Review: Batman: The Enemy Within — Episode 5: Same Stitch

Over Batman’s storied history across various mediums, his arcs with the Joker have always proven to be the ones most worth paying attention to. From the classic interpretations of the maniacal villain to those that have attempted to switch up the formula, the Dark Knight’s encounters with the purple-suited villain ultimately end up making or breaking a given story, while also providing a defining moment by testing just how far Bruce Wayne will go to save his city and those within it. Across the past six episodes, Telltale has provided their own take on the arch nemesis, as the player’s brief introduction in Arkham Asylum to a man known as John Doe last season and misadventures with him and his compatriots in The Pact this past season has reached their boiling point. Leading up to the launch of the final episode of The Enemy Within, Telltale has detailed their ambitious plans for closing out the second season, with what the studio is called their “branchiest episode ever.” With two truly separate versions of the Joker on display and on onslaught of tough choices and intense fights, Same Stitch represents the pinnacle of not only Telltale’s work with Batman, but of the studio as a whole in recent years.

While the remainder of the review will not address any spoilers from “Same Stitch”, important plot points from the previous episodes of the season will be discussed below. For more on the season so far, check out the reviews for “The Enigma,” “The Pact,” “Fractured Mask” and “What Ails You.”

Throughout The Enemy Within, the player has been forced to make small but important choices that drastically change the nature of Batman’s relationship with a variety of characters, and, just as in past season finales, this closing episode represents the culmination of those decisions coming together. With the Joker missing and the Agency still fervently searching for the deadly virus, Batman must find a way to satiate both sides by any means necessary. As a result of the numerous ongoing storylines that were present throughout the past four episodes, it was inevitable that some of them would not receive the full sense of closure that they have rightfully earned due to the standard two hour length of a Telltale episode. However, despite one group falling victim to this oversight, the vast majority of the cast all have satisfying and often engrossing scenes that leave their character arcs with well-constructed conclusions, be they neatly wrapped-up or shockingly open-ended.

Thanks to the solid technical nature of this episode, as well as the consistently strong team of voice actors, the only real flaw of Same Stitch comes from the poorly-paced middle sections. When a chapter is bookended by such strong sequences, it’s hard to avoid making the period in-between feel like a letdown, but it’s not enough to ruin what ends up being the strongest episode of the season, with the engaging QTE-laden combat encounters keeping the energy high and the player on edge.

As discussed earlier, it’s ultimately Joker’s constant presences that sets the tone for the whole episode, as Anthony Ingruber’s performance as either a vigilante or villain reaches its peak as the eager-to-please John Doe clings on to every word and action that Batman performs. It’s become less and less frequent that a player’s choices are so well-reflected on another NPC’s actions with such care and attention to detail, and as a result, Telltale’s Joker has become one of the standout interpretations for this illustrious comic character.

Closing Comments:

Despite a slightly forgettable middle and a few characters being given a rushed ending, Same Stitch is a fantastic finale for Batman: The Enemy Within, as Bruce Wayne and John Doe’s uneasy alliance comes to an explosive and constantly surprising conclusion. Nearly every character from throughout the season gets a chance to shine in this action-packed finale, presenting several huge decisions that alter the future to come for Gotham in any potential upcoming seasons, but it’s the complicated and messy friendship between two people just trying to do the right thing that pushes Same Stitch above and beyond.

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Batman: The Enemy Within -- Episode 5: Same Stitch