1. Big Bad Harv
This, for me, is the single best interpretation of Harvey Dent. The level of emotional and realistic story-telling this episode reaches with Harvey’s story is what sets the bar for this show going forward. The exploration of his actual mental disease and how that affects the people around him would feel ground-breaking in a cartoon today. Richard Moll delivers such a nuanced performance alternating between Harvey Dent and Two-Face. He’s genuinely frightening at times, and often as an audience member you find yourself both scared for those around him and sorry for him. The whole episode is also levied by the fact that we already know and care for Harvey Dent. If you’ve watched the show up unto this point you’ve seen him as a courageous man fighting for justice in “On Leather Wings” and you’ve felt compassion and pity for him due to his circumstances in “Pretty Poison.” For everything Mark Hamill’s Joker does, the characterization and story of Harvey Dent is the single best of any villain on this show so far.
2. Bruce Wayne
The depiction of Harvey Dent isn’t the only thing done exceptionally well in this episode. The relationship between Wayne and Dent is groundbreaking for a different reason. Seeing a friend care about and try to help a friend is something that can be seen virtually everywhere, however, the choice to portray Batman as a character possessing the genuine humanity to be distraught and sad for his friend shows such a strong understanding of the character. In modern times it feels like the only versions of Batman we can get caring about people is the angry or brooding type, which has cut off his ability to feel human. If all you can ever be made to feel is anger, then it’s as if you can’t be hurt. We see a Bruce Wayne in this episode who can be hurt, and yet he continues to try to save his friend.
3. Two parts for Two-Face
This is the show’s first two part episode. It uses all the time it takes well and if any character deserved the time it is Harvey Dent. The argument could even be made that it’s more than two parts as this story has been seeded and set up since the show’s very first episode.
4. The Nitpick
If I could make a slight nitpick that doesn’t really affect the quality of the episode, but that bugs me. The love interest for Harvey Dent in this episode is shallow, which isn’t as big a deal except for the fact that in the comics there are wonderfully fleshed out characters to pair Harvey with. Duela Dent is the perfect example. Her dynamic with Harvey would’ve only made the character more sympathetic.
5. Children’s Cartoons
This is a children’s show. The team behind this show’s ability to depict characters dealing with things such as mental illness and the pressure’s of political power are amazing. The fact that there are films that can explicitly tell you what is going on with a mental illness and still not carry the gravity of single scenes in this cartoon is quite telling about the show’s quality. Albert Einstein once said that, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”