DCAU #71: House & Garden

IN THIS ONE... Poison Ivy creates a family of pod people for herself.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; directed by Boyd Kirkland.

REVIEW: Poison Ivy's reformation is suspect from the beginning, not because her new life is "too perfect", but because she's married her doctor from Arkham. If this were true, I'd expect the guy to be investigated. But it's not, he's just a patsy, trapped in his own basement providing DNA for Ivy's creepy pod babies that play the role of children, then husband, then cactus monster that does her bidding. Given that her desire to have a so-called normal life and family is actually quite real, and that her personal tragedy is that her super-immune system prevents her from having children (wow, that's well thought out and adult), we feel for her. It's not new; her domesticity with Harley Quinn the last time we saw her is part of the same compulsion. But of course, her psychosis prevents any kind of normal approach to satiating that need (it's doubtful she would be allowed to adopt given her record), and the family she grows herself is nightmarish.

A surprising amount of gruesome body horror in this episode, then, possibly kept reasonable by the monsters looking kind of goofy. But the reveal of babies growing like vegetables, knowing they go from sons to husbands to horrors within a few days (or lickety split if she needs an army), and the plant-based Ivy simulacrum that dies and melts at the end of the episode all contribute to the episode's creep factor. Like the robots in Heart of Steel, the plant creatures are far enough from real people that they can be killed, and there's plenty of action amidst the drama - Bruce Wayne surviving an attack by being prepared, Robin (extra useful thanks to insider knowledge) fighting with secateurs, etc. The animation has a little trouble keeping up with the slithering action at times, but I'm niggling.

SOUNDS LIKE: Dick's date Cindy is voiced by Megan Mullally of Will & Grace and Parks & Recs (something about ampersands...). TV Movie regular Peter Strauss plays Dr. Steven Carlyle.

A pretty great Poison Ivy episode that makes her sympathetic, but at the same time, horrific.



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