Batman: The Animated Series: A Definitive Viewing Order Season Three *REVISED AND EXPANDED*

Batman: The Animated Series: A Definitive Viewing Order Season Three *REVISED AND EXPANDED*

The Batman Saga escalates into Season Three of The Revised and Expanded Edition! The Fourth and Final Season of A Definitive Viewing Order 'culminating' soon!

If you missed it, here is Season One, 'Grounding'; also containing the Forward to the Revised and Expanded Edition!
Here is Season Two, 'Transition', about the fall of the old and rise of the new in Gotham!

Episode Key:
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
 ^ Definitive Viewing Order (DVO) Total Episode Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
     ^ DVO Episode Type (P—Premier, —Standard, B—Block, F—Finale)
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
        ^ DVO Season Number (1, 2, 3, or 4)
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
             ^ DVO Season Episode Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                  ^ Official Production Season Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                         ^ Official Production Episode Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                                ^ DVD Release Volume Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                                     ^ DVD Release Disk Number
00 - 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                                            ^ Blu-ray Release Season Number
00 S 0 00 P0 000 V0 D0/S0 D0
                                                  ^ Blu-ray Release Disk Number
Example(s):
01-P101-P1031—V2D1/S1D3 The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
            The first episode of the watch order, being the Season Premier/first episode of season one; from production season one, episode thirty-one; can be found on Batman: The Animated Series DVD Volume 2, Disk 1; or on Season One, Disk Three of the Blu-ray set.
28-B212-P1018—V1D3/S1D2 Beware the Gray Ghost
            The twenty-eighth episode of the watch order, being the twelfth episode and part of the the mid-season block of season two; from production season one, episode eighteen; can be found on Batman: The Animated Series DVD Volume 1, Disk 3; or on Season One, Disk Two of the Blu-ray set.
63-F326-P1060—V3D1/S1D5 The Demon's Quest
            The sixty-third episode of the watch order, being the twenty-sixth episode and the Finale of season three; from production season one, episode sixty; can be found on Batman: The Animated Series DVD Volume 3, Disk 1; or on Season One, Disk Five of the Blu-ray set.
87--F423-MOVIE: Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero
            The eighty-seventh episode of the watch order, being the twenty-third episode and Finale of season four; BTAS movie separate from DVD release (but not from Batman: The Animated Series Blu-ray release).

 

SEASON THREE DESCRIPTION:

Gotham City is at the mercy of Batman's Rogues as themed crimes become prominent due to the revolving door at Arkham Asylum, while numerous technological breakthroughs occur in computers, weaponry, optics, and robotics. As Batman struggles to keep the super-criminal population in check amidst the takedown of Rupert Thorne's drug ring, the feared terrorist organization the Society of Shadows comes to Gotham and results in Batman and Robin becoming embroiled in a global threat.

SEASON THREE EPISODE LIST:


39-P301-P1002—V1D1/S1D1 Christmas with the Joker

40---302-P1038—V2D2/S1D3 Heart of Steel

41---303-P1039—V2D2/S1D3 Heart of Steel Part 2

42---304-P1063—V3D1/S1D5 Fire From Olympus

43---305-P1054—V2D4/S1D5 Zatanna

44---306-P1048—V2D3/S1D4 “What is Reality?”

