Episode Title: “Inside the Outsiders!”
Original Air Date: November 6, 2009
I suppose that I like Nightmare on Elmstreet as much as the next guy, and I guess the same goes for Inception, but I feel like stories featuring “dream warriors” are a bit formulaic. In this episode Batman and the Outsiders take a trip to Freddie Kreuger-land courtesy of Psycho Pirate. Will they avoid the typical story telling pitfalls? Read on to find out.
In the teaser Batman and Green Arrow are tied to a pole with some vicious jungle cats below them. We quickly see that the party responsible for their predicament is Catwoman, who has stolen some priceless cat statues from a local museum. As Green Arrow urges Batman to utilize one of his trademark gadgets to help them escape, he grows annoyed at Batman’s flirtatious banter with their feline female captor. Eventually Batman does spring them from the trap, but after a brief skirmish Catwoman gets away. However, all is not lost as Batman reveals to the audience that he did manage to score the shapely villains phone number.
The story proper opens with Batman traversing a maze filled with death traps, arriving at the central chamber to discover Psycho Pirate who has captured the teen team, the Outsiders. The villain explains that he’s feeding on their emotions and Batman goes to free them. Psycho Pirate warns that if the chambers are opened or the villain is removed from the circuit, their brains will fry. Batman realizes that he has no choice but to enter into their dreamscapes, and Psycho Pirate warns that if he dies in the dream, he’ll never wake up. Batman first enters the dream of Katana, which involves the death of her sensei at the hands of her brother Takeo. Batman tries to convince her that it’s not her fault, but she refuses to believe him. Katana attacks her brother, but Batman prevents her from delivering a death blow, and the Dark Knight and the Outsider move from this dream to that of Black Lightening. Black lightening has a reputation as a dark and disturbed character, so Batman fears what dark scenario they might encounter in his nightmare, but to a somewhat humorous effect they discover him becoming greatly enraged at mundane daily nuisances. Batman tries to calm him down and Katana goes to her comrade’s aid, but the Psycho Pirate appears and tries to goad her into losing her temper. Black Lightning manages to gain control of his rage and Psycho Pirate congratulates Batman before going to the dreams of Metamorpho. Black Lightning figures Metamorpho is too easygoing to provide any food for the villain, but they see their comrade’s angry face form in the clouds above. Batman realizes that Psycho Pirate has been keeping him busy with the other two and using Metamorpho as is primary food source. Psycho Pirate reminds Metamorpho of how the others can walk in public and view him as a freak. Katana appeals to Metamorpho, reminding him that they are a team and that she and Black Lightening truly value as well as genuinely care about him. The phase shifting Metamorpho calms down and shrinks to normal. Batman escapes the dreamworld but can only watch as Psycho Pirate kills the Outsiders, disintegrating them entirely. Batman realizes that now he and Psycho Pirate are in the caped crusader’s dream, and cleverly defeats the villain by thinking happy thoughts. After psycho Pirate is defeated, and our heroes have finally escaped the realm of dreams the Outsiders are left wondering exactly what Batman’s happy thoughts could possibly be (I think it’s Catwoman..meow!)
The episode get’s off to a good start with Katana’s dream, exploring the frequently dark and troubled origin stories of most comic book heroes, but it quickly abandons this once it moves on to the inner workings of the mind of Black Lightening.The attempt at humor with Black Lightening’s dream fell a little flat with me, I wanted to see the source of his angst as something more interesting than Jerry Seinfeld’s typical material. The twist with Metamorpho worked a little better for me, deciding to have the character who seemed happiest on the surface as the one harboring the most resentment of the group. The writers did seem to undermine their own accomplishment, however, by just how easily Metamorpho was calmed by his colleague. The final step was the Inception style dream within a dream, when Psycho Pirate and Batman entered Bat’s own dream with the muse of it being reality. I was easily to see what was happening and wasn’t really fooled. I guess Batman’s ultimate strategy in defeating Psycho Pirate by thinking happy thoughts worked well enough, but darned if I didn’t want to know what those thoughts were. Overall, I suppose this episode worked well enough, but it seemed to rely a little too much on tropes for my taste, and I honestly feel like it missed a couple of opportunities to be great.
Featured Characters: Green Arrow (Weisinger & Papp, 1941), Catwoman (Kane & Finger, 1940), Psycho Pirate (Fox & Anderson, 1965), The Outsiders (Barr & Aparo, 1983)