This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
If the Two-Face two-parter is about a good guy that is ruined by his inner demons, The Clayface two-parter is about a bad guy that is…well…also ruined by his inner demons. Matt Hagen, the actor, isn’t a very nice person. He’s constantly throwing temper tantrums and not the kind of tantrums that let audiences know “This guy is tragic, and everything he does is tragic, so just feel bad, okay?” These are the kind of tantrums that make you actively dislike him. Sure, he was disfigured in an accident, and it ruined his career, but why does he have to be so mean to Teddy, his purple polo-wearing assistant? Teddy seems nice. If Teddy became Clayface, I’d feel pretty terrible about that.
Matt is addicted to a face-altering cream that is produced by crime boss Roland Daggett. Daggett, along with Rupert Thorne, serve as the two main crime bosses of the show, but while Thorne seems mostly interested in hired assassinations and the underworld, Daggett is all over the fucking place. Daggett has his hands in everything from running a dangerous make-up company to funding the genetic mutation of monsters. I don’t know if Daggett even knows the specifics of most of his business ventures. He just asks “Is it crime?” and if he gets the affirmation that it is, immediately goes with it.
After Matt fails Daggett one too many times, Daggett has two of his henchman, Bell and Germs, “deal” with Matt. I doubt that Daggett approved of the method that they use, however, because Germs holds Matt down while Bell smothers Matt with a large beaker of the transformation cream. They take Matt back out to his car and leave him to die there. But instead of dying, he becomes Clayface, which isn’t really a step down. More of a step to the side, really. Batman hunts down Bell, and using a little pincer tool on the end of his Batwing (The same tool that he grabbed Joker’s balloons with at the end of Tim Burton’s Batman) and flies his around the city, doing potentially irreparable damage to Bell’s arm and wrist and demanding answers.
And then the police show up in helicopters to tell Batman to stop. Now, we’ve already seen Batman and Gordon talk to each other in the shadows. They don’t have an official “Meet me at my office!” relationship yet, but they’re on speaking terms. However, I guess Gordon hasn’t told anyone else in the GCPD, because the force is definitely not happy with Batman dangling a man three hundred feet above the city streets from a bat-shaped jet. Or maybe they do know, and they’re just trying to prevent Batman from doing something dumb, like accidentally ripping the guy’s arm off, or accidentally slinging him into a building. It’s cool to hang a guy upside down from a skyscraper and interrogate him, Batman, but could you maybe stick to things that you can actively control? If that dude’s wrist breaks, he’s toast.