Monday, July 22, 2013



    I know Beware The Batman is not something to base an actual diagnosis of mental illness off of, but part of this blog is about thinking critically about the images we receive about physical/mental conditions of the body. That said, let’s review the episode. Magpie is a kleptomaniac villianess who looks like she raided The Black Cat’s wardrobe and pasted on an avian theme. She wants to steal shiny things; chiefly Batman’s utility belt so she can steal more shiny things, but she is not quite the Catwoman replacement I first believed her to be, for she also has a memory stealing helmet, used on a guard in the first scene.

   After some investigation, Batman uncovers the Magpie was a Blackgate inmate. So far so good! The disturbing questions for me, came when Magpie’s “true identity” was uncovered…and, of course the inclusion of the moronic Lunkhead as a setup for Batman and Gordon to figure out the same things and meet. It is a kid’s show though, and to me it’s obvious that Lunkhead’s comedic behavior was the reflection of him trying to be good again…not necessarily his apparent learning disability. (Though criticism is welcome!)

 Lunkhead aside, the episode for me raised questions of identity, medical ethics, and mental health. I don’t know what real kleptomania is like, but I find it highly suspect that Dr. Ravencroft invented a memory wiping machine in the first place. Surely, the mere fact that people labelled as criminals have mental conditions does not warrant their memories being erased. Magpie soon discovers that “Magpie” is only her kleptomaniac personality. Instead of erasing it, Dr. Ravencroft pushed that identity to the front. I know this is only a cartoon, but to me it seems to give the impression that as long as criminals have a mental condition/disability, (In the case of Lunkhead.) it’s okay to play around  with  their identities and minds.
 Magpie even tells Batman after she captures him that he doesn’t need to worry about her taking off his mask because she knows the value of keeping things secret. So, why is Batman, as a higher-functioning mental case, allowed to keep his secret…while Magpie, in a desperate search for her own identity, must be the victim of some twisted correctional experiment? Because he helped Lieutenant Gordon, Batman’s own mental case is excused. Still, I am hoping that Dr. Ravencroft is revealed to be a villianess…even though I know the public prefers to keep good and evil as reflected through physical/mental appearances. I’m always there to cast a critical eye on it!

    In all honesty, I can’t say it was a bad episode, just a little disturbing in the ways that they portray treatment of those with mental conditions. In one scene, when looking at an inkblot test, Batman sees his parent’s murder, but tells Ravencroft he just sees ink on paper. A subtle hint that Batman might suspect the doctor of trying to uncover Batman maybe. In any case, Dr. Ravencroft could be a really good villainess, and if they don’t make her one…it’d be an unsettling message to say that “good doctors” can mess around with memories. We’ll have to see! Until next time! By the way, my rating for this episode was 6.0/10 or C+, just due to the disturbing nature of disability here. Batman never has had a good track record dealing with mental health issues and mental disabilities! But, I can hope!

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