This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
The importance of Gotham City’s police department wavers from show to show, medium to medium. Sometimes, they’re very influential parts of the Batman universe, playing a near equal role to the Caped Crusader. And sometimes, they exist to put their hands on their hips and say “Man, if Batman wasn’t around, we’d be dead, or worse, forced to do our jobs properly.” How the Batman: The Animated Series universe would function without Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya is debatable, but thanks to “P.O.V.,” we know that even if they’re not completely required when it comes to having a safe Gotham, at least they’re great to watch.
“P.O.V.” is one of those “only in Batman: The Animated Series” episodes. Sure, we have Gotham now, but that show is just meant to take your favorite comic’s police force and strip them of everything that could bring them joy. I can’t imagine any other Batman series devoting an entire episode to the different ways that Gotham cops see Batman. And I’m not just talking about an entire police department that doesn’t trust Batman until Gordon shakes his hand. I’m talking about five different perspectives.
You have Gordon, who doesn’t tell a story himself, but seems to at least admire Batman for how much he kicks ass. You have Bullock, who is angry that a costumed freak is taking what should be his spotlight, but is very protective of his department when the chips are down. You have the young rookie, Wilkes, who thinks that Batman is some kind of magic being that knocks out criminals by just pointing at them. You have Montoya, who is totally willing to get along with Batman if it means busting drug lords. And lastly, you have the Lieutenant, who is there to be angry about literally anything anyone else says. Five perspectives are covered in the span of one episode. And there’s plenty of action to go along with all of the opinions. If this is some kind of apology for “The Last Laugh,” man, you guys didn’t need to do THAT much. I owe you now.
This episode, like the last one, doesn’t feature any well-known supervillains, but it doesn’t need one. Plus, it would just distract from the main point of the episode: How do you do your job when there’s a Batman in town? Do you work together, rely on him completely, or tell him “Get lost! I already have a friend to help stop all of these bad guys and his name is ‘Gun’”? We’re already aware that, if Poison Ivy has escaped from Arkham, Batman will be necessary in taking her down. But in the real world, where villains don’t always wear costumes and don’t always commit crimes that coincide with their shirt colors, what part does Batman play? “P.O.V.” attempts to answer this.
It’s with “P.O.V.” that Batman: The Animated Series starts to go from being a Batman cartoon with a lot of potential, to being THE Batman cartoon.