DCAU #114: The Terrible Trio

IN THIS ONE... Bored playboys put on animal masks and commit crimes.

CREDITS: Written by Alan Burnett and Michael Reaves; directed by Frank Paur.

REVIEW: They did a good job of resurrecting these Silver Age morts, making them part of Bruce Wayne's world (although having Bruce shoot skeets with them, with a GUN, is suspect for a number of reasons), and giving them a backstory that's about something other than their gimmicks. As elitist, bored, wealthy heirs who have done it all and are turning to crime for cheap thrills, they are much more interesting, and their fraternity connection has, with the help of those animal masks, the feel of Freemasonry. An elite within the elite.

Unfortunately, the pacing in this one is a little limp. There's a lot of air in between moments, and I can't quite care for the Trio's victims. Daddy Fallbrook is just a typical rich dude. His daughter is a spoiled brat no matter how much Bruce Wayne shows her kindness. It's only really the low-paid security guard who owns nothing but his integrity, in the first act, that seems at all sympathetic. The script ALMOST angles for this contrast between classes, but never really gets there. It's a shame; it would have certainly elevated the episode. Maybe they never figured out how Bruce Wayne fit the theme. So he's out there, wasting his time shooting skeets with the boys, not as part of any kind of detective work either.

Fairly good action beats nonetheless, with Rebecca Fallbrook's rescue well played, but once we're in a snow setting, even if I'm happy to see something a little different on the show, it sort of makes me realize they didn't really do a strong land, air and sea story either. Maybe they should add a Polar Bear and call themselves a Quartet. The ending comes off as slightly abrupt; Fox claims he has all the judges in his pocket, but we cut to his dingy cell, so it didn't go his way. Why not? The themes of the episode would have seemed to say he was correct, and yet. And he has to share the space with a cold street killer; again a hint of the class struggle creeps in, but they don't really go for it. Too bad.

IN THE COMICS: The Terrible Trio in the comics was pretty much forgotten group of thieves with a land-air-water motif, first appearing in Detective Comics #253 (1958) and not very much afterward. I've written about them HERE. Though the three boys who appear on the show have the same names as the original Trio, their backstory is different.

SOUNDS LIKE: Bill Mumy (Lost in Space, Babylon 5) plays Fox. Peter Scolari (Newhart, Girls) plays Shark. Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope) plays Sheldon Fallbrook. And Khrystyne Haje (Head of the Class) plays Rebecca Fallbrook.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Interesting "new" villains, but the execution doesn't take them far enough.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

"Although having Bruce shoot skeets with them, with a GUN, is suspect for a number of reasons"

I thought the exact same thing.

Always good to get some more Peter Scholari, though.

American Hawkman said...

Well, it's established that Bruce trains obsessively with firearms to know how to counter them... but yeah, weird. As for the story, it's probably the third best of the Trio's stories in decades, behind the Dr. Mid-Nite mini and the Dini run where the Shark goes crazier and tries to kill his partners.


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