The Cat & The Claw is the 15th produced episode of the show….although it was the first episode aired on September 5, 1992, which I think it was made the first episode to cash in on Batman Returns which featured Catwoman and this is the first episode to feature Catwoman in the series. The episode is written by Sean Catherine Derek & Laren Bright and directed by Kevin Alteri.
Batman encounters a new cat burglar calling herself Catwoman, and around the same time, meets a woman named Selina Kyle (as Bruce Wayne), to whom he is visibly attracted. When Selina runs into trouble with a terrorist group known as The Red Claw, who want the mountain lion sanctuary she was trying to protect, she decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate.
One thing you definitely notice about this episode right off the bat is how Kevin Conroy and Adrianne Barbeau have great chemistry together at Batman and Catwoman as in the opening scene of the episode:
By the way, before I go any further, at the 2 minute mark, who the hell just stacks garbage cans up like that in a back alley? Also, boo to this person for cutting out the last line of that clip because it’s such a great line that comes out of Batman after Catwoman says “until next time” and Batman just goes “and there will be a next time.” I just love the way Conroy and Barbeau work off each other and brings this new dynamic to that relationship not just to Batman and Catwoman but Bruce and Selina Kyle.
However, the rest of the episode is just kind of mediocre, The Red Claw could’ve had the potential to be great villains but when you watch them in this episode, there’s nothing about them that stand out and it’s a shame because you have Kate Mulgrew as the voice and she’s great, she brings a lot of energy to the role but the character’s motivation and this terrorist group’s motivation is not really materialized. In fact, in the second part, they have an entirely different plot than they did in this first part.
The biggest problem with The Red Claw themselves is that they were written in a era where kids movies and TV shows were trying too hard to have more environmental stories to them, Captain Planet, Once Upon A Forest, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, just to name a few, and I think that they were not as fleshed out as they could’ve been had it been under a better writer like Paul Dini, Randy Rogel or Alan Burnett.
To me, The Cat & The Claw is definitely one of the worst two parters the show has ever done. There are redeemable qualities to it, like I said, the chemistry between Bruce and Selina is great but everything else is just kind of bland and forgettable…and there’s still a whole ‘nother part to this episode to look at. Can it get any better? Find out at the next one.