DCAU #372: King's Ransom

IN THIS ONE... The Royal Flush Gang and Paxton Powers meet their ends.

Written by Rich Fogel; directed by Butch Lukic.

REVIEW: An inauspicious start to Batman Beyond's final season, King's Random feels like it's full of dead air, the dialog glacial in its delivery. Further, they've lost Stockard Channing as Commissioner Gordon, and the new voice sounds flat and generic. And then there's the threat level. The episode's only function is to unmake two of Batman's nominally biggest foes in the Beyond future - the Royal Flush Gang and wasted, ignored Paxton Powers. In the former's case, it's partly done by making the King look foolish and ineffectual until the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards. (And if you think THAT'S a groaner, the episode drops card puns until you want to throw the remote at the screen.)

Now, eventually, villains run their course and there aren't any good stories to tell in the 20-minute animated format. Losing Ten was the Gang's death knell, as her function as a Terry's Catwoman (the villain love interest) trumped (oh geez, I'm sorry, I'm not even doing it on purpose at this point) the Gang's as jewel thieves or whatever. But Mel is wasted too, seen too little in her reformed life at (and this I love) Deckard's Kitchen, by the end saving her brother's soul by taking him out of the life as well. Her note to Terry thrown away unread leaves the plot thread dangling, pretty much forever (or until the comics pick it up). The King is at least devious, even if his plan is really to partner with Powers' bodyguard to rob him blind and leave his nagging wife to face the consequences. But he fails at that too, and both he and the Queen are ineffective, getting trounced by dogs and firing lasers that barely make Bruce Wayne stumble, then worrying about having a clear shot so as not to accidentally harm one of their own. No such danger, fools!

After the promise of Season 1 and mostly ignoring the character in Season 2, Paxton's reappearance would have seemed to herald the return of the young tycoon, but no. Despite his apparent manipulation of the situation, he's the one being manipulated, and ends up in jail, never to be seen on the show again. If the Gang was tapped out, the same could not be said of Paxton Powers, who surely had a few stories left in him, including the possible return of his radioactive father. Come on! I question the choice of starting a season on this ensemble of whimpers.

SOUNDS LIKE: Barbara Gordon is now voiced by Angie Harmon (Abbie Carmichael on Law & Order). Other voice changes include Hardy Boy Parker Stevenson as Paxton Powers (for what it's worth), and USA High's Nicholas Guest as Jack. Gabrielle Carteris plays Sable Thorpe; she was Beverly Hills 90210's Andrea Zuckerman.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It's probably more of a Medium, but the waste of villains that goes on here is unacceptable.



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