My Thoughts on Episode 5

So, I'm not really a regular forum user here. I hang out at othertwdforum most of the time. Still, there's something I really like about the idea of Telltale maybe possibly being able to see what I, a humble fan, thought of the episode. So, I'm just gonna post my "review" of Episode 5 from othertwdforum here if that's okay:

This was.... maybe the best single episode Telltale has ever done? And quite possibly the best Batman story ever. It's definitely the best Joker story ever. This was truly an emotional rollercoaster - not in the sense that it was really good, but in the sense that it was intense, tragic, hilarious, contemplative, dark, joyful... Seriously, this episode in itself is honestly a masterpiece.


I LOVE John. Flat-out love him. Those first thirty minutes? Fantastic. Absolutley hilarious and a ton of fun with just a touch of darkness. Seriously, this was what I was hoping for when I found out in Episode 4 that there was a way for Joker to become a vigilante. Telltale delivered on that. Oh, hey, can we talk about this episode was like, not only funnier than every episode of Guardians of the Galaxy combined but almost on par with an episode of Tales from the Borderlands with how funny it was? Seriously, I had to pause the game because I was laughing so hard at, "You're THE Alfred! I've been collecting tabloid photos of Bruce for years and you're in at least a third of them!" John trying to do a British accent, blowing a raspberry at Waller, "The only difference between the Pact and you is that you think you're funny." "I AM!", "Your new partner!... That was your cue, dear." "I'm not ready yet!". Like, there's just so many good jokes that actually honest to goodness made me laugh out loud. The timing of these jokes is better than some actual comedians have. I doubt everyone feels the same way, but the balance of humor and darkness in this episode, even right up until the end is fantastic.

The fight scenes are great, too. Telltale finally figured out fight scenes, yay! I remember how stutter-y the fight scenes in Season 1 were. How they slowed it down every half-second so you could hit a QTE(bc that's what matters), how they paused the action right before a fight to set up choices... To go from that to this is fantastic. Like I've said in all my "reviews" of these episodes, I love those big choice QTEs. It delivers on the promise from the first season of "directing the action", and it makes the QTEs feel like they have some meaning. Still not a fan of the regular QTEs, Telltale should probably just get rid of those entirely at this point, but they were less intrusive in this episode and overall the fights all felt really well-paced. I loved fighting Bane with Joker, fighting the Suicide Squad on the rooftops while trying to keep Joker under control, and that final fight with Joker in Ace Chemicals was just so tense. I actually died once in that fight because I didn't want to hurt John too badly.

Here's something controversial: I'm glad there aren't any puzzles. Telltale's stories/shows are more like Interactive stories/shows than they are videogames, so mechanics should serve the story, rather than pad it out just to add gameplay to make it a Real GameTM. So, unless Telltale thinks mechanics/systems are there to serve the story, they shouldn't be there. Now, this doesn't mean I want no interactions other than choices, because I do like exploring certain hub areas, but I'm just glad that useless puzzles are gone. Honestly, the investigation scene in this episode was much more enjoyable than most because it just let me walk around and explroe the environment and had Batman come up with the solution himself rather than have a silly "linking evidence" mechanics. It also helps to pace it out better so Batman does't feel a bit slow coming to the answer as he did in previous investigation scenes.

Now, here's another maybe controversial opinion: I don't mind that John becomes a villain no matter what. Honestly, I didn't expect him to be Bruce's "Robin" - I just remembered one of John's prototype names was "The Giggler" and started laughing again(this episode is so good) - and having him be that would be too big of a branch for the series to ever continue(I'll get to the final choice). So, I'm just glad we got to spend some time with Vigilante Joker before the turn happened. And, as far as it happening, it was great! Seriously, I have absolutely no complaints about the confrontation at Ace Chemicals, it was perfect. So, yeah, I have basically no grips as far as that's concerned.

