Episode Title: The Joker’s Provokers
Original Airdate: November 17, 1966
When we last left Gotham City, Batman was about to be notched into a giant key while Robin is doomed to be given a fresh coat of wax. The Joker seems to have been victorious. Will our heroes escape? Let’s find out in today’s episode, The Joker’s Provokers.
As we begin, the Joker is anxiously watching what happens to our heroes…but, of course, he has something pressing he must attend to, so he leaves. So, while the Joker’s men are bickering with each other, Batman manages to slip a key out of his utility belt and use it to mess up the cogs of the machine. He then escapes and fights with the Joker’s goons before freeing Robin. However, Robin is completely covered in wax…motionless like a statue. Later, at the Batcave, Batman uses some Bat Wax Solvent to take care of Robin…and of course all his deep sea swimming classes helped him hold his breath for so long.
Meanwhile, the Joker learns that the Caped Crusaders have escaped. But no matter, he has something new to terrorize Gotham with. His little magic box (from the last episode) also has the ability to freeze, speed up, or slow down time with the turn of the key. At the same time, Commissioner Gordon gets a very Riddler-like message from the Joker which, after analysis, leads Batman to realize that the villain intends to sabotage the water supply. Well, it turns out that Alfred’s identical cousin Egbert (!?!?) is security guard at the water works. So, Alfred goes to take his place to help out with Batman’s plan. When Joker and his goons show up, Alfred gets the jump on them and manages to snatch the box away…using it to make them run forwards and backwards, etc. Then Batman and Robin show up to put the finishing touches on the baddies.
Let me make this review simple: This is the WORST episode of this series we’ve seen thus far and I can’t imagine another one getting much worse. Most part two episodes of Batman give a recap of the previous episode before the opening titles. They don’t even do that here…as if admitting that part one was a royal mess. All the narrator does is remind us of the cliffhanger. But this doesn’t even feel like a continuation of the last story. The first part of this story got bogged down in Joker’s inexplicable obsession with keys. That’s almost completely abandoned this time around. Now we get caught up in a time machine of some sort…the science of which is never explained. I don’t even care if it doesn’t make sense! Make up some gobbledy gook to at least make me feel like you gave it some thought.
As if the ridiculous time machine plot device wasn’t enough, we also have that thing we’ve seen time and time again on old TV shows…identical cousins. If TV has taught me anything, it’s that everyone on the planet has an exact double out there somewhere who you will someday come face to face with. It’s what allowed Peter Brady to have dates with two different girls at the same time on The Brady Bunch. So here, Alfred’s identical cousin is a security guard. I do applaud Alan Napier with being able to give a completely different voice to “Eggy,” but it’s such a tired plot device. It also should be noted that the downfall of the Joker in this episode is pretty much thanks to Alfred. Batman just shows up, throws a few punches and then gets the applause.
This better not be the Jump-the-Shark moment for this series. I have faith things will improve. Next time we have a promising new villain played by Morticia Addams herself, Carolyn Jones, in Marsha, Queen of Diamonds.
Bat Gadgets Used:
Bat Wax Solvent