DCAU #319: Babel

IN THIS ONE... Shriek is back and he's making people's speech sound like gobbledygook.

CREDITS: Written by Stan Berkowitz; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: After Spellbinder and Golem, it's Shriek's turn to return in the second season, and his sound manipulation cranks up to a whole other level when he makes animals go mad, then humans, making the latter hear nonsense when hearing speech. He's also got a new motivation - getting revenge on Batman for his deafness, which can only be countered by his own helmet - and a doofy henchman in Ollie, a hapless splice who gets payed in sounds via an orgasm-inducing tuning fork (a liiiiiiitle disturbing, guys). Sadly, Mad Stan scores a mention, but not an appearance.

Shriek creates some interesting chaos, scrambling brains, causing pets and zoo animals to go on a rampage (Ace! No!), and delivering on the mayhem this show is getting rather good at doing (a guy almost falls into a fireball created by the Batmobile's missiles destroying machinery plummeting to the street, for example). His powers don't affect writing, so it can be overcome, and as with any villains this season, he appears (keyword) to die a horrible (and ironic - can't hear it coming) death.

For Terry, this is a true test of his resolve as Batman. Shriek's ultimatum means he can surrender himself to the villain and die to prevent the city from being destroyed. Bruce doesn't want him to, appealing to a bigger picture. Max doesn't want him to, appealing to the fact that his family has already lost someone and would lose another. But Terry has his first traumatic flashback (a classic Batman trope) and remembers his father's death, and why he became Batman. He's ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, or at least take the risk (as prefigured in a story Bruce tells him about walking into a trap and having Robin rescue him). But inspiration strikes, and Terry - BEFORE BRUCE - figures out how Shriek is sending his signal across the entire city, giving him his agency back. A nice moment for him, even if you question Bruce's inability to see it, when you yourself are able to see it.

SOUNDS LIKE: Ollie is another Michael "Flash's voice" Rosenbaum character.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A nice and possibly important moment for the new Batman.

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