Written by Michael Ryan
Directed by Rick Morales
Batman investigates the disappearances and crimes orchestrated by Humpty Dumpty. He races to prevent him from capturing his next victim. Elsewhere, Tatsu misplaces the Soultaker Sword after hiding it from Silver Monkey.
After the exciting, action-packed previous episode, the follow up is a slow-paced adventure focused more on detective work and unveiling a mystery. It works very well, with an interesting take on yet another obscure Arkhamite, Humpty Dumpty.
Humpty, far from the pacifistic patient seen in the comics, is now a mad genius that kidnaps the people that he feels have wronged him and places them in explosive toys. With an unsettling appearance, child-like mannerisms, and a penchant for nursery-themed chaos, Humpty is a memorable villain. Just as Batman fights for justice, Humpty fights for revenge. He is equally dangerous and sympathetic, which makes him an unpredictable threat. His final scene where he makes his getaway, but tricks Batman into believing he would jump from the tower was also chilling. Matt L. Jones provides his voice, and adds a very creepy, yet innocent tone to him.
Tobias Whale also makes his show debut, his name shown in a previous episode and even appearing in the comic book tie-in before. He fills the role of the victimized crime boss quite well. Though his appearance begs the question of whether or not there’s a Black Lightning to oppose him.
Batman shows more of his detective work in this episode by tracking Humpty down with hints and computer work. Lieutenant Gordon is also involved and even though they don’t work together to solve the case, this could be considered their first team-up. Batman consults him for the connection between the victims and Gordon is later saved by Batman when he becomes a target. It’s not much, but it’s the closest they’ll get before they inevitably become partners.
Tatsu takes charge of the subplot as she tries to find the Soultaker Sword that she hid in “Safe”. Alfred, now healed from his injury, shows her where he hid it and the fact that he knows about it. The viewers are treated to some necessary exposition about the origins of the Soultaker and what it can do. It was a wise decision to immediately address the artifact since last episode didn’t provide too many details about it. The namedrop of Ra’s al Ghul also demonstrates that the show isn’t afraid to break its own premise and will acknowledge or even introduce some of Batman’s more famous rogues down the line.
The highlight of the episode is Batman’s approach to Humpty near the end. He knows he is dangerous and needs to be stopped. However, he also tries to reason with him and appeals to his former self by calling him his real name. It’s a small moment, but it shows how human this version of Batman is by first using his “villain nickname”, then correcting himself to appeal to Humphrey. Batman ultimately fails, but just like with Magpie, he displays a merciful side that is interested in reform instead of just prevention of crimes.
“Broken” is another strong tale that progresses the Soultaker Sword plot in the background while serving a classic Batman story as the main course. Between a more empathetic Batman, a creepy but sympathetic villain, a decent mystery, and a pseudo Batman/Gordon partnership, there are plenty of strong pieces that are put together into a great episode.
- Tobias Whale was previously hinted in the news ticker at the end of “Hunted”. Keep an eye on that when news reports show up, as they reveal some key characters before they show up.
- Also keep the “castle” where the final battle takes place in mind. We’ll get back to that.
- I liked the nods to Humpty’s comic book origin. If one can assume those events transpired the same way, then Humpty was unhinged even before the assassination attempts.
- District Attorney Marion Grange? Was this referring to her role in Humpty’s case? Or was she the actual DA during this time?
- Batman’s “corpulent tick” line to Whale felt like it could’ve been performed by Adam West or Diedrich Bader’s Batman and wouldn’t feel out of place at all.
- That being said, the Batcomputer has the best line of the episode. “A wall”.