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BTAS Review: Two-Face Part 2


 

Episode 11: Two-Face Part 2

Written By: Randy Rogel

Directed By: Kevin Altieri

Original Air Date: 09/28/92

 

After a fantastic first part to the two-part episode “Two-Face,” where we got to see a dramatic, character driven story about Harvey Dent’s tragic downfall, the second part is all about Harvey Dent becoming a fully fledged criminal as the villainous Two-Face. Two Face has always been a classic Batman villain, and the crew behind "Batman: The Animated Series" once again does a great job of adapting the character for their show. All of Two-Face’s classic characterizations are well adapted, like him using his coin to make decisions, and him committing crimes that revolve around the number two. While sometimes those things can seem a little gimmicky or campy, "Batman: The Animated Series" does a great job of incorporating all those things, while still keeping the tone of Two-Face, and his story, very serious.

 

While part two gives us a good story about Two-Face getting revenge on Rupert Thorne, and at the same time still wanting to be with his fiancé Grace, I felt this episode just wasn’t as strong as part one. This is mainly because the first part did such a great job of telling a compelling, character driven story that delved into the mind of Harvey Dent, which kind of made it hard for part two to top it. There were also a few other things that weren’t great in this episode that I felt didn’t make it as good as part one. For instance, some of the animation of the character models seemed to be off in a few scenes, and I also didn’t particularly like how Batman was handled towards the end of this episode. But still, even with a few gripes, this was really another great episode that did justice to one of Batman’s greatest villains.

 

The episode starts off in a way that has an old gangster movie feel to it, especially with some of Two-Face’s dialogue, which I thought fit the character of Two-Face perfectly. Pulling up to one of Rupert Thorne’s bookies in an old style limo, with Tommy guns in hand, Two-Face and his two henchmen give Thorne some payback by robbing and shooting out his bookie operation. This introduction also wastes no time in showing us what Two-Face is all about, and how he operates. The room number of the place he’s robbing is 222, his two henchmen are twins, and he uses his coin right away to decide if he and his men should even rob the joint in the first place. As for Two-Face’s look in the Animated Series, I have to say that it’s not really my favorite design of the character. There have been far worse looks for Two-Face (Batman Forever) but I just never really liked his blue skin, or the white hair that he had throughout the series. Before Two-Face leaves the scene, he wants to leave a message for Thorne. A message that involves hundreds of bullets being shot around Thorne’s building, and after reading about this incident in the paper, Thorne is now just furious with Two-Face, and has decided to put a bounty on him for two million dollars. A million dollars a face.

 

We next get another cool dream sequence like we got in part one, but this time it’s Batman having the nightmare. It starts with Harvey running away from Batman, asking why he didn’t help him since he’s supposed to be his friend, and ends with Harvey falling off a collapsed bridge as Two-Face. But as Batman looks down for Harvey, he instead sees his parents, asking him: “Why couldn’t you save us son?” It’s at this moment Bruce wakes up, and vows to himself that he will save his friend, now matter how evil he has become. I really liked how this scene showed that Bruce and Harvey were close, and how it showed just how guilty Bruce was feeling for not saving him. So guilty in fact, that he saw his parents in his nightmare. You know that when a situation makes Bruce think about his parents, it’s something very serious for him. I thought that was a great touch, since it added more weight to the guilt that Bruce was feeling about not being able to help Harvey Dent.

 

After hitting a lot of Thorne’s operations, Two-Face now decides it’s time for him to finally take Thorne down for good. The same way Thorne took down Harvey dent.  But before he sets out, Two-Face sees a picture of Grace, and you can tell that he really misses her, and wants to go back to his old way of life. The conflict that Two-Face has with himself about wanting to be with Grace, and living a life of crime, was the strongest plot point in this episode. It did a great job of showing Two-Face as a sympathetic character, where it made you understand why Two-Face is committing all these crimes against Thorne. But of course, if Two-Face wants to see Grace right away again, that’s not his decision to make. The decision must be made by his coin. He takes it out, flips it into the air, and then sees it fall onto the bad side, which means ruining Thorne is still his first priority.

 

Batman is able to figure out Two-Face’s pattern of robberies, and sees that they are all connected to Rupert Thorne. He then realizes that Two-Face has now robbed everything that’s connected to Thorne, and will no doubt go for the final blow against him. I liked how in this scene with Batman and Alfred, Alfred kept trying to make suggestions on what Two Face’s next move will be, but Batman kept correcting him, telling him what Two-Face’s real plans are. You gotta love Alfred for trying to help out with the detective work, even though he works for the world’s greatest detective. We next see that Batman’s hunch was right, as we see him confront Two-Face at Rupert Thorne’s attorney’s office, where he has stolen a file that contains all of Thorne’s criminal records. Here is probably my biggest complaint about the episode. Besides the fact that in this scene the character model of Batman looked a little too bulky in some shots, the way that Batman gets taken out here, and how it effects him for the rest of the episode, really bugged me.

