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Holy Sue, Batman! TMS Plays ​Batman: The Telltale Series​ Episode 1.4

Our latest Let’s Play through Telltale Games’ Batman series checks back in on Bruce Wayne’s not-exactly-legal adventures once again. On last week’s episode, we saw him get hounded by the press for his supposed ties to mob boss Falcone. Alfred called Bruce in a panic, saying that the cops had arrived to search Wayne Manor. Bruce rushes home to meet them, which is where this episode picks up. (By the way, if you’d like to watch the entire series up to this point, check out our YouTube playlist.)

Bruce ends up face-to-face with Commissioner Gordon, who tells Bruce that the warrant “came from the top … Mayor Hill signed off on this himself.” Is Hill in Falcone’s pocket, then? Gordon gives the old “if you’ve got nothing to hide” type of monologue … but, of course, we know Bruce Wayne has a lot to hide!

One of the cops accidentally knocks a framed photo on the ground, so Bruce goes over to pick it up. It’s now broken. Looking at the photo, which is a childhood photo of Bruce with his parents, triggers a flashback to his parents’ death. This gets animated through shadows; it looks visually striking and appropriately haunting, almost like ghosts looking over Bruce’s shoulder. (This isn’t the first time Telltale Games has illustrated a PTSD flashback in a game, by the way–they did so to equally great effect in The Walking Dead: Michonne.)

Vicki Vale suddenly walks up behind Bruce. Weirdly, Bruce doesn’t seem concerned that there’s a reporter here and that apparently she got inside his house without his knowledge (why did Alfred let a reporter inside, especially with the cops already searching the place?). Vicki tells Bruce she’s not interested in writing a hit piece on him: “Not all reporters just want a headline … some of us just want the truth.” After all, she continues, the evidence that the Wayne family had any ties to Falcone is “flimsy,” and she doesn’t want to report on that unless she can get hard facts.

Bruce tells Vicki that he thinks Falcone’s the one who sent that evidence to media outlets. Vicki tells him she needs something on the record. Bruce gives Vicki a quote about how the evidence against him is “lies,” and that this person will be brought to justice for spreading falsehoods about his family.

After Vicki leaves, Alfred and Bruce have a chat about how they’re mad that Harvey Dent didn’t tell Bruce ahead of time about the warrant and the allegations of the Wayne family’s mob ties. Isn’t Harvey supposed to be the district attorney? Shouldn’t he have been in the loop on this? Next scene: Bruce confronts Harvey with the warrant the cops had to serve his home. Harvey claims he didn’t know anything about it.

Bruce says he believes Harvey, and that maybe Mayor Hill is trying to screw them both over. But why? Bruce tells Harvey he thinks Falcone is the one trying to take them down, then he says that perhaps Harvey should distance the campaign from Bruce, at least until the campaign’s over. That’s going to be tricky, since Bruce already donated Harvey’s campaign a lot of money…

All of a sudden, Selina Kyle shows up (!?!), and she and Harvey embrace romantically. (This bit is once again reminding me of the Batman: The Animated Series episode about this storyline, except in that version, Harvey’s dating a different femme fatale–Poison Ivy.) Selina and Bruce exchange a meaningful look. Bruce recognizes her, because she has a black eye–the black eye that Batman gave to Catwoman during their battle at the beginning of the game.

She says she got “mugged” and that someone in a mask took something “valuable” of hers. Not even a lie! She also mentions that her “employer,” to whom the stolen object belonged, would be angry with her for having lost it. It’s weird that she’s being this forthcoming with a total stranger. Harvey leaves to take a cellphone call, at which point Selina instantly tells Bruce that she knows he’s Batman: “Nice to meet the real you.”

She tells him not to worry that she knows his secret identity, though. “I’m not going to expose you… yet.” After they trade banter about their various motivations for wearing masks, she reiterates to him that she’s seriously going to be in trouble if she doesn’t get that hard drive back to her “employer.” Bruce clearly feels sorry for her, so he’s willing to work out a deal. Selina wants to deliver the drive herself, but Bruce won’t agree. He says he’ll drop it off; she writes down an address on a napkin and slides it over to Bruce. When is he supposed to make the drop? “Fifteen minutes ago.” Heh.

The dynamic between Bruce and Selina is fun to see, but as our Let’s Player Sam points out, if this game is planning to make Bruce choose between Vicki and Selina later … well, that’ll be a boring way to go story-wise, let’s just put it that way.

Harvey comes back from his phone call, at which point Bruce makes an excuse and rushes off. The address for the drop-off point is at the docks, the same place that was highlighted on the drive that he stole from Catwoman. Too bad he didn’t manage to extract any other valuable information, so he has no idea what he’s walking into here.

Once he reaches the warehouse at the docks, Batman finds what appears to have been a failed police raid. There are a bunch of dead bodies, all of whom appear to be police-affiliated, based on the uniforms. Now, Bruce has to do a little mystery-solving in order to figure out what happened.

There was some sort of explosive blast that resulted in all of these deaths. Bruce looks around the room for clues; he figures out that a nerve agent got released into the room, and that there was an explosive canister of some kind involved in that. He also finds a white rose, which is apparently “Falcone’s calling card.” So Falcone wanted people to know that he was involved in this? That seems weird.

Batman finds a mercenary’s body as well, so I guess not only cops got killed in the blast. The mercenary’s face is all clawed up; Bruce finds a matchbook inside the dead guy’s pocket for the Skylight Club. Next, he moves on to analyzing one of the cop’s bodies; he extracts an incendiary round from the guy’s skull, which could be related to the explosion.

Part of the gameplay for this involves drawing “links” between different objects, by the way. It’s a cool way to show how Batman solves a mystery. Draw the right links between one object and another, and you get to watch Batman spell out his conclusion. (He does this out loud, over the phone, to Alfred–who is a rapt listener.) The next conclusion he draws: this cop was the guy who clawed that mercenary’s face, since the cop has a bunch of blood and skin on his hands. Gross!

Batman then explains to Alfred why that might happen: the nerve agent that got released from the canister made everybody in the room act aggressive. How did it happen? The incendiary bullet inside the cop’s skull explains what might’ve blown up the canister. Apparently, Falcone and his buddies had stolen the nerve agent, and the cops must have busted them in the process. A sniper on Falcone’s side fired an incendiary round into a canister of the chemicals, thereby causing all the cops to get affected by it. Once a cop started ripping up a mercenary’s face, the sniper took out that cop as well. Then, Falcone and his men escaped.

Based on the trajectory of the two bullets, Batman can figure out where the shooter would’ve perched during the showdown. He scans the room for phosphorus residue. Eventually, he finds it, and also sees the residue pointing towards some handprints and a railing. Wait, is the sniper still alive and still in this room? Seems like it might be a possibility …

Batman turns on a voice-altering switch in his helmet (that’s one way to disguise yourself, Bruce!) and says, “Time to go to work.” Out loud, because he’s kind of a cornball sometimes. We’ll have to wait and see what he means by that next week!

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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).