klarion still has more tricks up his sleeve. He conjures up a glowing green orb that looks exactly like the Loc-Nar, and hurls it at Batman. Batman scampers away as the orb causes a massive explosion right behind him. Seriously, the kid can do this, and he couldn’t figure out how to defeat Batman’s vicious game of keepaway?
Klarion throws out more Loc-Nars, and Batman is caught up in the explosions, and getting the crap kicked out of him. Klarion prepares one, final, enormous Loc-Nar to finish off Batman for good. But just as he lobs it over, a big pink ray of energy slams into it.
Etrigan comes running into the frame, and it turns out the big pink ray is coming from… um… Etrigan’s mouth? Well, sure. Of course it is. Etrigran has the supernatural ability to vomit Pepto Bismol-colored energy. Which is not disturbing at all.
Oh yeah, and Robin’s here too, continuing to be useless. I don’t know why Tim even bothered to take the time to finally change into his Robin costume.
The green orb and pink energy ray collide, and then everything explodes into enough bright light to capture the attention of even the most Ritalin-addicted WB kids on a Saturday morning. Wheee!
Klarion is knocked out cold. All the heroes stand over him, and Batman wonders what happens to him now. This leads to the following (relatively) amusing exchange.
Etrigan: Mother’s grief, father’s shame, soon he goes to whence he came.
Robin: What’s that mean?
Etrigan: I’m sending him to his room.
Robin: What’s that mean?
Etrigan: I’m sending him to his room.
In general, stories about kids with godlike powers who get sent to their “rooms” by their even more godlike “parents” are kind of old hat. I mean, didn’t the original Star Trek have at least three episodes like this? But whatever. The episode is almost over.
There’s more blinding psychedelic light, and then both Etrigan and Klarion vanish into thin air. Robin starts to ask Batman what the hell happened tonight, but all Batman can say is, “Don’t ask. Just… don’t ask.”
Cross fade to Jason’s crib, and a close-up of the crystal ball. We see Klarion inside the crystal ball, sitting in a chair looking like he’s being punished. And then we pull out to find Jason casually reading a newspaper in front of the fireplace. End episode.
So, are we to infer that Klarion is now trapped inside the crystal ball? Or that the crystal ball is giving us a glimpse of the place where Jason sent him, which is… where, exactly? And if it was that easy to send Klarion “to his room”, why didn’t Jason just do that back at the auction house and save everybody a lot of trouble and stop this whole stupid episode from happening in the first place?
You know what? I think we should all listen to Batman on this one. Don’t ask. Just… don’t ask.
I guess this entire episode came about because the producers were big fans of Jack Kirby and wanted to include one of his creations, and also put Kirby’s name in the closing credits. But I think it’s obvious from the end result that witches and spells and demons really have no place in the Batman universe.
Let’s face it, magic is, well, magic. It can do anything the plot demands, and it seems to require no actual effort on the part of the characters who use it. Any story that consists mostly of people saying random gibberish to defeat each other is simply not going to generate a whole lot of tension.
And of course, I can’t think of a worse villain for Batman than a bratty kid who uses his godlike powers as a means to acquire free ice cream and cake.
But this wasn’t an awful episode, just very forgettable. Which can also be said of all six episodes that I’ve seen so far of The New Batman Adventures. I’m sure some fans of the show might complain that I need to give it a chance, but to me, watching what amounts to a month and a half worth of episodes certainly qualifies as giving a series “a chance”.
But that won’t stop me from continuing on with these recaps. Join me next time as I pick an episode out of a hat and bring you more of The New Batman Adventures!