Hey guys and welcome to part 3 of “Judge’s Batman Extravaganza!” I’ve never really elaborated on this mini-series I’m running. Well ever since I got Batman: Arkham City last month (review here), I’ve been in the Batman mood. I’ve watched all the Batman movies (yes even the terrible Batman and Robin) and many of the animated works. I just can’t get enough Batman! All right, now that that’s out of the way, today I’ll be looking at the Epilogue episode of Justice League Unlimited. In case you’re wondering, Epilogue was meant to be the final episode of JLU, but the show surprisingly was renewed for a second season. Regardless, it brought closure to Batman Beyond.
In this episode, the origins of Terry McGinnis are explained. Set 65 years in the future from when JLU takes place, the episode begins with Terry infiltrating the home of a now elderly Amanda Waller, a frequent antagonist in JLU. It is revealed that Terry is the son of Bruce Wayne, which causes him much agony. He believes Bruce stole everything from Terry, and that he never really had a choice in becoming Batman. He comes to Waller to find answers to why Bruce would go to such lengths to create a successor. Amanda first tells Terry a story about Bruce’s younger years, which is meant to convey his compassion. Terry is not convinced and continues to blame Bruce. It is at this time that Amanda reveals that it was she, not Bruce, who made Terry into Bruce’s son. She explains her reasoning was that the world needed a Batman, and the thought of one without him was unacceptable. She initiates Project Batman Beyond, and through flashbacks, we see how Terry’s supposed father had his DNA rewritten to match Bruce’s.
We also see how Amanda planned to cause tragedy in Terry’s life (hiring an assassin–the Phantasm!–to kill his parents in front of his eyes much like Bruce’s childhood). However, things did not go according to plan, yet Terry remarks his father was still murdered, and he still became Batman. It was fate he said. The next thing that happens in this episode is what strikes home with me every time. Amanda goes on to quote the Bible (although I’m not religious I thought this was a great addition, a testament to the great writing of this episode), and tells Terry that we have free will, the power of choice. She tells him he isn’t a carbon copy of Bruce–he’s his son. There’s similarities and differences. If he wants to live a better life then Bruce, then he should take care of the people who love him (earlier Terry criticizes Bruce for letting all his loved ones go). The episode ends with Terry planning on proposing to Dana, his girlfriend for 15 years (since Batman Beyond), and him coming to peace with Bruce.
Every time I think of this episode, I think of my own father. I have often spent a lot of my time pondering whether or not I can “escape my father’s shadow.” We’re so similar it’s sometime scary. When I talk with him, I sometimes wonder if I control my own destiny. However, this episode echoes the same conclusion I think of after long sessions in thought: we may be similar, but as long as I have a choice, I can do things differently than my father. This is why this episode of one of my favorite episodes of any animated series; it’s well-written, and it’s relatable. All the dialogue feels real and natural; I could actually imagine having a conversation similar to the one Terry and Amanda had. Epilogue does a wonderful job tapping into the audience’s emotions, and everyone should give it a watch, Batman fan or not. The power of choice is seldom explained better than how it is in this episode.
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