Now, I know Jayko said that other characters felt underutilized, and I agree, but I won't fault the episode for that. If other characters had taken more screentime away from Bruce or John, I think it would've hurt the pacing. This is one of those "no win" situations that only the best stories find themselves in in my opinion. That said, I do like that we got a chance to talk to everyone and conclude their stories. I liked that final talk with Iman and look forward to seeing more of her in a possible Season 3, I like that Bats and Gordon are still partners, I liked the final confrontations with both Bane and Harley, and I liked antagonizing Waller as she left. I'm maybe not super thrilled that evidently Catwoman is still an asset of the agency? I did demand her release, but didn't give up John. Still, I assumed Waller would remember that, and that she would release Catwoman before leaving Gotham. I guess not. So.... sorry Selina. I feel really bad about that, but if the story ever continues I assume Bruce will find some way to free her. (Okay, so I can't be bothered to delete this, but in checking my choices, it actually updated to fix her status to "On the Prowl". Great! I'm glad Waller/Telltale remembered my choice)

And then there's Tiffany... I love Tiffany. I am just a huge fan of her as a character, and I thought the twist that she killed Riddler was great. It makes sense, and it was genuinely surprising. I did kind of see it coming based on her reaction to when Bruce brought up Riddler's death at the watertower - and thinking about it I guess the fact she didn't know Batman didn't kill back in Episode 4 was a bit of a clue - but it still worked. Obviously, I let her stay as Bruce's protegee - I'd just be a huge hypocrite if I worked alongside John for as long as I did, but the condemned her for killed Riddler.

That final scene with Alfred was great, and it was honestly very resonant what Alfred was saying about Bruce because... he did seriously fuck up. He let his friendship to John blind him, and that resulted in a lot of people dying. In the end, I couldn't give up being Batman - especially not when Tiffany needed him to be there for her - but I do hope this isn't the last time Bruce sees Al. Oh, and I don't think this means there won't be a third season. A big bad shows up in Gotham - maybe Ra's Al Ghul? - and Batman has to come out of retirement. You have the opening of the first episode be different if Batman retired or not and make plenty of nods to it in dialogue throughout the season and you're set. If you want to end after that, then just have Bruce return to retirement, or maybe by the end of Season 3 he realizes giving up Batman was the wrong choice all along and he's still Batman when it comes time for Season 4(while I'd totally play). Oh, and maybe to raise the stakes in Episode 3, if Alfred stayed, you could kill him. I know Telltale doesn't like keeping determinants around, so keep him around in the background for a good number of episodes before you kill him to raise the stakes. Heck, they could do it as an opener in Episode 1 as the reason Bruce comes out of retirement and I wouldn't be mad. You know what I would be disappointed by? Not getting a third season, because honestly, this whole Season was a masterpiece. It was thoughtful, intense, funny, sad, and just alltogether amazing.

...Wow, and I haven't even played the Villain Episode yet!


Harley Quinn - Agency Asset. (50.1%)Dismissed her importance to the Agency. - Like TC said, I wouldn't mind a Suicide Squad mini-series or something. That'd be pretty cool. Maybe Deadshot as the Player Character?

Amanda Waller - Director of the Agency. (40.2%)Remained in a stalemate with her. - What's the other side of this choice? Anyway, I hate Waller and I'm glad to see her gone. She was a really entertaining character though.

Jim Gordon - Partners. (59.6%)Accepted Gordon's apology. - So I wonder if this means he's assisting Batman as a civilian or if he'll get his old job as Commissioner back, since I only said we should still work together, not that he should fight for his old job.

Selina Kyle - On the Prowl. (2.6%)Wiped Selina's criminal record. - Really? Only 2.6%? I mean, this choice did original glitch on me, so maybe that's also a glitch?

Tiffany Fox - Protegee. (80.6%)Took Tiffany under my wing. - If there is a Season Three(please Telltale, please!)this is the thing I'm most interested in. I wonder if they can keep all the different places Tiffant leaves off in going? It certainly seems like it might not be a huge strain, especially since she mostly just operates the drone, they could easily keep the drone but replace it with like, a robot assistant to say some of Tiffany's lines if needed.

