This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
“See No Evil” feels like the introductory episode for a major character. It’s about a guy that can turn invisible. How is every other episode not about this guy? And the guy, Lloyd Ventrix, is voiced by Michael Gross, AKA Burt Gummer, the charismatic gun nut from the Tremors series. He does one of the most underrated voice acting jobs in the series in “See No Evil,” broadly going from GRAND VILLAINOUS PROCLAMATIONS to bitter, hateful whispers on a scene-by-scene basis in a way that Batman: The Animated Series almost necessitates at this point. And Lloyd’s backstory isn’t sad so much as it’s a wasted opportunity. Like a lot of the not-quite-tragic members of Batman’s rogues gallery, he was a guy that wanted to do right, but was sabotaged by his own need to do wrong. And when he couldn’t do right, he just did more wrong. Despite all this, Lloyd never comes back. Oh well. I love “See No Evil.”
Kimberly, a young girl, is visited by an invisible, gift-bearing friend that she calls “Mojo.” Anyone who isn’t Kimberly knows that this is probably not an imaginary friend, and it turns out to be Lloyd, Kimberly’s father who is an ex-con that Kimberly’s mother wants nothing to do with. But this isn’t a case of “Awww, the kid’s gonna be torn between the two.” When Kimberly finds out that Mojo is Lloyd, she doesn’t recognize him at first, and then, when she does recognize him, immediately wants to go back home to her mom. Not that it’s a problem for Lloyd. When Lloyd approaches his ex-wife in a diner, he tries to buy her lunch and flashes a big wad of money around instead of talking to her or trying to connect with her in any way. These slight details show that Lloyd isn’t a man who is interested in having any kind of meaningful relationships with these people. He just wants to have them. Wife, kid, money. It doesn’t matter whether they actually like him or think that he’s a good person. Just having them around means that he’s a success.
This episode wouldn’t work if the animation was lackluster, and the way the characters move in “See No Evil” may be the smoothest that this show has seen since “On Leather Wings.” Every punch feels like a punch. No one acts like they’re a robot suit being controlled by tiny, blind aliens. You never lose faith in Batman because someone drew him to look like he’s slowly forgetting that most of his joints don’t work.
“See No Evil” also features my favorite side character in the show: Cop who really has to poop. During Lloyd’s mass theft of a jewelry auction, we see a cop get locked out of a bathroom that Lloyd is changing in, and then one that Batman is changing in. He then gets knocked out by Batman exploding from out of the bathroom in costume. Poor PoopCop. Part Man, Part Poop, All Cop.