Batman: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 55 – The Mechanic – The Maker of the Batmobile and the Plan from “Batman Returns”

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“The Mechanic,” is an episode that could have and would have been terrible if not for the character moments that drive it. The basic premise is the Penguin’s plan from “Batman Returns,” he takes control of the Batmobile and uses it to harass the city with Batman and Robin still in it and after tries to kill them. Suffice to say it is elevated beyond copying someone else’s idea.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

Earl Cooper – Earl is the mechanic and is an awesome guy. He designed the Batmobile and stood up to the Motor Corporation he worked for when they decided to release unsafe sports cars to the public. It was for this reason Batman picked him and made him his personal mechanic. His design for the Batmobile is fantastic and he is a good father to his daughter. He even manages to build in a safe for Batman and Robin to escape the Batmobile and takes out the Penguin thug who takes him hostage. He makes this episode great.

Batman – From taking in Earl as his mechanic to outsmarting the Penguin and understanding Earl’s hints about the sabotage…Batman is able to get control of the situation. It is a good episode for him thinking under pressure.

Penguin – The Penguin is good in that he manages to take control of the Batmobile, it is just a shame that this is a retread of what he already did in “Batman Returns,” it does show how threatening he can be though. The problem is he is almost ripped wholescale from “Batman Returns,” from his maniacal laugh and having a giant Rubber Ducky Boat of Doom and living in the Sewers…it just felt out of character for how he was before. He was still good and interesting it was just inconsistent…

Okay: Robin – He is just kind of there. He doesn’t help or hinder…and really wasn’t needed in this episode at all.

Marva Cooper – Is also like Robin…except she does help her dad. The problem is she is the one needing rescuing for most of this episode once Penguin finds out where the Batmobile gets repaired.

This was a good but not great episode. Robin is unnecessary and the fact that it is a retread doesn’t help it’s case. Did the writers run out of ideas to use for Penguin? I liked his old look better when he was less carnival creature and more gentleman thief. I’m hoping later episodes won’t have this problem.

7.5 / 10.

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