DCAU #27: Eternal Youth

IN THIS ONE... Poison Ivy opens a spa that turns industrialists into trees.

CREDITS: Written by Beth Bornstein (her only DCAU episode, she had previous written for Tiny Toons, Jem and Transformers); directed by Kevin Altieri.

REVIEW: Poison Ivy's back with a crazy scheme to turn the people responsible for destroying the Amazon into a forest of creepy floronic men. The background artists have fun with these warped trunks, and earlier, shaped hedges that look like Godzilla and Mothra - appreciated! - and it's interesting that Bruce Wayne is a target not because of something he did, but because he missed an underling's wrongdoing. Why isn't Lucius Fox getting a good talking-to? I like Violet and Lily, Ivy's sidekicks, in principle, though they don't amount to much. And I certainly don't begrudge Alfred his spotlight.

The character of Maggie Page is problematic, however. She comes out of nowhere, practically acting like a Batman Family insider even if we've never met her, and though presented as a viable love interest for Alfred, she's never seen again. Maggie was a nice contrast to Alfred, a free-spirited woman who would have kept him on his toes, but she also plays as a lady of some breeding, and it seems like Alfred wouldn't date outside his "class". They go to Ivy's spa and get frisky, and then Alfred is all about sprucing up the Batcave with plants... who would surely die in that dark environment! What the heck? Alfred too collapses, because the plant enzyme in his system is making him behave like a plant, but that's something you're meant to understand on your own. It's garbled by the final scene in bright sunlight - if Alfred is getting better, maybe showing him active at night would have been better?

But the script has several problems on this order. We're supposed to believe all those rich people (AND Alfred) are happy with "Dr. Demeter" informing them they've already been breathing, eating and drinking her enzyme without their knowledge. It makes them compliant, I get it, but... was it even needed? In the climax, Ivy uses triple-strength enzyme to shoot Batman and turn him into wood in a matter of moments (it doesn't work because his cape is covered in herbicide), so why build a spa, design a marketing campaign, and entertain the very people she hates while they get multiple treatments? It doesn't track. In the end, Ivy is propelled upwards by a quickly growing tree and is pinned against her hot house dome's ceiling, which then cracks under the strength of the branches. And Ivy survives this? We can't really stick around and check because we need to squeeze in a couple more plant puns. Have mercy.

IN THE COMICS: Neither Maggie Page nor Poison Ivy's henchwomen Violet and Lily are comic book characters. Maggie calls Alfred "Alfie", which is a diminutive usually reserved for Dick Grayson in the comics.

SOUNDS LIKE: Paddi Edwards who plays Maggie has had a few notable roles, including the voices of Floatsam & Jetsam in The Little Mermaid, the voice of Gozer in Ghostbusters, and the shapeshifting chaperone Anya in Star Trek TNG's The Dauphin. Violet is Lynne Marie Stewart, Miss Yvonne from  the  The Pee-wee Herman Show, and Lily is Julie Brown, the voice of Minerva Mink on Anamaniacs.

- Nowhere near the quality of Poison Ivy's first episode. I can't bring myself to call it a Medium-Low, but it's quite ordinary.



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