45---307-P2066—V3D2/S2D1 Sideshow

46---308-P1051—V2D4/S1D4 The Man Who Killed Batman

47---309-P1017—V1D3/S1D2 See No Evil

48---310-P1064—V3D2/S1D5 Read My Lips

49-B311-P1030—V2D1/S1D3 Perchance to Dream

50-B312-P2046—V2D3/S1D4 Almost Got ‘Im

51-B313-P1028—V1D4/S1D3 Dreams in Darkness

52-B314-P1021—V1D3/S1D2 Feat of Clay

53-B315-P1022—V1D3/S1D2 Feat of Clay Part 2

54---316-P1062—V3D1/S1D5 His Silicon Soul

55---317-P1025—V1D4/S1D2 The Clock King

56---318-P1056—V2D4/S1D5 Harley and Ivy

57---319-P1049—V2D3/S1D4 I Am the Night

58---320-P2071—V3D3/S2D1 The Terrible Trio

59---321-P1041—V2D2/S1D4 Joker’s Wild

60---322-P1050—V2D4/S1D4 Off Balance

61---323-P1047—V2D3/S1D4 Birds of a Feather

62-F324-P1060—V3D1/S1D5 The Demon's Quest

63-F325-P1061—V3D1/S1D5 The Demon’s Quest Part 2

END SEASON NOTES—Season Three Theme: ‘Escalation’
After getting most of the stinkers out of the way between Seasons 1 and 2, we have some of the best episodes in the series here in Season 3. The season finale shows Batman literally saving the world.


BTAS: A DEFINITIVE VIEWING ORDER SEASON ANALYSIS AND EPISODE PLACEMENT BREAKDOWN


Additional Notes:
1. All references to ‘firsts’ and ‘seconds’ are of course, in reference to this watch order
2. Included recurring character introductions of all characters that make speaking appearances in more than one episode
3. ‘FLASHFORWARD EPISODE’ markers, designating a possibly significant passage of time from a prior episode due to indications in-episode, production format changes, or arbitrary designation by organizer



**THE INFORMATION BELOW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**

THEME OF SEASON THREE: ESCALATION
(Definition: a rapid increase; a rise; an increase in the intensity or seriousness of something)
--The Number Three: associated around the world as associated with blessing, good fortune or power:
‘Third time’s the charm’ (some of BTAS’ best episodes are in this season)—mathematically, 3 is the first prime number and is indivisible and stable—first stable number geometrically (triangle); 3 2-part episodes; the love triangle between Talia Al Ghul, her father and Batman
--25 episodes: the number representing introspection—Batman becomes more thoughtful towards the end of this season
--Joker’s dramatic increase in appearances from Season Two
--marked increase in new themed criminals
--massive increase in crimes by the Rogues
--drastic increase in Batman’s efforts to control the situation
--the scale of threats: has gone from city-wide threats to global threats
--for the first time, a criminal deduces Batman’s secret identity

Season Three Note:
     Two villains are introduced in Season One (Harley Quinn and Scarecrow [Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman don’t count]), followed by four in Season Two (Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Riddler and Killer Croc) and another five in Season Three (Clayface, Mad Hatter, The Clock King, The Ventriloquist/Scarface, and Ra’s Al Ghul). *All* of them make appearances in Season Three. Batman is very busy this season and Robin rarely appears, though occasionally offering moral support when Batman finally breaks down under the pressure.  The Joker gets name-dropped or makes appearances this season 10 times, more than the previous two seasons combined.

Episode-Specific Notes:


39. ‘Christmas With The Joker’ is a great season premier with Joker breaking out of prison to hold Gotham City hostage, and all just to give Batman his Christmas present.  This episode grants us a window into Joker’s evolving love/hate relationship with Batman and what he’ll say outright just a few episodes later: that his life without Batman just wouldn’t be as fun. We also get to see several scenes of Bruce and Dick enjoying each other’s company following the events of the Season Two Finale. The Joker’s first of many re-appearances this season. Two-Face makes a cameo as a member of the Joker’s cardboard cutout audience.

 
40-41. Having the ‘Heart of Steel’ 2-parter at the beginning of Season Three really epitomizes the sci-fi direction of this season.  We see Mayor Hamilton Hill for the first time since ‘Fear of Victory’, but this episode is particularly significant for introducing two new recurring characters, both of which have links to Season Four and the eventual character of Mr. Freeze. Karl Rossum, the advanced roboticist, is one. The other is to be the 3rd of Gotham City’s masked heroes, Barbara Gordon. The completion of her arc from feisty commissioner’s daughter to full-fledged crimefighter starts here and will culminate in the Season Four episode ‘Shadow of the Bat’.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Barbara Gordon, Karl Rossum



42. ‘Fire From Olympus’ follows up the previous episode focusing on hard science-fiction with an episode about a mythologically-inspired nutcase empowered by advanced technology. We also check in again with the Arkham Asylum inmates. There’s also a line about part of Maxie Zeus’ crackup being due to the stress of running shipments for The Mob (AKA, Rupert Thorne). Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and the Mad Hatter all escape from Arkham not long after this episode: the first two going on to start new gangs of their own, and the Mad Hatter to lay low and plan a special surprise for the man responsible for ‘ruining’ his life.


