Holy Sue, Batman! TMS Plays ​Batman: The Telltale Series​ Episode 1.3

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Our Let’s Play through Batman: The Telltale Series has already introduced us to several iconic Batman characters, and this week we’ll be meeting yet another one: The Penguin. This is a narrative-heavy game, so you might want to get caught up on the rest of our play-through before you dive into this episode; check it all out on our “Holy Sue, Batman!” YouTube playlist.

We already learned in last week’s episode that, according to Telltale Games’ twist on the Batman story, Bruce Wayne and Oswald Cobblepot used to be childhood friends. Also, Oswald goes by “Oz” in this version, which is a more pleasant nickname than “The Penguin.” We’ll see if he switches that up as the game goes on.

Oz wanted to meet up with Bruce Wayne at a park at 6AM, which is a pretty suspicious way to meet up with an old friend, especially coming from someone who hasn’t spoken to Bruce in many years. Bruce gets to the park on time, but Oz is late. By the way, the park they’re meeting at is Cobblepot Park, meaning that it’s probably owned by Oz’s rich parents, or by Oz himself.

Bruce wanders around the park and gives some change to a homeless guy who’s on the verge of unconsciousness and surrounded by empty booze bottles. (At least he’s lying on his side? Safety first, folks.) Bruce walks towards the middle of the park and looks at the statues, the graffiti, and the collection of overturned shopping carts. The Cobblepot family sure hasn’t kept up with this park, huh? How’s the Parks & Rec department in Gotham doing?

While Bruce is looking morosely at the disarray of the park, two guys walk up behind him and try to mug him. Ohhh, these criminals sure did pick the wrong rich guy to rob! Before Bruce even has the opportunity to fight them off, Oz shows up and breaks up the fight—and shows off his Cockney accent (so he’s … from England?! Apparently he was also British in that Arkham City video game, but he usually isn’t British in Batman canon generally). Oz beats up the two muggers, with a little assist from Bruce. Except Oz’s beatings are a lot more severe than Bruce’s are; mostly Bruce is just dodging attacks, but Oz is smashing people’s faces into statues.

After the fight ends and the two bleeding muggers run off, Bruce looks somewhat irritated with Oz. Oz proudly crows about having beaten the two guys, but Bruce just responds, “I could have handled that myself.” Oz doesn’t believe him–why should he? Apparently, it’s been “two decades” since these two guys have met up. They both seem to be in their 30s now, so they might have known each other in elementary school, meaning that the version of Bruce that Oz remembers is probably not the “tough guy” that Bruce became after the death of his parents.

Oz sits on a park bench, takes out a flask and starts drinking. He then tells Bruce that his family’s fortune is gone: “Now, all I’ve got is this park.” (How did the Cobblepot fortune get lost, exactly? Oz doesn’t say.) Oz mentions that he saw Falcone at the campaign party that Bruce hosted for Harvey Dent last night. I think Oz might have been that party guest in the corner who was drinking straight from the bottle, if his tendency to drink from a flask at 6AM is any indication about his vices.

Oz sounds very angry about Falcone and implies that Falcone is the reason why his family’s riches are gone, although he doesn’t get specific about it. He then implies that he’s about to try to bump off Falcone. Then he circles back to why he brought Bruce here in the first place: He’s noticed that Wayne Enterprises owns a whole lot of Gotham. He gives Bruce a speech, the gist of which is “don’t get in my way,” but he’s not clear on what exactly he’s planning. Bruce tells him they don’t have to be enemies. But I have a feeling they will be, especially if Oz is going to try to take down the mob through illicit means (or become a mob boss in his own right, as the Penguin).

After Bruce and Oz part ways, Bruce heads off to his second appointment of the day: visiting a building site for a memorial hospital to be built in his parents’ name. Harvey Dent is also there. I guess this is another campaign event. Harvey starts up a speech for the gathered reporters about Arkham Asylum, which must be the huge building looming way in the background; maybe this new hospital will somehow be a part of Arkham. Before Harvey can get to the part of the speech where he explains any of that, Bruce gets a frantic text from Alfred. Even though Alfred knows Bruce is in the middle of a huge press conference, he’s still saying, “Call me ASAP.”

After explaining that this new facility will indeed be part of Arkham’s efforts to treat “the criminally insane,” Harvey turns the conference over to Bruce. Bruce pockets his phone and speaks up on cue, but this might be a short speech, since Alfred’s got some emergency. In his speech, Bruce brings up the story of his parents’ death, and cites his parents’ killer as someone “who needed the kind of help this new facility will provide.”

Again, this game’s repeated insistence that killers are “mentally ill” strikes me as odd, partly because it’s a common misconception that isn’t based in fact, but also because the guy who killed Bruce’s parents was a contract killer in the comics, so … this all just doesn’t make sense, folks.

According to Bruce’s speech, this new hospital is supposed to completely replace Arkham Asylum, although it sounds like it’s going to serve the same purpose that Arkham did. (In the Batman: The Animated Series version of this same plot-line, you’ll recall that part of Harvey’s campaign revolved around re-opening Arkham Asylum; this is a similar type of story in a lot of ways.) Now it’s time for questions from reporters about the new hospital. Vicki Vale is the first to stand up and ask one: what’s going to happen to the old Arkham building?

Bruce says he believes it should be closed down, saying that its practices have only “made criminals more unstable, put our citizens in jeopardy. We can do better.” Uh, but what’s wrong with the building itself? Is there any reason to completely rebuild a physical building? Why not just restaff it and rebrand it? (That’s essentially what Harvey did in Batman: TAS, after all. And it worked so well for him then! Okay, it didn’t, but still.)

Another reporter, Julia Remarque of The Tribune, stands up to ask Bruce Wayne why Falcone showed up at Harvey Dent’s campaign party last night. Bruce clarifies for what feels like the billionth time that Falcone was an uninvited and unwelcome guest. A third reporter asks Bruce why he has offshore bank accounts, then implies that Bruce might be using an account like that to make deals with organized crime leaders. The reporter goes on to say that the Wayne offshore account’s history stems back to a time when Bruce’s dad used it, and that “the paper trail ties your family directly to the mob.”

Apparently, this “paper trail” evidence got sent to a bunch of media outlets already, and many of the rest of the journalists present at this event know about it too. Several other reporters start shouting their own questions about the Wayne family’s mob ties and their supposed allegiance with Falcone. I have a feeling Falcone is the one who sent that information to the press, since he threatened Bruce already, after Bruce said he wasn’t willing to work with him. He probably created phony evidence tying Wayne Enterprises to the mob, and since Bruce already has an offshore account, it can’t have been hard. Plus, Bruce won’t be able to release those records publicly, since I bet he’s using that offshore account to buy Batman tech.

Meanwhile, Alfred has been texting and calling Bruce frantically. Bruce dismisses all further questions, turns the press conference over to Harvey (who is probably not going to be any better at dealing with this onslaught of bad press than Bruce has been), and Bruce walks offstage. He answers his phone, only to learn from Alfred that the police are at his house, looking around the manor. Whaaat?

Guess we’ll have to find out why next week!

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Image of Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).