“Robin’s Reckoning Part One”
Written by Randy Rogel
Directed by Dick Sebast
The usage of Robin within Batman: The Animated Series was always very interesting. “On Leather Wings”, the first episode of the animated series does not feature The Boy Wonder, but the second episode “Christmas with the Joker” does. He appeared sporadically in the early episodes of Batman and it wasn’t until “Robin’s Reckoning” Part One and Part Two that we were given his origin story. At this time, Robin was still very much seen as more of a whimsical sidekick in the vein of Burt Ward’s portrayal in the television series. For a viewer such as myself, it wasn’t until 1995’s Batman Forever that we got a more serious version of Robin. But, this is still Batman: The Animated Series and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the series never failed to take on darker and more adult subject matter. “Robin’s Reckoning Part One” is no different.
Randy Rogel’s writing takes us on an interesting journey that focuses on the relationship between Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. “Robin’s Reckoning Part One” is actually not unlike an episode of The CW’s Arrow. The episode features numerous flashbacks which fill us in on how Dick Grayson came to live with Bruce Wayne. We’re given The Flying Graysons backstory, along with how Tony Zucco had Dick’s mother and father killed after the circus was unwilling to pay “insurance” money. Zucco’s shakedown of the circus ties to the current investigation into an extortion ring involving professional saboteurs.
Without the aid of a net, The Flying Graysons perform a high wire routine which is expertly animated and directed. We very rarely see death depicted in Batman: The Animated Series, even with many episodes skewing towards a darker tone. “Robin’s Reckoning Part One” shows off camera the death of Dick Grayson’s parents and it’s done in a very tasteful, atmospheric way with a classic film making sensibility. “Robin’s Reckoning” remind us that good writing is good writing, no matter what the medium. The relationship between Batman and Robin is done very well and we understand more of the why behind Bruce Wayne’s reasoning to take in the young Dick Grayson. We will explore more of this with the conclusion of the two-part episode tomorrow.
To Be Continued…
Stay tuned for more Batman: The Animated Series.