Batman: 05 Pretty Poison

Batman is a DC Comics character, and Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Warner Home Video. If you'd like to purchase this episode, you may do so here; if you'd like to buy the DVD box set, you may do so here. The story is by Paul Dini and Michael Reaves; the teleplay is by Tom Ruegger; and the episode was directed by Boyd Kirkland.

The title tune is a subdued version of the bombastic scores of yesteryear, with an added melancholy undertone; if the little Universal studios plane was in evidence above the single rose bloom, it would likely crash.

We open on a groundbreaking ceremony in the past, as indicated by the sepia tone; it's either that, or they left the cels on the dashboard one sunny afternoon. Gotham's getting a new prison, thanks to Bruce Wayne's money and Harvey Dent's dream.

A mysterious gardener carefully transplants a rose, then watches the proceedings from a hilltop. 

Flashbulbs capture Dent and Wayne shoveling dirt with noticeably less care, and we fade to the picture in the newspaper. The gardener pins the story up and waters a rose. Similar roses are torn up by bulldozers, and we flash forward five years to the Good Ship Incarceration.

Just then, a klaxon blares as a man in a jumpsuit makes a run for it. It's Moe from the Three Stooges, and he's taking unscheduled shore leave from the USS Incarceration in a helicopter.

Commissioner Gordon gets the call about the prison break, and the troops rally. Harvey Bullock lingers to grab a doughnut, because he is fat and slovenly.

Moe foolishly makes a crack that they're “home free”, which is how you summon Batman. We see his silhouette, and then a black fist firing the grapple gun at the helicopter. Once again, Batman is swooping through the skies over Gotham.

The camera pans down to the Rose Cafe, where the service puts the “wank” in swanky. Harvey Dent is eating with a red headed bombshell. She wants to wait for Bruce, but Dent says he's probably busy.

Quick cut to Batman, trailing behind the helicopter. He loops his line around a building, and the helicopter stops in mid-air.

It crashes into the building, but doesn't explode. Instead, Batman gets to stick his head in the copter and scare Moe senseless.

Redhead is vamping it up, and asks about Bruce's money. Harvey responds that his friend keeps high class company.

This is our cue to cut back to Batman chasing after Moe, who had some fight left in him after all. He's even found a pipe, possibly in a Gotham City Convenient Arm Length of Metal bin. The two struggle on the edge of a high rise.

We're treated to more of the cute back and forth, where Harvey says one thing to his date and Batman's actions provide a counterpoint. Felonious Moe is apprehended just as a police helicopter shows up, and the Batmobile roars off to the Manor.

Alfred meets Batman with Bruce's brown suit, yellow shirt combo – how'd he know? - and a recommendation for an entree at the Rose Cafe. We cut to Bruce, Harvey, and the woman Alfred identified as Ms. Isley, all laughing and enjoying a post-prandial cup of coffee.

Ms. Isley has to run, but not before a serious snog with Harvey at the table. Bruce plays bored schoolboy to a T. When she Jessica Rabbits away, no fewer than four men watch her do so.

Make that five, thanks to a leering Bruce Wayne. He collects himself, only to do a spit take when Harvey announces with a smug expression that he's marrying her.

Wait a second. There's something familiar about Harvey Dent. It's been bothering me ever since I saw him again in On Leather Wings. He looks like somebody, and that smug grin with upraised eyebrow settled it:

Harvey Dent totally looks like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!

The Dent deliriously espouses the virtues of his future spouse, and Bruce gently tries to talk him out of it. After all, they've only known each other for a week! Harvey, complaining of the heat, says it doesn't matter. It's love!

After a few more emphatic collar tugs, the District Attorney goes down for the count in the chocolate mousse.

Outside, Bruce watches as the EMTs take his friend to the hospital. The ambulance pulls away, and we zoom in on the Rose Cafe's logo.

Commercial break!

At the hospital, three people in scrubs do their best to fill the next fifteen seconds with continuous medical phrases. I think Harvey was supposed to be in three different operating rooms by the end of it all. Bruce trails behind, crushed.

Commissioner Gordon gets his second urgent phone call of the night. Bullock's reaction to the DA in a coma is to grab another doughnut and sling it in the cavern he calls a mouth.

The doctor says The Dent has been poisoned! When our man Wayne asks him if it was the food, the doc says it's too virulent for that. He says it's the worst poison he's ever encountered, and then walks out of the lab. Best practices, Gotham City Hospital.

