By: Bob Marshall
**As always I will try to remain as spoiler free as possible**
The Batman takes on the villainess Magpie, who is not only super smart but also dangerous with her sharp claws and machinery that steals the memories if her victims. But Batman’s not the only one on her tail so is Lieutenant James Gordon.
Firstly I’d like to say straight off the bat (pun intended) that this was a huge step up from the debut episode, not only did it run smoother but the villain this time around Magpie, was far more interesting than Pyg & Toad. She had a better motivation and I think she was actually a step up from the comics version of the character. In many ways they made her a little more like Catwoman but for me not enough to make her seem like a copycat (no pun was intended… This time). She very much liked her shiny things like Batman’s belt for example and that was spot on with the comics version. Her design was a little too Lady Gaga for my tastes though, but I’ve heard that was intentional. Grey DeLisle did a fantastic job voicing her but I don’t want to say too much about the plot as I don’t want to ruin the episode but Magpie’s storyline was done very well and there was a twist to her at the end that I won’t give away but it actually managed to surprise me which is unusual these days.
My favourite thing about the episode was the Batman Jim Gordon relationship, these two are not friends (yet). Jim Gordon wants to bring the Batman in and the inevitable meeting between the two in the episodes finale was awesome. My other favourite thing about the episode was the detective work. It’s often been a criticism of people that we never see enough of this, whether it’s animation or live action. Bruce Wayne and his alter ego did lots of work but so did Jim Gordon too which is what leads us to that awesome meeting of the two as I mentioned above.
The title of this episode “Tests” stands for many things but maybe at its most interesting with the Bruce Wayne/Katana subplot, which of course I won’t spoil. We also got our first look at Barbara Gordon on this show who was voiced by Tara Strong, returning to the role she portrayed from Batman: The Animated Series.
CGI was again top-notch and there were some really cool shots including one of the Batman on a rooftop and even a flashback to that fateful day in Crime Alley that I wasn’t expecting. The action was again fantastic, the fight scenes between Batman and Magpie were more over the top than the previous episode but I thought they were better. The music on this show continues to impress me, suits the dark tone of the series perfectly.
All in all this episode was perfect, we had an interesting villain who was a match for Batman in the skills and smarts departments, we got to finally see Jim Gordon and we got a good first look at his and Batman’s more adversarial relationship. I hope we get to see Magpie again on this show in a future episode.
Overall Grade: 8/10
Next time… “Tests” where the Batman must take on the Criminal Mastermind ‘Anarchy’ in a battle for control of Gotham City