“Robin’s Reckoning Part Two”
Written by Randy Rogel
Directed by Dick Sebast
Last week we looked at “Robin’s Reckoning Part One” which featured the animated series origin of Robin. The direction of the Batman: The Animated Series episode by Dick Sebast is another example of storytelling at its finest. Animation too. There have been many enthusiastic fans of the Batman who’ve never enjoyed the addition of The Boy Wonder. Maybe due to the campy 60’s television series or subsequent portrayals in early comic books, but it would seem that the life of Dick Grayson has been as plagued with as many haters as Will Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The early 90’s saw a turning point for this character, especially with 1995’s Batman Forever. Say what you will about the film’s portrayal of Robin, as played by Chris O’ Donnell, but the movie did remain close to “Robin’s Reckoning” Part One and Two.
“Robin’s Reckoning” Part Two opens with another flashback to an early moment in Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson’s life together before becoming The Dynamic Duo. Bruce is teaching the young master Grayson how to fence and teaches him that stronger skills are about “finesse, not strength.” In many ways, Dick Grayson has still not fully honed his skills as a young vigilante and partner to Batman as he’s hot headed, brash, and filled with anger. For those that remember Batman Forever as fondly as I do, “Robin’s Reckoning” would air quite frequently to promote the big-screen relationship of the famous comic-book pair. The way Chris O’ Donnell’s Robin is presented is very similar to the Robin of Batman: The Animated Series.
There are many qualities that make “Robin’s Reckoning” Part One and Two such a standout in a remarkable series. Part Two, much like Part One, deals with darker themes and subject matter that animated series at this time just wouldn’t explore. “The Underdwellers” is an interesting episode as it deals with child slavery. “Robin’s Reckoning” speaks about the loss of parents, death, anger, and we also get one of the first sly moments in the series by way of clever writing and animation. Many that fondly remember Batman: The Animated Series and are just discovering it now will tell you that several episodes dealt with subject matter that would easily go unnoticed by a younger viewer. There’s a place in “Robin’s Reckoning” Part Two that finds the young Dick Grayson walking the streets to find Tony Zucco, the man who killed his parents. He walks into an alleyway where he finds a pimp intimidating and shaking down a prostitute. It’s heavily implied that the Bettie Page looking woman is a prostitute and while it’s passable in the eyes of a child, for an adult, it only serves as a reminder of the greater adult nature and approach to Batman at this time. “Robin’s Reckoning” Part One and Two hold up remarkably well as do the majority of episodes in the series.
The journey of Dick Grayson becoming Robin takes place over nine years. It’s very similar to the amount of time Bruce Wayne had disappeared from Gotham City. During “Robin’s Reckoning” Part One, Dick Grayson asks Bruce “does the hurt ever go away?” and it’s a significant moment for both of them as we understand their connection and need for one another.
I’ve never found Robin to be a problem, but I’ve often enjoyed Batman as a more solitary character. With that said, both “Robin’s Reckoning” episodes were fantastically done and have given greater depth to Dick Grayson/Robin.
Now we are aware that Robin does exist within the framework of the DCEU going forward with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and that he’s died at the hands of The Joker (Jared Leto). We’ve all read the rumors regarding Robin and have seen the trailer. Which Robin do you think appears in Batman v. Superman? Dick Grayson? Tim Drake? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Stay tuned for more Batman: The Animated Series.