Monday, July 13, 2009

Episode Synopsis & Review: "Pretty Poison"

Pretty Poison
Original Airdate: September 14th, 1992
Season 01, Episode #005

Harvey Dent builds his dream penitentiary for Gotham City with funds donated by Wayne Enterprises. But, it comes at the expense of a rare bloom; much to the chagrin of a certain Pamela Isley.

Years later, after a game of seduction, Pamela enacts her revenge on Harvey by planting a poison kiss on his lips. Harvey is left for dead but is rescued by his friend Bruce Wayne.

Batman later learns it was Pamela who poisoned Harvey and pays her a visit. While at Ms. Isley's greenhouse Batman battles a few plant-beasts before Pamela steps into the light. At this point, she reveals herself as Poison Ivy and explains her motivations. A greenhouse chase ensues, a fire quickly spreads, and Poison Ivy is captured. This episode closes out with a defiant Poison Ivy, sitting in Arkham Asylum, plotting her return.

Ah yes, Pretty Poison. This was Pamela Isley's introduction to Gotham City and the DC Animated Universe. I'd say for the discriminating Bat-fan this episode is average at best. Pretty Poison is a bit simple and lags a bit until the third act. But, for die-hard Poison Ivy fans this was a treat. The fight between Batman and Poison Ivy is a wonder to behold. It's a finessed tug of war and I can't help but swoon during these greenhouse romps.

Poison Ivy looks quite beautiful thanks to Sunrise animation. Although, Bruce Timm has commented a few times that Sunrise always drew Poison Ivy off model (incorrectly). Diane Pershing's voice acting is also on point. I love the maniacal laugh. The music is also fantastic; I adore the piece that Ivy plays as she strips out of her gardening clothes and into something...more comfortable.

Oddly enough, the one thing this episode is often reputed for is the physicality of the man-eating plant. Some people think it resembles a certain part of the female anatomy (with teeth no less). Bruce Timm claims that the original design for the plant creature looked more like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Either way, it's a ferocious thing of nature (and I'll just leave it at that).

Overall, it's a good but not great effort. The visuals make up for a lackluster "origin" story.

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