Second Thoughts: "True or False Face/Holy Rat Race"


Listen to the podcast review with special guest, author Jay Smith.

I've made no small point of saying how much I love this episode. It's not so much for the story, but rather for Malachi Throne's performance as the title villain. He is so good making the most of having his face covered through almost the entire episode.

In watching it again, I noticed the following:

- I never really realized until this second viewing, just how many times Alfred came straight to Bruce and didn't have to be discreet about the Batphone. But then, Aunt Harriet would walk in for Madge Blake's required moment and Bruce would have to make an excuse.

- It's weird though how False Face, the master of disguise, plays most of the episode in the burn victim looking mask. In fact, the first real disguise is Blaise as the old man in Gordon's office.

- I'll say it again, I'll never get tired of the exterior shots in this series, especially in the first season. It gave the show a cinematic feel. And there's a large amount of exteriors shots from the opening chase scene to Blaise's escape to armored car and chase and then the alley fight.

- The goons are some of the most unique in the show and they actually play a crucial part of False Face's plan.

- The man who owns the Ladd Armor Car Company has a toy model of one of his cars in the office. It looks like the same car from the Joker episode with the Gayfellows Cleaners.

- In the alley fight, there is a portion where False Face, dressed as a burn victim old woman, removes a smoke bomb from his hair. It's a weird shot as Robin is just staring at him from the background, but his pose in a still shot makes for an excellent action scene.

- I also noticed that the camera angles in the Batcave are a lot more cinematic in the first season. In the second and third season, there are simply standard standing shots, for the most part. But in the departure scene as Batman and Robin head to the warehouse, the camera tracks them from the desk to their climbing into the Batmobile. It really wasn't neccessary, but it's really cool.

- You know, usually Batman tells O'Hara he has the situation under control and yet this time he accepts his help when it came to False Face. I did like the line from Blaise about taking so long to get to the train station. It allowed for False Face to get into place.

- I never noticed it before, but in the weird scene where False Face interogates Blaise about her motives, the goons are standing right behind him with their reflection in a nearby mirror. At one point, he addresses them directly about who the boss was in the gang. He looks and points directly at the reflection of the goons instead of looking at them.

- Batman makes a comment to the radio station manager about not taking religion lightly. I wonder what Batman today would comment on the state of religion.

- As the duo arrive at the movie studio lot, you can clearly see it's the stunt doubles in the car, but then they cut to a closeup of Adam and Burt. Adam gives a weird line delivery of exposing False Face to the light of day. It's weird, and yet strangely effective.

- In many respects, the episode should have ended with the gang and False Face being caught in the bank, but the entire chase scene through the movie studio is really good.

- Uh oh, the boom mike was in the final shot as Blaise enters the Wayne living room. Sometimes there are problems with having the Blu-rays. ;)

So, in the grand scheme of things, where does this two-parter fall in terms of ranking?

1: The Joker is Wild

2: True or False Face

3: The Joker Goes to School

4: Hey Diddle Riddle

5: Instant Freeze

6: A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away

7: Zelda the Great

8: The Thirteenth Hat

9: Fine Feathered Finks

And there you have it. Of course, next week is another strong entry from the Princess of Plunder herself, Catwoman.

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