This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
Catwoman is the best example of the idea that, despite all of the anguish, being Batman can be kind of fun. She’s like the Joker, as she gets her kicks from playing with Batman rather than actually defeating him. But imagine being Batman, constantly at war with people who want you dead. You live a fairly joyless existence, only lightened by Alfred’s dry humor. Then you find out that there’s someone else who likes to dress up like a furry mammal and wants to run across rooftops and flirt with you? And on the side, she wants to steal some jewelry and save some animals? That first part kind of goes against your “Boo, crime!” personality, but it means that you don’t have to hurry up and batcuff her immediately since she’s not trying to start any massacres. There’s got to be a part of Batman that longs for the thrill of the chase and Catwoman provides that. Whereas the Joker will duel Batman forever because Batman won’t kill him and Joker thinks Batman is a hoot, Catwoman will always be around because Catwoman won’t kill Batman, and Batman thinks Catwoman is a hoot.
“The Cat and the Claw: Part 1” doesn’t have a lot of stakes between the two main characters, setting up the Red Claw, a female terrorist that seems to be about eight-feet-tall as the main villain. Whenever Batman and Catwoman meet, there are way too many pauses for this to be a normal “I must bring them to justice!” story for the Dark Knight. He lingers too long, and says a few too many words, and that allows Catwoman to get away. Remember in “It’s Never Too Late” where Batman tried to crush Rupert Thorne like an empty Coke can? That’s what he does when he’s really trying to stop somebody. He doesn’t give them a second. He just pulverizes them. With Catwoman, he finds a kindred spirit.
Because, like Batman, Catwoman is on the right side of the law in all of the wrong ways. As I mentioned, she wants to help animals, but she’s willing to break into places and steal stuff in order to accomplish her goals. Any delusions that Batman might have about being morally superior to her could be dismissed if you were to remind him of any other episode of the show, where he usually can be found breaking into places and beating up people with no second thought given to the law.
Aside from these interactions, which are new for the show, “The Cat and the Claw: Part 1” is pretty forgettable. It’s not boring, but whenever you’re forced to listen to the Red Claw, you kind of wish you could just watch more of the rooftop chases, which is the Batman equivalent of running towards the person you love through a hazy, dream-like field of flowers. The show would struggle to find adequate stories for Catwoman, but when it came to her relationship with Batman, they nailed it.