Episode 07: P.O.V.
Story By: Mitch Brian
Teleplay By: Sean Catherine Derek & Laren Bright
Directed By: Kevin Altieri
Original Air Date: 09/18/92
If you were to have an encounter with Batman, would you be able to accurately recall what you just experienced if someone were to ask you about it? Or would you be in such awe of Batman that you would not be able to accurately remember what you just saw? Or maybe you wouldn’t be impressed by him at all, and instead you retell your encounter with Batman in a way that makes you look better than him. Well unfortunately, none of us will ever have to worry about remembering an encounter we might of had with Batman, but it does make for a good story, and in the "Batman: The Animated Series" episode titled “P.O.V.,” we get to see an episode that does a great job of telling this kind of story.
The plot for the appropriately titled “P.O.V.,” revolves around three Gotham police officers (Renee Montoya, rookie cop Wilkes, and Detective Harvey Bullock) who are being questioned by internal affairs for blowing an important sting operation that the police department had set up months in advance, with each officer retelling an encounter they had with Batman during this operation, via three very entertaining flashback sequences.
The episode begins with Montoya and Wilkes driving to meet Bullock at where the sting operation will take place, before they all move in together for the bust. But once Montoya and Wilkes arrive, they see that the warehouse where the sting was going to happen is on fire, and that Bullock had already moved in as they see him laying on the ground, barely conscious. Montoya and Wilkes notice that two suspects have fled from the warehouse, and Montoya then tells Wilkes to go after them, as she enters the warehouse on her own. Instead of seeing what happens next to Montoya and Wilkes at the crime scene, the episode takes us back at the police station, where we see all three officers being questioned under the lights by Lieutenant Hackle from Internal Affairs. The Lieutenant really gives it to the officers about how they messed up this sting, and wants all of them to explain just exactly what happened. A cool thing that makes this episode different from the rest of the series, is that it tells the story in a non-linear way by having each of the three officers tell their side of story through three flashback sequences. And though he is not the reason for the three officers having to be questioned, Batman plays a key part in all three of their stories, and that’s what makes this a really good and enjoyable episode. Each officer has a different way of describing Batman in their story, and it makes for some very cool and entertaining moments throughout this episode.
The first officer to tell the Lieutenant about their encounter with Batman is Bullock. His story is probably the most entertaining out of three, as he tries to blame Batman for every mistake he himself made on the sting. Bullock says Montoya and Wilkes were late, so he had to move in without them. But as soon as Bullock enters the warehouse, everything goes wrong, and he is quick to put the blame all on Batman. When Bullock alerts the criminals by tripping on a paint can, he says that it must have been Batman who alerted them. When Bullock fights the criminals and starts a fire during that fight, who’s the one who pulls Batman out of the warehouse to safety? Well of course it had to be Bullock! As he fittingly put it: “Lucky I was there to save his butt.” It was a great sequence that gave me a few laughs, as we hear Bullock bad-mouthing Batman throughout his whole story, but actually see Batman cleaning up all of Bullock's mistakes.
The rookie Wilkes is next to tell his side of the story, and his encounter with Batman was my favorite one out of the three. What I liked best about his story, was that it gave us the point of view of someone who was just in awe of what Batman can do. The rookie says this was the first time he saw Batman, and by the way he described Batman's actions in his story, it seemed he believed that Batman was someone who had superpowers. But as we the viewer are watching the action happen on screen, we know that Batman was just using some of his cool gadgets. What I also really liked about this sequence, was that Batman had some really cool moments in Wilkes' story. We get to see him stop a car that’s coming right at him by throwing a bunch of spikes at the tires, rip the door off the car with an electrical grapple, and then subdue one of the suspects by throwing a Batarang at his head. All very cool stuff to see, and was well directed by Kevin Altieri, as he did a good job of showing us how someone who was experiencing Batman in action for the first time, would believe that maybe he’s not just a normal human being after all.
