BTAS RETROSPECTIVE: "Pretty Poison" Author: Bill Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
Date: June 13, 2017
CLICK HERE for BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on BOF!
Production Order: 22
Airdate Order: 5
Original Airdates: September 15, 1992
Story by Paul Dini & Michael Reaves
Teleplay by Tom Ruegger
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
John Costanzo as Det. Bullock
Diane Pershing as Poison Ivy
“Pretty Poison” introduces Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy to the world of the BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. And while it does indeed focus on Poison Ivy and her vendetta on humankind that “murder” her beloved plants, it also establishes a character not only important in BTAS, but the Batman mythos as well: Harvey Dent.
Here, Dent is still Gotham’s district attorney and is portrayed as Bruce Wayne’s best friend. Ivy has finagled her way into Dent’s life and Harvey has become his new fiancé. Harvey sets up a dinner date with Bruce Wayne to introduce his love to his best friend. However, during dinner, Harvey becomes ill and passes out face-first into his plate of food. He is rushed to the hospital and soon falls into a coma. The hospital determines the cause of Harvey’s ailment is not because of his dinner, but due to a poison found only in a flower long thought extinct.
Thus, Batman begins (see what I did there?) to investigate Dent’s poisoning which leads him straight to, you guessed it, Dent’s girlfriend Dr. Isley -- now in full-on "Poison Ivy" mode.
“Pretty Poison” features my favorite incarnation of Dr. Pamela Isely – AKA “Poison Ivy.” Why? Well, it’s the most realistic the character has ever been portrayed. At this point in BTAS, she has no superpowers. She’s not poisonous – she uses an extract from a poisonous plant in her lipstick to strike down her victims. Also, she cannot command the Earth’s flora either – though she does keep a giant, man-eating plant as a kinda-sorta pet. If the character is ever used in a live-action film again (which might come in the already-announced GOTHAM CITY SIRENS), I’d prefer Ivy depicted in this manner. ANYWAY…
“Pretty Poison” is a darn good BTAS episode. It establishes Poison Ivy as a BTAS villain, as well as set up Harvey Dent as a good guy – though we all know where that is tragically heading. I don’t know if it’s the best part of the episode, but it’s certainly coolest in regards to Batman, but Harvey complaining to Pamela about Bruce’s tardiness to dinner – intercut with Batman doing Batman things – is pretty awesome.
Yeah, it’s cliché, but cool and very Batman-ish nonetheless. - Bill "Jett" Ramey