Iman Avesta - COO, Wayne Enterprises. (54.9%) - Asked her to come work for me. I really like Avesta and I kinda ship her and Bruce to I hope she shows up in a potential third season.

Alfred Pennyworth - Parts Unknown. (58%) - Let Alfred go. I actually had to pause the (show?) and think about this for a bit. In the end I just let the timer run out. My main deciding factor was Tiffany. I couldn't promise to be her mentor and then leave the mission.

John Doe - Fallen Friend. (54%)Told John we were still friends. - I'm under no illusion that John can be redeemed after what he did, but I do like that Bruce went to visit him(does this happen no matter what? I'm really curious if there are different post-credits scenes). If there is a Season Three, I do hope that John makes a brief cameo, maybe Bruce goes to talk to him in Arkham, or even just a phone call would be nice.


(70%)Saved Willy - Uh, duh? Why would I save the guy who tried to kill me?

(77.4%)Took Tiffany into the field - Look, if she and Bruce are gonna be partners, the least he can do is trust her.

(68.5%)Refused to hand over Joker - At this point I thought he could still maybe be saved. Even if I believed he couldn't, I still wouldn't have handed him over to Waller so she could make him part of her Suicide Squad.

(58%)Choose to never give up being Batman - Already explained this one

(55.1%) Defeated Vigilante Joker - Can't wait to see the Villain Path.

Alright, time to disappear from this forum for another several months! Seriously though, if by chance any Telltale employees find this little post of mine, please, I am begging you, bring Batman back for a Third Season! I've wanted this more than I've wanted any season of Walking Dead, even more than I've wanted Season 2 of The Wolf Among Us! Well, regardless, really looking forward to the next season of TWD, TWAU, GOT, and whatever other new stuff is on the horizon!


  • Oh! Final note! I really love that it remembers if Jim quit smoking. It isn't even just the nicotine patch on his neck, the "these aren't mine" line when Batman points out he "quit" was really funny. I love little details like that.

  • Here's my thoughts on the Villain Path, if anyone cared(probably not):

    Played the Villain Path. I think I'm gonna be in the minority by saying I liked the Vigilante Path more(not even by a little bit, a lot more) but that's probably got to do more with expectations than anything else. A lot of people might be a little burned by the Vigilante Path I think, but I wasn't ever expecting it to go down differently than it did. Anyway, that's not to say that the Villain Path is significantly worse, just that the Vigilante Path is my preference. I really love the Villain Path, and to my mind, it's just as much a masterpiece as the Vigilante Path.


    So, I didn't say this in my other "Review", but... Anthony Ingruber. Best Joker. Ever. That includes Heath Ledger. Do not argue with me on this. You will not change my mind.

    But seriously, his performance as Joker is just... incredible. He's menacing, in the Vigilante Path he's hilarious, he's tragic, and there's still some of John innocence in Joker. Anthony Ingruber brought to life not just THE best version of the Joker, not just one of Telltale's best characters ever, but - in my opinion - one of the best characters in all my fiction. (That sounds over the top, but like, if you think about, you can take anyone within what you would consider the top 50 best characters in all of fiction and they'd still be "one of the best characters in all of fiction". I don't like, have a list, but, yeah, John Doe is up there).

    This episode was more mechanically focused, but I was okay with that because it didn't slow it down. As I said in my other "review", mechanics in an Interactive story/show like this should only be there to serve the story, and thankfully that's the case here. I really did like moments like the "Graveyard" scene.

    I thought Joker and Harley's dynamic was really interesting... and... uh

    Okay, so I think the biggest risk Telltale took with this version of the Joker is that he's... kinda sexual, right? There's just something about his mannerisms and some of his dialogue. Even his design - the askew tie, mostly unbuttoned shirt, bright pink eyeshadow... like, this is a... kinda sexy Joker, right? The thing that cemented this for me as something that was subtle but definitely explicit is when John and Harley start making out on the dinner table. And then later when John says, "If you ever loved me you'd realize that what we have now is beautiful!". Now, I think where they're going with this is a kinda... loss of innocence as represented by sexual awakening. It's a narrative trope I'm actually learning about now in my British Literature course.... and it's been applied to the Joker. This is, in my opinion, the biggest risk they took with their version of Joker... and it totally works. It makes him really different from any other classic version of the Joker, that's for sure.

