(Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers for “Batman: The Enemy Within.”)
Much of the momentum that “Batman: The Enemy Within” built with the cliffhanger conclusion to its premiere episode was surprisingly squandered in Episode 2, “The Pact.”
When we last left the Dark Knight at the end of Episode 1, Amanda Waller was threatening to expose Bruce Wayne as the man under the mask. And while “The Pact” picks up immediately after that bombshell, little happens during the course of episode to drive the overall plot — and that conflict, in particular — forward.
Wayne’s decision to infiltrate John Doe’s gang, as ordered by Waller, feels less like a move of self-preservation and more like something Batman would do anyway, simply out of his desire to protect Gotham City. As a result, the looming threat of having Batman’s secret identity revealed did little to influence my decisions during the episode.
Even the introduction of three more iconic Batman villains — Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze and Bane — left me wanting more. Telltale’s “Batman” series has excelled at presenting familiar characters in new and exciting ways, but the Bane and Freeze we see during this episode are largely one-dimensional and stick closely to their comic book iterations.
“The Pact” does offer a new take on Harley Quinn, though I’m not sure it’s a change for the better. Telltale’s Quinn is the polar-opposite of how the character has largely been presented in other forms of media — no longer the victim, Quinn is now the one pulling the strings and using her charms to manipulate John Doe, aka He Who Would Be The Joker. An empowered Harley Quinn is an interesting character to explore, to be sure, but here she just comes off as grating.
The conclusion of the episode hints at bigger things to come on multiple fronts, so I’m hoping the series can bounce back with Episode 3.
“Batman: The Enemy Within” Episode 2
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: T for teen