DCAU #317: Mind Games

IN THIS ONE... Batman helps a psychic girl escape the Brain Trust.

CREDITS: Written by Alan Burnett; directed by Butch Lukic.

REVIEW: Another wink at the Marvel Universe, the threat in this episode is an evil School for Gifted Youngsters or, since the villains wear black and white and appear to be a secret society, the Hellfire Club. There's even a Sebastian Shaw type and a Black Queen (as imagined by Jack Kirby, for some reason) at the top of food chain (and an Amahl Farouk/Shadow King), and they've kidnapped a girl with powerful psychic abilities (bit of a hodgepodge of telepathy, illusion-casting, and telekinesis). And while this will lead to interesting action, it's still suspiciously derivative. How did the Beyond crew not get sued all those years?

Tamara is the child at the center of the story, kidnapped by the so-called Brain Trust, and latching on to Terry after she and Batman cross paths. She visits him as a projection during a school exam and he thinks he's going crazy, but later contact gives him enough clues to track her down and save her from her "new parents" (with her help). And so Batman goes down the rabbit hole of psychic phenomena, having astral fights with strong anime feels, witnessing dolls and stuffed animals become conduits for messages and/or kaiju monsters, while also dodging superstrong punches and explosive finger snaps.

On the periphery, the relationship between Terry and Max is built upon, and I wouldn't be surprised if some viewers were 'shipping them at this point. She knows his secret, which makes things easier, and in Mind Games (hm, is there a reason this subplot is in THIS episode?), Max is allowed to show a girlier side, dressing up for a swanky stake-out, and later seen with an exfoliating mask. Terry and Dana started as study buddies too...

SOUNDS LIKE: Well, Tamara is voiced by somone who has experience playing little girls with psychic powers - Mara Wilson AKA Matilda. Bombshell (the Black Queen) is played by former Charlie's Angel and the Mrs. King who hung out with a certain Scarecrow, Kate Jackson. Victor Rivas (Antonio Banderas' brother in The Mask of Zorro) plays the Invulnerable Man. Edgar the Albino is Brian Tochi (Revenge of the Nerds, Police Academy, Leonardo's voice in the live action Turtle movies). Tamara's real father is James Sikking (Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser M.D.).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Well put together, but I don't much like the Beyond universe heading into mutantmania territory, or stealing this much from Marvel.

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