DCAU #375: Big Time

IN THIS ONE... Terry's old friend is out of jail and soon turned into a monster.

CREDITS: Written by Robert Goodman and Tom Ruegger; directed by James Tucker.

REVIEW: We finally find out about Terry's stint in juvenile hall, and it's really underwhelming! Followed the wrong guy to the wrong place and got caught up in a heist? I thought this show was a little edgier than that, and I'm disappointed at how thin Terry's dark story is. His crime has no real criminal intent, which feels like a cop-out, not worth teasing the audience about much at all. Will he now fall in with the wrong crowd just because his partner in crime is out of jail? Of course not. Not just because he's Batman now, but because he's actually never been a bad kid. No tension there.

I do like how Dana remembers this guy, "Big Time" Bigelow, and associates him with Terry's former troubles. She's not in on the joke, so she believes Terry might be swayed. Makes sense. And though Terry can't exactly "turn", the responsibility he feels for Bigelow makes him less effective as Batman. He gives warnings. He gives chances. So when he realizes Bigelow was playing him all along, hoping he would use his connections to get him a job at Wayne Tech so he could help badder guys rob super fertilizer. The human drama is fairly good.

But then, yeah, the fertilizer... It's toxic, but Bruce Wayne doesn't seem alarmed a ton of it exploded in the water supply. Then Bigelow gets splashed by a new batch, and he's turned into a misshapen monster. It's the slappers all over again, except permanent I guess. It's the origin of a supervillain, the long way 'round, so the third act surprise comes out of nowhere and prevents Terry from redeeming his childhood friend. The boss villain, Karros, falls to his death, so I guess that's the "edge" I was looking for, and there are some very good action beats peppering the episode, though in general, I feel like the animation's execution falls short of its ambition.

IN THE COMICS: Big Time has some parallels with Batman villains from the comics that were never used on the shows. He principally looks like Blockbuster, though he is more deformed, a bit like Amygdala.

SOUNDS LIKE: Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow is played by Stephen Baldwin, that other Baldwin's brother. Karros, the main bad guy, is William H. Macy (shall we simply name Fargo here?). And that's Robert Patrick (Terminator 2,  The Unit) as Richard Armacost, Bigelow's cell mate.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Perfectly watchable, but the revelations about Terry's juvenile record, and even the way the drama resolves, are cop-outs.

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