    There's also I guess the issue of Queerbaiting? I've seen this brought up in a couple places, on tumblr for example. I personally don't think this is really an example of that because, well, same as the people who thought John could be saved, the "batjokes" shippers were fooling themselves if they ever thought that could be canon. Now, that doesn't explicitly mean there wasn't queerbaiting in this writing, but I think it's more a case of, Joker was maybe attracted to Bruce in more than a "friend/enemy" way, but it was definitely a one-way street. Oh, and as far as negative queercoding(i.e. The villain is scary/weird because they're queer - think Silence of the Lambs or the BBC Sherlock), I don't think there's happening here either. It's too subtle to be that, and what is there is played off with a certain sense of earnestness.

    You may wonder why I spent two paragraphs talking about that. Part of it is because I think the "sexual" angle is really interesting and brings a layer of depth and complexity to this portrayal of the character that I find really interesting. The other thing is half me being a queer person so my mind is always sort of picking up on these things(that's true of a lot of queer folks) and half me being a self-identified SJW... so my mind is always sort of picking up on these things. Sorry :P

    Oh! Final note, I think the final fight scene was better in the Vigilante Path, but Bruce saving Joker's life was really cool. Plus, yeah, I gotta admit that the Carnival was a better setting for the final confrontation than ACE Chemicals, but I like how the two settings really set the visuals of the paths apart.

    Anyway, I'll just say again that I really hope Telltale continues this series with a Third Season at some point, and that I'm really excited for The Wolf Among Us Season Two, and... maybe cautiously optimistic about Walking Dead Season Four.


    Harley Quinn - Jailbird. (11.2%)Asked John to defend Bruce. - Kinda surprised more people didn't pick this option, but I guess I understand. It was just really fun to not betray John and see their relationship fall apart anyway.

    Amanda Waller - Director of the Agency. (35.6%)She won't reveal Bruce's identity. - What's the other side of this one? And why is it apparently the majority?

    Jim Gordon - Commissioner. (28.6%)Asked Waller to have him reinstated. - Really surprised more people didn't have him reinstated. Then again, he didn't betray me, so I guess that might account for why I was more forgiving? Also, does this mean I could've had him reinstated as Commissioner in the Vigilante Path?

    Selina Kyle - On the Prowl. (2.6%)Wiped her criminal record. - Really surprised that this is so low.

    Tiffany Fox - Protegee. (80.6%)Took Tiffany under my wing.

    Iman Avesta - COO, Wayne Enterprises. (27.5%)Got Waller to agree Bruce would give her a job. - So I guess the percentages are counted differently between the two paths? Also, I really liked that it hints at a relationship between Bruce and Iman if you choose this, with Waller telling Bruce about a restaurant in Gotham Iman likes and suggesting he take her there. I really hope Telltale will flesh out Bruce and Iman's relationship if there's a third season. If not, then I'm at least glad this ship isn't complete headcanon.

    Alfred Pennyworth - Family. (36.3%)Gave up the mantle of Batman. - In case there is a Third Season I'd like to have a save file with this ending. Also, I was curious to see the ending myself.

    Joker - Best Enemy. (31%)Agreed we had good times together. - This moment wasn't maybe quite as emotional as the "Of course I was your friend" in the Vigilante Path, but that's made up for by the "You broke my heart, John" dialogue option before the fight began.


    (35.2%)Shook John's hand. - I already knew what would happen but I thought it'd be funny

    (76.7%)Gordon didn't betray Bruce. - Heck yeah. Also, no, I guess this doesn't explain why the number of people who didn't have him reinstated as Commissioner was so low? Did a lot of people just want him to retire? Or did they still feel betrayed by him?

    (95%)Determined the fate of others with Waller. - Duh.

    (36.3%)Gave up being Batman.

    (44.9%)Defeated Villain Joker.

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