Batman: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 37 – The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne – Hugo Strange and the Identity of Batman

The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne

“The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne,” introduces us to the villain Hugo Strange. This Strange isn’t the best of the Strange’s but he isn’t as cool or as interesting as the “Arkham City” Hugo Strange. This Dr. Strange’s drive is much more simple which I’ll talk about later.

The premise of the episode is Judge Vargis is blackmailed after visiting an area on vacation owned by Daggett. It turns out that here was she was going to therapy with Doctor Strange. Batman does as well, which leads to Strange finding out the identity of Batman. From here it is Batman trying to find out how Strange did it and stopping him before he can auction off his identity to his Rogues Gallery.

Here is my assessment of the episode:

Pros: Batman/Bruce Wayne – It is here we learn through Hugo Strange’s machine that Batman still feels the guilt over his parents death and how it drove him for his desire to revenge. It is a great scene. After we see is ingenuity when he comes as Batman and Robin pretends to be Bruce Wayne. It is very well done.

Robin – The switch is pretty cool and we saw Robin in a good supporting role in protecting Bruce Wayne’s secret identity.

Batman’s Rogues – Joker, The Penguin and Two-Face have a great dynamic with one another. Penguin is the gentlemen trying to keep peace between the groups and looking at Strange with the best of intentions while Two-Face is erupting in anger and distrust at every opportunity…and of course Joker as chaos playing off of everyone. It is great seeing them work together, which sets the stage for later team ups like in “The Trial,” or when they are all hanging out in, “Almost Got ‘Im,”

Okay: Hugo Strange – It sucks that his only motivation is money. The Strange in the comics and “Arkham City” is motivated by a desire to replace Batman which is much more interesting. He wants to be important and is strong against opposition…in this one he is schooled by everyone, which I think is largely because his motivations are so weak and he’s easily stopped by a switch with the tape he recorded and the destruction of his mind machine (and Robin playing as Bruce Wayne). He isn’t bad (he does manage to capture Alfred), but he is no better than any other minor thug. Finding out Bruce Wayne is Batman should have been a bigger deal and his motivations greater than money.

I’d recommend this episode if only for the fact that you get to see the rogues all interact in a mostly peaceful way with one another, as well as seeing Batman and Robin work together to outsmart Strange even though Strange is just a minor rogue when he could have been major if handled differently. Again, see “Arkham City,” for Strange done right.

My final score for this episode is 9 / 10.

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