43. We haven’t had an episode touching on Bruce Wayne’s pre-Batman days since ‘Day of The Samurai’ in Season Two. Perhaps with his own borderline-toxic relationship with Selina Kyle/Catwoman in mind, Bruce is feeling a touch sentimental in this episode. It’s too bad for Bruce that their relationship is platonic, as ‘Zatanna’ and Batman make a good team. This episode marks the halfway point of the viewing order, appropriately with Batman being reminded of his past but also working in a team-up, which after a brief return to solo episodes (in which he finally breaks down in ‘I Am The Night’) is something he’ll be increasingly doing up to the very end of the series.


44. Robin and The Riddler return in ‘“What is Reality?”’. Another episode that playfully explores the mythological through the lens of advanced technology—again, the old giving way to the new. Following the end of this episode, Edward Nygma is shipped to Arkham Asylum for treatment of his catatonia. We won’t see him again until Season Four. Dick Grayson heads back to college for a good while after this episode, not truly reappearing until ‘I Am The Night’. He’s not far from Batman’s thoughts, though, as the mid-season break episodes give Robin name-drops or cameos as Batman fights his inner paranoia about his closest allies.

 


45. **FLASHFORWARD EPISODE**
Killer Croc tries to kill Batman with a rock in ‘Sideshow’. Although this is a Production Season 2 episode, I think it’s really funny to have this episode here, ahead of ‘Almost Got ‘Im’. Not only does it bring back the more cunning Killer Croc we remember from ‘Vendetta’, but when he pops up again just a few episodes later, we know something’s off right from the start—all based on how recently he was re-captured and his shrewd/resourceful behavior throughout this episode. A few comments by the reporters at the beginning of the episode suggest Croc was in an extended period of observation/evaluation. Following this episode, the Gotham police learn their lesson after witnessing how easily Croc escapes his bonds and apparently put him in a maximum-security installation. Aside from his appearance in ‘Almost Got ‘Im’, this is the last time we see Croc until the mid-season break at Season Four—oddly enough, again at Arkham Asylum. More on that later…


46. After seeing how easily Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum in the Season Three Premier, it’s not hard to see him being free again so soon. Given the doctors’ record of underestimating patients under their care, it was really only a matter of time. ‘The Man Who Killed Batman’ is also the first time since ‘Paging the Crime Doctor’ that we’ve seen Rupert Thorne and that he is still in charge; however, at the end of the episode Batman apprehends him and his gang. It apparently takes him a while to beat the charges, but he regains power yet again towards the end of Season Three and ahead of the Season Four episode, ‘Shadow of the Bat’. The Joker is still at large by the end of this episode, and will not be recaptured until the mid-season break. 


47. Following that, we get a surprisingly grounded and personal episode that is highlighted by the sci-fi elements we’ve been increasingly seeing up to this point in the show. ‘See No Evil’ is another episode that shows Batman’s drive to protect children and families. Bruce will relate to Robin the events of this episode while he is recuperating at Wayne Manor following his injury in ‘The Terrible Trio’, leading to this episode getting a reference in the Season Four episode, ‘Time Out of Joint’.


48. ‘Read My Lips’ and ‘Zatanna’ have an odd connection, the link being Zatanna’s father Zatarra, and ventriloquism. ‘Read My Lips’ is also, of course, the first appearance of The Ventriloquist, who after his apprehension and diagnosis of his multiple personality syndrome disorder, is moved to Arkham Asylum for treatment.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Arnold Wesker/The Ventriloquist/Scarface, Mugsy, Rhino


49. Having ‘Perchance to Dream’ and ‘Almost Got ‘Im’ together is just a perfect pairing (thank you, Jordacar!). These two episodes together build perfectly to the climax to the season and the series, as well, which plateaus right into Season Four. Leslie Thompkins makes a cameo prior to her reappearance in ‘I Am The Night’. Most of Batman’s supporting cast get cameos or name-dropped this episode.


