Batman 2.34 – The Catwoman Goeth

To be sure, this story is disjointed and a little odd, but we all ended up really enjoying it. I think some elements of the compromised production are still fumbles, most notably the bizarre maze in which Robin and a policewoman are trapped, and which was achieved on a budget of… well, practically nothing, and it shows. But turning J. Pauline Spaghetti from the male character that writer Ellis St. Joseph devised into an elderly widow brings things to a deliciously fun climax that couldn’t have been present in the original draft.

But before we get there, we have a second appearance from James Brolin, this time playing a rookie cop who doesn’t know who Batman is, and doesn’t really care. He’s found the Batmobile, stolen by Sandman and parked illegally, and wants to write our hero several citations. Frankly, for letting his car get pilfered for something like the eighth time in this show, he deserves a ticket or two.

It’s established early on that Catwoman and Sandman clearly intend to betray each other, but surprisingly it’s Sandman who gets the drop on Catwoman. It’s a great betrayal, too. He and his bride-to-be stop by one of her banks to cash a whopper of a cashier’s check, and he leaves Catwoman’s address with the bank’s president, asking him to phone Commissioner Gordon.

The funniest moment of the episode comes when Batman confronts Catwoman, and asks where Robin is. “…who?” she replies.

But there’s just a lovely, lovely twist yet to come, when Sandman and J. Pauline arrive at her island getaway. It’s very, very subtle, but there’s this lovely bit where J. Pauline shows her future husband these four plaques set into the wall of her noodle factory. Each of her previous four husbands has taken her last name… and each of them has met a grisly end in this factory. And look, there’s a fifth, blank plaque.

They never draw attention to it, but Michael Rennie’s eyes tell the story. In a few months, Tallulah Bankhead would appear on the show as the criminal Black Widow. She came late to the party. It’s only the silly convention that demands there be a Batfight, and that, down two henchmen, Sandman has to shed his coat and join this fray. If the man had a lick of sense, he’d have surrendered and gone away without fuss, before J. Pauline entombed him with the other four fellows!

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