Baby-Doll (Batman: The Animated Series)

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"Why couldn't you just let me make-believe?!"

Baby-Doll is the 4th episode of the third season of Batman: The Animated Series. It aired in October 1994 and was written by Paul Dini and directed by Dan Riba.

Plot

Mary Louise Dahl (AKA Baby Doll), an actress with severe systemic hypoplasia, an extremely rare condition that kept her from aging (she's around 30-years-old but looks like a 5-year-old), plans to kidnap the stars from her old sitcom to kill the star that stole her spotlight and live a fantasy life where she was happiest. It's up to Batman to stop her.

Why It Rocks

  1. The episode gave us a very tragic villain in the form of Baby Doll. After the cancellation of her show, she tried to become a serious actress only to be shunned and her life became a downward spiral. Realizing she was happiest during her sitcom, she makes her plans to kidnap her co-stars and possibly kill them all, including herself.
  2. Like many Batman villains, Baby Doll uses a theme for weaponry and crimes, in this case weaponized toddler toys.
  3. One of the few times Batman has shown sympathy towards one of his foes, another example being Mr. Freeze. It doesn't stop him from thwarting her plans, though.
  4. In the end, it's not Batman who defeats her. Baby Doll sees a reflection of herself in a hall of mirrors as what she would've looked like without her condition. However, she finally sees everything she attempted as nothing but an illusion and snaps, destroying all the mirrors saving the illusion of herself for last and breaks down mentally and goes with Batman peacefully and tearfully.
  5. Batman doesn't even try to hurt Baby Doll, with the exception of some self-defense, and gently pats her head in the end as she goes quietly.
  6. When Baby Doll utters her now infamous catchphrase, and then tearfully says in her real voice, "I didn't mean to...", you could tell that she meant it.
  7. Like the Joker, Baby Doll is like a foil to Batman, though in a tragic sense. Batman was robbed of his childhood, but Baby Doll could never escape hers.

Bad Qualities

  1. Despite being quite popular with fans, Baby Doll never really made it into Batman comic book lore like Harley Quinn or Mr. Freeze's tragic backstory.

Reception

This is considered one of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series due to Baby Doll's tragic past and showing Batman's compassionate side.

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