50. Following ‘Perchance’, an episode all about how Batman sees himself, we have ‘Almost Got ‘Im’, an episode all about how Batman’s enemies see him. Penguin has either escaped or been released from prison, and we see this is not the first time the villains have hung out together. ‘Almost’ is the first episode to explicitly confirm that there are more adventures and escapades going on off-screen than what we see in the series itself. Although Robin won’t reappear until ‘I Am The Night’, he gets name-dropped in ‘Almost’ and makes a cameo in the very next episode.


51. ‘Dreams in Darkness’ is another look at Batman’s psyche, with Arkham Asylum as the metaphor.  The Joker, Two-Face and Poison Ivy are all confirmed as locked up at the time of the episode, and we are introduced to Dr. Bartholomew, the psychiatrist in charge of the patients in Arkham Asylum. He is every bit the sad-sack one would expect and clearly has no idea what he’s dealing with, giving some legitimacy to Lyle Bolton’s claims in the Season Four episode, ‘Lock-Up’. All of the aforementioned villains will make escapes within the next 10 episodes (Joker more than once). This is also the last episode with a focus on the Scarecrow, and certainly his best. In the bargain, we have cameos from virtually the entire villainous BTAS cast. After spending the entire episode nearly dying of his own paranoia, Bruce comes out of the experience better for it. In the end, he willingly—trustfully—puts his life into Alfred’s faithful care.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Dr. Bartholomew


 
52-53. **FLASHFORWARD EPISODE(S)**
In ‘Feat of Clay’ Parts 1 and 2, we see what Roland Daggett has been up to for over a season, with his planned corporate takeover of Wayne Enterprises. This episode really solidifies the direction the series has taken: the shift from petty criminals, to monsters, to super-villains (and Clayface is all Three, get it? :). Batman’s long-suffering battles for Gotham are beginning to change his outlook, with him having pity for Matt Hagan and offering help to cure his condition. This is Roland Daggett’s last appearance for a good while. Later, towards the end of Season Four, we get to see that the bad press and/or litigation he received between the events of ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ in Season Two and as a result of this two-parter episode really hit him hard (the feds having documented proof of Renuyu’s side effects). After its wreck in the previous episode, the Batmobile makes a brief cameo in Part Two during its repair.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Matt Hagen/Clayface


54.
The main monitor/hub for the Batcomputer is blown up at the end of ‘His Silicon Soul’, so we don’t see it again for a few episodes during its replacement. We also see what Karl Rossum has been doing since HARDAC was destroyed (a life choice to which he makes adjustments after the events of this episode). At some point between this episode and the next, Joker and Harley Quinn once again manage to escape from Arkham Asylum.


55. **FLASHFORWARD EPISODE**
In ‘The Clock King’, we check in with Mayor Hamilton Hill for the first time since the two-parter ‘Heart of Steel’. This is another episode, much like ‘Joker’s Favor’ or ‘IYSSWAYR?’, that allows for implied passage of time between the previous episode and this one. Here we are with Temple Fugate taking potshots at Hamilton Hill during election season. Fugate survives the episode, but we won’t see him again until Season Four.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Temple Fugate/The Clock King


56. In ‘Harley and Ivy’ we have the fourth appearance of Poison Ivy (not counting cameos or name-drops) and another look at her hyper-feminist ideals and treatment of Harley Quinn. Poison Ivy has also managed to escape from Arkham and is hiding out at a toxic waste dump outside of Gotham City. (!?!) We also finally get to see the sad extent to which Harley Quinn’s life is wrapped up in Joker’s and how she reacts upon meeting such a ‘woke’ woman. Joker himself is apprehended once again and he and Ivy’s contempt for each other will resurface to humorous effect in ‘Joker’s Wild’. Joker apparently means it when he says “No women!”, at the end of the episode, as this is the last time we see Joker deliberately having worked with Harley Quinn. In all other appearances, Harley is either trying to get back together with him, or trying to pull away from his influence. Although Joker likes the attention, he doesn’t care about her either way.


