The Batman Episode Review: Clayface of Tragedy

This episode directly continues from the last one and goes in a very interesting direction. I thought the different origin for Clayface was clever and I always admire when a TV episode takes risks as this one does – in this case, making a major supporting character into a villain. But I keep mentally going back and forth on whether this was actually the best decision.

For one thing, I find Ethan’s turn to villainy (even if he isn’t exactly “evil”) to be a bit of a stretch. Yes, obviously he was going through a hard time and had a lot of things taking a toll on his mental health, but he still turned to violence, revenge, and generally acting crazy pretty darn fast. And a lot of the justification hinges on the Joker having driven him crazy, but in practice, it seems like the Joker’s efforts in the last episode mostly consisted of spinning a swirly thing in front of Ethan’s face. It kind of feels like the fact that he looks like a monster makes him act like a monster, which is something that bothers me a lot whenever I encounter it in media.

In addition, I wonder if this is truly the best usage of Ethan’s character since I liked him the way he is and he was a cool and welcome member of the cast in his previous role, and I’d like to see his existing character being built on rather than being taken in a radically different direction where he can no longer fill the same niche.

All that said, it was an enjoyable and dramatic episode and overall felt worthwhile, and I do always respect daring choices such as this. I just don’t know how I ultimately feel about it. As far as the central conceit of this episode (Ethan becoming Clayface) goes, I’m honestly torn between loving it and disliking it.

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