Batman The Animated Series: Fear of Victory

"You're telling me that that walking pile of straws scares the stuffing out of sports stars and then bets against their teams?"

You know what, that's actually a pretty good plan.

Batman villains aren't exactly known for coming up with brilliant money making schemes. Nine times out of ten their plans are as crazy as they are. However, the Scarecrow's scheme in this episode is actually rather ingenious. He exposes athletes to a special brand of his fear toxin that only kicks in when their adrenaline is up. He then bets against them and rakes in the cash. That's brilliant. At least, it would be if he was actually doing this to become rich. All he's after are funds for his demented research. Typical scientist, always chasing after that precious funding.

It was also rather foolish of him to keep making his bets with the same bookie. I know gambling is illegal in most of America, unlike here in the UK where there are about ten bookies on every high street, but this is Gotham City we're talking about. The fictional crime capital of America. Surely there's more than one place in town where a guy can go to make some illegal bets?

This episode sees the Scarecrow's costume undergo a major redesign. Dr Crane obviously decided to spend some of his winnings on a trip to Gotham's resident bad guy tailor. His new look now includes baggy straw hair, bigger and crazier eyes, and a wider sneering mouth with teeth. It is a massive improvement on the underwhelming one he sported in 'Nothing to Fear'


One of the smartest things BTAS did was age up Robin so we wouldn't have the uncomfortable image of Batman going out every night to fight violent criminals with a young kid at his side. Making him a college freshman means Bruce and Alfred don't have to be reported to social services, and it provides the show with a credible reason why he's not in every episode. All his crime fighting is done on the weekends and holidays.

As always happens when the Scarecrow shows up, one of the heroes gets exposed to his fear toxin. Since Batman got a dose last time, it's now Robin's turn. While most people see monsters and phobias, the fear toxin always manages to go a little deeper when used on the dynamic duo. Bruce had his doubts about honouring his parent's legacy multiplied tenfold. Robin, who was raised as an acrobat and saw his parents die performing a stunt, is crippled by fear of heights. It also made him a little too Scooby Doo and Shaggy for my liking.

I Know That Voice

Brian Rogers was voiced by Brian Stokes Mitchell, best known for playing Dr. Justin 'Jackpot' Jackson on Trapper John, M.D., Trevor on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frasier's nemesis Cam Winston on Frasier, and Scott Knowles on Mr. Robot. The bookie's henchman was voiced by Tim Curry. Yes, the Tim Curry. That's a surprisingly big name for such a minor role.

Notes and Quotes

--While this was the second episode produced with Robin, it was actually the first to air.

--Really is nice of Arkham to let all the bad guys keep their costumes.

--Leon the Bookie has got to be the least imaginative name for a criminal ever.

--The Scarecrow drops the vial so Batman will be busy while he escapes, but then attacks Batman rather than actually escape.

The Scarecrow: "There's enough powder in that helmet to panic a pachyderm! He should be prostrating himself, crying for mercy!"
Batman: "Change of luck, Scarecrow?"
The Scarecrow: "You!"
Batman: "You're aware that gambling is illegal in Gotham?"
The Scarecrow: "I need the money, Batman. You know the cost of chemicals these days."

The Joker: "The cowl looks familiar, but I'm blanking on the face."

Batman: "Just as I thought. The fear chemical is activated by adrenaline. So whenever you, or Brian, or any of the other athletes got agitated..."
Robin: "The stuff kicks in, turning our excitement to fear. But how long is this gonna last?"
Batman: "I'm afraid there's only one person who can answer that: the Professor of Fear himself, The Scarecrow."
Robin: "No, it can't be. He's locked up in Arkham... isn't he?"

Three out of four surprisingly big name guest stars in minor roles.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

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