57. In ‘I Am The Night’, after a good 13-14 years as Gotham’s boogeyman, a convergence of tragic events brings Batman to the brink of despair. After nearly an entire season of pushing himself to his limits, he wearily sees that Penguin’s trial and conviction from the events of ‘Almost Got ‘Im’ is overturned, his solemn ceremony remembering his parents is desecrated, and his superimposed father figure is badly hurt (the circumstances of which cause him to blame himself). This is also the second appearance of Barbara Gordon ahead of ‘Shadow of the Bat’ and the return of Dick Grayson/Robin, who comes through for Bruce and gives him the help he needs to pull through. The episode finishes with Bruce getting a clear glimpse of the good that Batman is doing, and knowing that without Robin’s encouragement he wouldn’t have seen it. Dick Grayson/Robin really carries himself with maturity in this episode, with Batman clearly noticing. After this episode, Batman begins to treat him more regularly as an equal and a resource, and no longer blames himself for Robin’s mistakes.  In addition, we see for the first time that Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon know each other, with both going to the same college together. Finally—given Jim Gordon’s injury this episode—there are two episodes following this one where he doesn’t appear.


58. In ‘Terrible Trio’ we see Batman and Robin adventuring again following Dick’s reappearance in ‘I Am The Night’, but Robin immediately gets a broken arm. The broken arm puts Dick out of action until the Season Three Finale, where we see him sneaking back to his dorm room after his arm heals. Due to the circumstances of his injury, Dick Grayson recuperates at Wayne Manor to avoid answering questions at the hospital about the ‘where’s’ and ‘why’s’ of his injury. It is during this time that Batman relates the craziness of the previous season and his adventures during Robin’s absence, including the events of the episodes ‘See No Evil’, and ‘The Clock King’, which explains how Robin knows about them when Temple Fugate resurfaces in the Season Four episode, ‘Time Out Of Joint’. Joker gets a name-drop ahead of the next episode, and the end of this one implies another unknown passage of time between Warren Lawford’s apprehension and his conviction.


59. **FLASHFORWARD EPISODE**
‘Joker’s Wild’: Joker tries to kill Donald Trump for ripping off his likeness without permission. We get to see the Arkham inmates interacting together again after their arrest in ‘Almost Got ‘Im’, including the Scarecrow and Mad Hatter. Sometime after this episode, Poison Ivy seduces/poisons her psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Carlyle and settles into a faux-marriage with a clone of him as cover for her unethical human/botanical experiments.


60. Batman meets his match with femme fatale Talia Al Ghul with the first appearance in Gotham City of the Society of Shadows. When we see Jim Gordon again here in ‘Off Balance’, he’s at the firing range at the Gotham P.D. but not on the field, as if he’s recovering—almost as if to say ‘Yeah, still got it.’ Following the end of this episode, Ra’s Al Ghul begins his investigation of Batman’s secret identity.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Talia Al Ghul, Ra’s Al Ghul (cameo)



61. **FLASHFORWARD EPISODE**
‘Birds of a Feather’ has a place of distinction: it takes place over an unknown length of time; it is the first and only episode to actually be *about* The Penguin; and it is the first appearance of Gotham City socialite Veronica Vreeland, who will periodically reappear going forward. This episode helps transition into Season Four: Penguin, being the first super-villain to be introduced in this viewing order, is also among the first of the villains to attempt reform.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Veronica Vreeland


 
62-63. Following the threads from ‘Off Balance’ and ‘The Terrible Trio’, we have the Season Three Finale: ‘The Demon’s Quest’ parts One and Two. Batman literally saves the world.
*RECURRING CHARACTER INTROS: Ra’s Al Ghul, Ubu

END SEASON THREE
Proceed to the 'Culmination' of the series in Season Four!

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