Joker the Hero?
What would it be like if the Joker was a good guy? What if he was not only a good guy but also Batman’s partner? What if the Joker idolized both Bruce Wayne and Batman? If you play all your Joker cards right during this second season of Telltale’s Batman, then you are presented with a scenario that offers answers to all of the above questions. Same Stitch presents the player with one of two Jokers that are born from all of the choices the player has made during the season. You either get Joker the villain or Joker the vigilante. I got the latter option during my play-through and it was one wild ride that I will never forget.
Episode five of The Enemy Within is further proof that Telltale set out to flip all of the Batman mythos on their respective heads when they plotted out their very own Batverse. In the first season, we found out that Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father, was actually a pretty big criminal who was heavily involved with organized crime. We also found out during that season that Vicki Vale was a psychopath who carried the Arkham name. Now, in season two, I have built up a huge bromance between The Dark Knight and The Clown Prince of Crime that has made me drop my jaw more times than I can count. I have a vigilante Joker on my hands who is out to fight crime in the name of justice (utility belt and all). Most of us have seen the Joker done over and over in comics and film, but I promise you that you have never seen this take on the Joker. It was downright refreshing and I never saw what was coming. Telltale’s version of the Batverse is quickly becoming my favourite rendition of these characters just because of the fact that I don’t have any idea where things will go next. The cliffhanger at the end of Same Stitch certainly suggests that we haven’t seen the last of these characters and this prospect pleases me to no end.
Less Bruce More Bat
The focus of this frantically paced episode is squarely on the Joker and Batman during its approximate 90-minute run time. There are no long stretches of playing as Bruce Wayne this go around. I applaud Telltale for focusing on Bruce, out of the costume, so much during their Batman stories, but there were some points during this season that I really just wanted to be Batman and those moments were just too few and far between for me. I know that Bruce is very important to Batman, but let’s not forget who gets their name in the title. This isn’t Bruce Wayne: The Enemy Within is it? We still get to see Bruce a bit in this episode, but his time is extremely limited when compared to The Dark Knight this time. I approve.
With a miraculous stroke of the pen, Telltale also manages to tie up most of the lingering plot threads with a nice bow and they even suggest that some will be explored further in future seasons. We see all the important faces come together at some point during Same Stitch. Jim Gordon, Amanda Waller, Tiffany Fox, and even what I take is Telltale’s version of Suicide Squad show up to keep things interesting.
There wasn’t a single dull moment during this episode. It was a thrill-ride from start to finish. One of my favorite things about this episode, and Telltale’s Batman, in general, is that none of these characters can manage to keep their hands clean for very long. The writers even managed to bloody the hands of the story’s most innocent character by the time the credits rolled on Same Stitch. The writing was smart, bold, and extremely powerful. This may have been the most well-written episode of any series that Telltale has put out. I laughed and pumped my fists into the air. I became worried and even felt a little teary-eyed at the end; an ending that presented me with a choice that I just couldn’t make at first. I literally had to shut my Xbox down and think about it for a full day before I could commit to it. Telltale has always put an emphasis on the choices you make during your journey and this was easily the hardest one they have ever concocted. I just wish the episode had been a little bit longer. It seemed to be over way too quickly. A common theme among the season two episodes.