Ole' Brucie sneaks a blood covered slide into his coat; when the handlebar mustached cat is away, the bat will play.

The Batcomputer has analyzed the toxin, and discovered it comes from a rose. Before Batman can race off to procure one for an antidote, Alfred informs him the variety has been extinct for five years.

We smash cut to the gardener from the beginning snipping one, then back to the hospital.

Pamela Isley shows up, joining Bruce outside The Dent's room. She breaks down in tears when she can't go in, and Bruce walks her to her car. She tries to smooch him, but Bruce dodges like only a playboy can. Unfortunately for her, the only thing she's aroused is his suspicions.

Bruce remembers that before Harvey face planted into the mousse, he enjoyed the same sweet morsel Ms. Isley just offered him. Hmm.

In the Batcave, Alfred puts on his exposition hat. Ms. Pamela Isley is a research chemist for a cosmetics firm with a PhD in botany. As a hobby, she gives lectures on endangered plant species. Bruce has finished putting on his Batman suit, declaring the engagement off.

Batman nimbly leaps to the roof of a greenhouse. He peers in menacingly.

We see Pamela Isley, aka the gardener, talking to her roses like they're children. She's a bit Mommy Dearest with them, actually. She queues up some soothing music, and then changes behind a curtain.

Batman swoops in, only to step on a trap door. He plummets towards a bed of quivering cacti, swinging out on a conveniently placed vine before he's perforated. The vine then displays a tiny, horrible mouth and some form of sentience, proving that if it ain't one thing in Gotham, it's another.

It ensnares him, followed by several more. I'm worried they're going to reenact parts of Evil Dead, but instead they drag him towards the giant, gaping maw of a Venus mantrap!

Commercial break!

Serene music plays as Batman is pulled to his death. Pamela Isley, now in a green unitard, calmly comments on what her baby has caught. Batman is kicking teeth out, but it's not enough.

Isley vamps it up some more, and a struggling Batman explains he's there because of Harvey Dent. Her faux tears turn into cackles at The Dent's plight. “Call me Poison Ivy,” she says, so I will.

Poison Ivy explains that The Dent is guilty of murder. Specifically, plowing an innocent field of endangered roses for a stupid prison. Her bulldozer speech – and hand motions – are adorkable, even though she foams at the mouth near the end.

She smears lipstick on, and the vines restrain Batman so she can administer the Judas kiss. Nevermind the bondage overtones, what's kinkiest is that he was already going to be eaten by a giant plant - Poison Ivy just wanted to do it this way for giggles.

Batman spits like a seventh grader who had a kiss snuck on him at a dance, and Ivy acts offended. She pulls out the antidote, waving it under his nose when he slumps. Big mistake, as Batman ain't afraid to kick a bitch.

Ivy goes flying, and Batman locks his legs around the sprinkler for leverage. He slips a knife from his belt, and shows Seymour Jr. what's what.

Harming plants is her very predictable berserk button. She fires at him with her wrist mounted crossbow. Disoriented from the poison, he barely ducks in time. The Venus mantrap gets the bolt, and proceeds to scream! and flail around.

A woozy Batman clambers around the greenhouse, dodging more bolts. He accidentally/on-purpose pulls a bank of grow lights down into a pond. Sparks shoot out, setting the place aflame.

An anguished Ivy runs to save her rose. Burning chunks of the ceiling fall around her. Despite her villain status, they've drawn her like a Disney princess, with the wide eyes of an ingenue. As she hugs her rose surrounded by fire, it's hard not to feel bad for her.

She's almost crushed by something, but Batman tackles her out of the way. He, however, lands halfway in the cacti pit. The Dark Knight clings to the edge with one hand.

Spinning Poison Ivies bracketed in flame point their crossbow at him. Before she can pull the trigger, Batman shows her the rose pot in his other hand. He wants a trade – the roses for the antidote. Ivy capitulates instantly, and Batman grabs the antidote.

The very next scene is him busting through a wall of glass carrying a flaming wheelbarrow. (That antidote works fast.)

Instead of dropping the wheelbarrow, Batman hurls it away. (Why? Because he's Batman.) He then looms over Ivy.

Now we're bedside with Harvey Dent, as are Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Bullock. Bruce levels with The Dent – Pam's not the girl for him.

Back at the Good Ship Incarceration, Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy, has her own cell in the basement. She's plotting revenge, and someone saw fit to imprison her with the roses she uses to make an incredibly virulent poison.

Oh yeah, I'm sure we'll never see her again.

End credits. Batman is awesome.