CREDITS: Written by Marty Isenberg, Robert N. Skir and Paul Dini; directed by Dan Riba.
REVIEW: Given how Batman is so often portrayed these days, his problem with Lock-Up seems almost hypocritical at times. Because Lock-Up really does sound like Frank Miller's Goddamn Batman at times, all too ready to do what must be done, like torturing the Ventriloquist's dummy with termites. But we must remember this is a gentler, wiser Batman. Just ignore the fact he stops most of his villains with brutal punches. Maybe they're not that brutal. I dunno. I'm sure the Scarecrow goes down with a light tap. But since Bruce Wayne's Foundation paid for the security expert at Arkham, it's his responsibility to get him fired, which sends Lyle Bolton off the deep end and into Akham-worthy territory himself.
A more mature story would have had Lock-Up capturing criminals on his own terms and Batman interceding for the law. Two vigilantes straddling a gray zone. Instead, Lock-Up is quite mad and jails liberal media type Summer Gleason, ineffectual cop James Gordon, bleeding heart psychiatrist Dr. Bartholomew, and systemic problem Mayor Hill. That squarely puts him on the side of evil, and starts a ring wing/left wing argument the show isn't really prepared to have. That simplified morality, I think, doesn't do the character justice. But on the level of poetic justice, I can appreciate his final fate, happily keeping an eye on Arkham from inside his own cell.
The episode is well balanced between Batman acting cleverly - the hearing where he has to shake the information out of the inmates - playing detective, and exciting action. The finale, on a sinking ship, pulls out all the stops. Hostages in the flooding hold, a fight on the rudder getting Batman all too close to spinning propeller blades, some great stuff.
IN THE COMICS: Lock-Up is an original creation from the DCAU, but turns up in the comics later, specifically Robin #24 (1996). In this and later appearances, he would capture villains and mobsters and put them in his ow personal prison. This Lyle Bolton was a police academy washout, fired from several security jobs (but not Arkham), and turned vigilante. Regardless, Lock-Up's M.O. is basically the Chain Gang's, a group whose series, Chain Gang War, took place near Gotham in 1993-94.
SOUNDS LIKE: Lock-Up is voiced by Bruce Weitz who would go on to play Bruno Manheim in the Superman Animated Series. Previously, he was best known as Sgt. Mick Belker on Hill Street Blues.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A strong new villain is introduced, but the plot isn't as complex as such a character might have warranted.