Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Batman: The Animated Series episode 1.43: Moon of the Wolf

Gee, I wonder with a name like Moon of the Wolf, if this is gonna be an episode about werewolves? But this episode sure doesn't give its audience much credit, since it seems to assume that we wouldn't be able to work that one out ourselves. The first quarter of the episode is devoted to Batman trying to figure out what the bad guy is. If only someone'd just show him the episode's title card, then we could just skip over all this crap.

Actually, at no point in the episode does Batman or anyone else manage to work out that the villain is a real werewolf, as opposed to a guy in a wolf costume. But at the end, after the werewolf has fallen off of a building into a river and his body was unable to be found, Sargeant Bullock was asked, "do you think he's really gone?" to which he responds, "there's a full moon in another month. We'll know then." So, I don't know, maybe someone did actually show Bullock the title card, but nobody bothered to ask him about it.

I just couldn't get in to this episode. It wasn't bad, but it took itself so seriously, and it was not a plot that should have been taken seriously. I mean, I suppose you can use werewolves seriously and have it be good - it is an inately tragic idea, a man turns into a monster against his will, and then turns back and is forced to deal with the consequences, and his own sense of guilt - but none of that is really explored in any depth here. It's just a big wolf smashing stuff, and the action scenes aren't really that well done, anyway.

I guess part of the problem is that great werewolf stories work on a symbolic level - they are about man's sexual desires, and the unpleasantness/pain (both physical and emotional) they can cause to their loved ones. But the plot of this episode (mad scientist tricks athlete into becoming a werewolf, forces the athlete to commit crimes in exchange for the antidote) doesn't make sense on a symbolic level. So... the mad scientist is... forcing... the athlete... to be the 'pitcher' in a homosexual relationship? But in the end the sex becomes so overwhelming it destroys them both?

Oh, wait. The scientist represents capitalism and a renouncing of God. The athlete follows the money-hungry atheist, and this leads the athlete on the path that eventually turns him into the devil. Or the... scientist... is the devil... and he leads the athlete into temptation... and then is destroyed...

The scientist is Eve, the athlete is Adam. The werewolf potion is the forbidden fruit, the being a werewolf is the 'knowledge'. When the werewolf falls from the top of the building, he is literally 'falling' from God's grace, into the murky waters of Earth. And Batman is... errm... Batman is... the wrath of God? God himself? I'm not really sure, but I'm going with this one.

Or maybe the scientist is the snake, and the athlete is Adam AND Eve, at the same time...

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