BTAS RETROSPECTIVE: "Fear of Victory" Author: Peter Verra (Follow @PETEILLUSTRATED)
Date: August 20, 2017
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Production Order: 24
Airdate Order: 19
Original Airdates: September 29, 1992
Written by Samuel Warren Joseph
Directed by Dick Sebast
Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Loren Lester as Robin/Dick Grayson
Henry Polic as The Scarecrow
Mark Hamill as The Joker
As I sat down to watch “Fear of Victory,” I realized that I didn’t really remember much about the episode. To be honest, outside of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and BATMAN BEGINS, I’m not one to be vocal for more of The Scarecrow, but this episode was very impressive. The plot centers on a clever gambling scheme from a villain that, until BEGINS, was almost forgotten. The episode is extremely enjoyable.
Striking my interest immediately was The Scarecrow’s execution of his plan. Scarecrow has devised a plot that I actually think he could pull off, spreading fear toxin via telegram to all-star caliber athletes then placing bets on the opposition. This is one of the more genius “heists” that the show could come up with. Living in a post Black Sox/Pete Rose world and during the Tim Donaghy scandal, I have always found sports betting and rigging sporting events fascinating. Now take that aspect to Gotham City with Batman and Robin and you’re bound for a fun episode.
The jewel robbery is vintage Batman and Robin. Action packed with one of the funnier moments in the series, that brought a smile to not only Batman’s face but mine as well, “oh my.” Nowadays, there’s a lot of talk on the internet craving a more detective-driven Batman film. Well, for those in need I say you turn to B:TAS. “Fear of Victory” did a fine job displaying Batman’s detective and scientific skills to solve this case. While at college, Dick Grayson is exposed to the same fear toxin as his roommate – starting quarterback Brian Rogers. That is the clue our Dark Knight needed to make a connection and come up with an experiment to prove his theory.
Kevin Conroy can be downright intimidating just by using that deep voice of his and it is beautiful. That slow bat-walk out of the shadows completely covered by his cape, the white eyes emerging from the dark, then his voice. This is – without a doubt – definitive Batman. The cameos from the other rogues are perfect as Batman walks to Scarecrow’s cell, showing that some fear him and some will stand toe to toe. The Joker laughing as Batman finds out the Scarecrow has officially escaped is just tremendous.
Robin/Dick Grayson also makes the most of his screen time in this episode. In fact, he is weaved throughout the story quite well, from the opening scene at college to two of the finer character moments he earns in the episode. While he is recuperating from a mishap in the field practicing his balance, Dick states, “I learned to walk on a high wire. Now I can’t stand on step stool with out freaking. I’m no good to you anymore.” I felt for Dick Grayson here, but I loved Batman’s reaction more. That stern Conroy voice again, it can be calming just as much as it can be intimidating. Moments like this are why I love the dynamic duo. Then it is Robin who overcomes his own fear and comes up with the late save to put an end to Scarecrow’s gambling spree.
I highly recommend everyone go back and rewatch this episode; it’s one of the finer Scarecrow stories you can experience. There is just so much good Batman fun here that I have added “Fear of Victory” to my favorites list. For those of you who always wanted more Robin throughout the series, this is a fine display of the Boy Wonder. - Peter Verra