Montoya is the last one to give her side of the story, and how she tells the Lieutenant about her encounter with Batman is definitely the most accurate, but probably the least entertaining out of the three. As she confronts the remaining suspects inside the warehouse, Batman comes in and helps her take them down. But as she was about to cuff the suspects, the building starts coming down due to the fire, and Batman gets buried alive under the rubble, as he pushes Montoya out of harms way, leaving us unsure about his fate.
Now that all the officers had a chance to tell their side of what happened at the sting, Lieutenant Hackle doesn’t buy any of it, and accuses them of lying, and even of being on the take from the criminals. With two conflicting stories from Bullock and Montoya, the Lieutenant suspends all three officers, despite Commissioner Gordon trying his best to stick up for his officers. An interesting side note about the officers being questioned in this episode, was that in the original script, we were going to get a flashback sequence showing Bullock and Montoya as kids, showing how they developed the personalities they now have as adults. Director Kevin Altieri said those sequences would have shown us Montoya being called a liar as a kid, and of Bullock when he was playing high-school football, where we would see his father get mad at him because he was using teamwork, and tells him: "Don’t be a team player, be a star. Being a team player is for losers. Go out for Number One pal.” These sequences would have been nice to see, but I can understand why they were cut, as they probably would have slowed down the flow of the overall story they were trying to tell about the messed up sting, and their encounters with Batman.
The final act begins with Montoya riding on a train, figuring out (too easily I thought) that the criminals are hiding out at a dock in Gotham Harbor, and decides to go in and investigate herself. When she enters, she sees that they have Batman captured, as he is hanging on the ceiling with his wrists tied up. I liked how they also showed one of the criminals trying to get the compartments of Batman’s Utility Belt open, but is having a hard time due to the great security system that Batman had put on it. As the crook finds out for himself, when his face gets sprayed with some purple paint. Of course, Batman is letting himself be held captive, as he is just waiting for the boss of this group to arrive. Once he does arrive, Batman easily escapes, and begins to take on the remaining crooks, with a little help from Montoya. This was a fun fight sequence to watch, as Batman and Montoya use various objects around them to take out this gang of crooks. Plus it was cool to see Batman fight, and take down two guys rather easily with his wrists tied up. Once the fight sequence is over, Batman and Montoya apprehend all the criminals, and were able to trap the boss of this gang inside the claw of a crane. The only minor complaint I have about this sequence, was that I just wished we would have gotten a little more information about who this boss actually was. They never show his face, he doesn’t say a word, and they only refer to him as the “The Boss.” He doesn’t show up again throughout the rest of the series, so he will always remain a mystery.
Now that all the suspects are in custody, and the police money that was used for the sting has been recovered, the episode ends with Gordon commending Montoya on a job well done, with both Bullock and Wilkes present. But Lieutenant Hackle is still upset with Montoya for going out on her own, since she was suspended by him. But Gordon has had enough with Hackle’s attitude. I thought it was great how Gordon just takes charge here, as he grabs the three officer’s badges from Hackle, and just shoves him out of the way as he gives back the badges to all three officers. I liked how it showed that Gordon doesn’t care about official police rules and protocol, but rather his main focus is on getting the job done, and to keep Gotham City safe by any means necessary.
“P.O.V.” is an episode I really enjoyed, as it did a great job of telling the story in flashbacks from three different perspectives, and also giving us three different viewpoints of how someone would react to an encounter with Batman. It also showed that there can be strong episodes where Batman really isn’t the main focus of the story. He barley had any dialogue in this episode, and it didn’t hurt it one bit. All the voice acting in this episode was great as well, as the voice actors for the three cops and Lieutenant Hackle did a great job of bringing out all of their different personalities perfectly. The animation was also solid throughout the entire episode, making the overall production of this episode really stellar. There may be some fans out there who might not enjoy this episode as much as other episodes in the series, due to the fact that Batman isn’t the main focus, and that it doesn’t feature one of his famous villains. But to me, "P.O.V" perfectly shows that episodes with stories like this one can be just as good, if not better than some episodes that may feature one of Batman’s main villains. But then again, that’s just my P.O.V.
Batman: The Animated Series: P.O.V.:
Reviewed by Tim Geraci