 

As Batman tries to offer Two-Face some help, and tells him Grace is still waiting for him, it looks like Batman is actually getting through to Harvey Dent. But as one of Two-Face’s henchmen walks in, Batman turns around, and Two-Face then knocks him down to the ground as they make their escape. Batman tries to go after them one more time, but Two-Face kicks him into a janitor’s cleaning cart, knocking him unconscious. Batman has no doubt taken much worse beatings than this, where they didn’t even faze him. But here, after really only two hits, Batman is knocked unconscious. Not only that, but it also effects him for the rest of the episode, where he can barley fight on his own. I realize we’re supposed to know that him slamming into the janitor’s cart is what really hurt him, but again, we’ve seen Batman take much worse beatings, and I felt that this just made him look a little too weak.

 

As Two-Face and his henchmen are driving back to his hideout, they stop at a red light (at least they obey some laws) and Two-Face looks out the window and sees a wedding store with two figures of a bride and groom, which makes him think of Grace again. He flips his coin once again, and this time it lands on the good side. He calls Grace on the phone, and arranges for her to be taken to his hideout where they can meet. But what Two-Face doesn’t know, was that one of Thorne’s workers, Candice, visited Grace first, pretending to be a detective, and told her to notify her if she makes contact with Two-Face. Grace believes that letting the police know about where Two-Face is at is probably the best way to help him. So that’s what she does, not knowing she is only alerting Thorne.

 

The final sequence in this episode was really well done. It starts with an emotional conversation between Two-Face and Grace, where he has the side of his messed up face covered with a cloth, as he begins to tell her what his life has become now. Grace tells Harvey that he needs to listen his feelings again, and to not leave his decisions up to chance. At first, it looked like what Grace was saying had no effect on Two-Face, as we see him turn his back to her and keeps flipping his coin in the air, as if he was bored with the conversation. But when she tells him that he doesn’t need to hide anything from her, including his face, it finally looks like she wins back the good Harvey Dent, as she removes the cloth from his face, and tells Harvey she still loves him. But as they both start to break down into tears and are about to share a kiss, in comes Rupert Thorne and his men, about to ruin everything for Harvey once again.

 

Thorne has his men search the whole hideout for his criminal file, but are not having any luck finding it. Determined to leave with that file, Thorne then threatens Grace’s life if Two-Face doesn’t hand over that file to him. Two-Face agrees to give him the file in exchange for Grace’s safety, but like a true mobster, Thorne orders his men to kill both Grace and Two-Face anyway. But before he can pull the trigger, we see a batarang wrap around the gunman, and then see him get pulled back to the entrance of the room as Batman knocks him out. This was a pretty  fun fight scene, as we see everyone in the room get in on the action, even Grace. But again, I just didn’t like how Batman seemed so weak from his earlier encounter with Two-Face, where it looked like he can barely walk. Two-Face actually defeats more of Thorne’s men than Batman does here, and he now has Thorne right where he wants him. Trapped in fallen chandelier, begging for his life at gunpoint. Batman and Grace try to convince Two-Face to let the law handle Thorne, but Two-Face just screams at them, saying that the only law is the law of averages, his coin. The great equalizer. The sense of drama you got as you wait for the coin to come flipping down, and also seeing the nervousness of Thorne here, was all done really well. But what I really liked in this sequence, was the way Batman stops Two Face by throwing a bunch of coins at him right before his own coin comes down. I always thought it was a clever way to stop him, and I liked how it showed that to stop Two-Face, Batman just doesn’t have to beat him physically, but he can also be defeated psychologically as well, as we see when Two-Face just loses it when he can’t find his real coin. It was pretty sad to see Two-Face just go mad with fear when he can’t find his coin, and Richard Moll did a fantastic job of showing his desperation by the way he voiced him here. We hear him screaming and crying for his coin like a mad man, until Grace eventually goes over to comfort him, before he is taken into custody.

 

The episode ends in way that leaves us to believe that there still may be some hope for Harvey Dent after all, as long as he still had Grace with him. I thought that was a nice way to end the story on a good note, but at the same time not giving a happy ending for the character of Harvey Dent. But of course we know that Harvey fully embraces his life of crime as Two-Face in future episodes, and it’s a shame that we never got to see what happened to his relationship with Grace in any other episodes after this, as it seemed like she was the only one who could ever return Harvey back to his old self.

 

Overall, these two part episodes did an excellent job of telling the origin of Two-Face, in a way that was both interesting and compelling, with great characterization that was greatly improved on from his comic origin. Though my favorite story of Two-Face’s origin was told in “The Dark Knight,” before that movie came out in 2008, these two episodes were the best adaption of the character, and it still continues to be one of the best Two-Face stories ever told.

 

 

Batman: The Animated Series-Two-Face Part 2:

 

4 out of 5 Batarangs

 

Reviewed by Tim Geraci

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