DCAU #271: Golem

IN THIS ONE... A bullied kid takes control of a large robot and becomes a supervillain.

CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader; directed by Butch Lukic.

We've seen what Derek Powers brings to the table, now let's look at Terry's school life. Any opportunities for stories and/or villains there? Cue Willie Watt, a kid who kind of looks like a young Penguin, who Terry finds himself defending in the school yard from such jerks as his own nemesis, Nelson Nash. Willie has a dangerous interest in Bobbi "Blade" Sommer, a bad(ish) girl who only shows interest in Willie when Nelson pisses her off, and just to teach him a good lesson. That's not cool, and it's going to push Willie over the edge, an edge even the good kids Terry and Dana can't bring him back from. That's perhaps the weakness of this script. Willie isn't a bad kid, but his first-hand experience with power changes him drastically. I'm going to say being bonded to a large mech unhinged his young mind, because it's too extreme a change in personality to justify anything else.

Over the course of the episode, Willie will not only gain control over the construction robot "GoLeM" without the use of a headband, but be able to access all electronics with the cool effect we see demonstrated at juvie hall at the end. Just when you think he's gone from being bullied to being bullied... Batman fighting a giant robot is fun enough, though the headline here is really the young Bat's new camouflage mode. It looks cool, and doesn't require Terry to "learn" stealth methods, but is it a trick too many? I wonder how often it'll be used, and more importantly, how often it'll be ignored for the plot to work.

The character that really gets some meat on his bones - though not necessarily tasty meat - is Nelson. He gets a girlfriend (whether they're going steady or not), and repeatedly shows his cowardice. It's not hugely engaging characterization, but the gratitude and perhaps admiration he shows Batman, not only pushes him further into Flash Thompson territory, but might go some way making him a nicer and braver person. For that alone, I'm interested. And I'm not immune to the irony of Terry having to save his bully from the kid he's used to defending. Not that Nelson is alone responsible for Willie crushed ego. He has an overbearing father who is weirdly proud of him at the end, and Blade does help humiliate him at the dance. It's just water, but I believe that counts as a Carrie moment.

IN THE COMICS: Youth in background shots look like The Dark Knight Returns' Mutants, with their visored, bald looks.

SOUNDS LIKE: Willie Watt is played by Scott McAffie, the voice of Littlefoot in The Land Before Time. His father Frank is Bill Smitrovich, perhaps best known as the dad on Life Goes On. And in the role of new recurring character Bobbi "Blade" Sommer, we have voice actress Melissa Disney, who yes, is a distant relation of Walt Disney's.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - What I surmise an ordinary episode looks like. It's good, but plays on all-too-recognizable clichés.


Unknown said...

I dimly recall a moment where Terry's swinging from a line carrying Nelson. The "Don't mention it." moment before he drops him in the drink. Do they strike Spidey's Amazing Fantasy#15 pose?


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