DCAU #187: Double Talk

IN THIS ONE... The Ventriloquist is back, but he's cured. Except forces are trying to make him reanimate Scarface again.

CREDITS: Written by Robert Goodman; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: Double Talk is a lot more positive about the Batman villains' chance at redemption than any episode before it. The Ventriloquist isn't just sent home, Bruce Wayne takes an active part in his rehabilitation, giving him both home and work. Bats has been just dark enough this season for me to wonder if he just wants to keep a close eye on his former rogue, but his interventions are more about making sure Scarface's other henchmen don't bother the Ventriloquist so he can have a clean shot at a normal life. So while Scarface does return, in the end, it's the Ventriloquist who throws him in the equivalent of a wood chipper. He takes control of his own life and destroys his alter ego.

It's interesting that Rhino and Mugsy engineer Scarface's return, needing him for his "brains" (even though it's pretty clever of them to think this plot up, faking hallucinations that will make the Ventriloquist put the dummy back on his hand). It's even more interesting that Scarface doesn't appreciate it, claiming he was laying low, which in truth, he was. Once the heist is done - and may I say it's clever of the writers to include a voice-activated vault in a Ventriloquist story - he turns on them.

The action in this one is always brief, but impactful. Batman and Batgirl are smart and quick, and I especially like how the Bat gets rid of a bomb while trapped inside the vault with it. There's also a good sequence involving some Mike Mignola-designed statues (don't tell me he didn't have anything to do with it). And while we're talking about the art, there's a fun Lois & Clark cameo in the park; don't blink or you'll miss it!

SOUNDS LIKE: Mel Winkler now plays Lucius Fox; he previously played Henderson on the Superman show. Both Hips McMannus and Mrs. Segar are played by actual little persons, Billy Barty (Legend, Willow) and Patty Maloney (the Star Wars Holiday Special's Lumpy) respectively.

- This Ventriloquist story is better than most, using the character's sympathetic nature to end on a hopeful note.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

I really enjoyed this one- both for its cleverness, and for its rare hopeful note.

I did NOT enjoy Lucius being someone other than Brock Peters. I can assume this was after his death... because there is no other excuse for replacing Brock Peters. >:-|

Siskoid said...

It was not. Brock Peters only died in 2005.

I assume that, as with Melissa Gilbert, they couldn't secure all the same actors, especially for expanded roles like Batgirl's, a couple of years after the original series.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

That is absolutely no excuse. You gotta blow all your budget to secure Brock peters, then you BLOW ALL YOUR BUDGET. ;-)


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