Written by Michael Stern
Directed by Curt Geda
Tatsu's dinner with Jason Burr goes awry when the League of Assassins sends Cypher, a mind-controlling cyborg, after the scientist. She must learn to balance her emotions and intellect as she and Batman chase Cypher.
This episode continues Batman's vigilante training of Katana. This time, he teaches her to put trust her mind before her heart. As shown in the last episode, Katana was impulsive and was too caught up in the thrill of the fight instead of taking out the Ghosts quickly. Unlike his condescending behavior towards her last time, this lesson is more understandable and the conclusion to this plot is actually satisfying.
Cypher is probably the most revamped obscure villain in the series. While in the comics he was a nondescript man who could hypnotize people with only his voice, this new version is a mute cyborg that controls people via glowing green wires that connect to their brains, and even manages to talk through his victims. Beyond his thirst to control people, Cypher doesn't have a lot of characterization and mostly shines via an impressive design and the eeriness of his mind control.
Jason returns and so does his attraction to Tatsu. The episode hints that Tatsu has some feelings for Jason, but their chemistry doesn't feel believable. Her negative responses to his advances in "Safe" felt too strong and Jason comes off as too awkward and pushy for her to become attracted to him. If the intent was to make it their relationship mutual, then their interactions in this episode and Jason's previous one could've been refined. That being said, his display with the Ion Cortex was impressive, even if the people occupying those offices won't appreciate it.
The conclusion to Batman and Tatsu's chase with Cypher was a mixed one. Tatsu, using both her feelings and her head, overwhelms the mind-controller by kissing Jason, shocking the villain enough for Batman to finish him off. Her idea was smart and the fact that a combination of both aspects worked was appreciated, rather than a predictable "Batman was right" solution. But the kiss actually shocking and harming Cypher felt a bit too much. Perhaps it could've just caught him off-guard enough for Batman to land the finishing blow. Either way, the ending reveals that Batman, Tatsu, and especially Jason, haven't seen the last of Cypher.
This episode also picked up on Gordon's new partnership with Batman. It was a wise decision to show the aftermath of "Allies" as soon as possible. Alfred's quip about the Bat-Signal being inefficient was fun as well.
The character animation for this episode excelled. Cypher's control of his victims resembles that of a puppetmaster. The jerky, stiff moves that Tatsu and Jason make under Cypher's control, alongside their green eyes and robotic voices, provide some nightmarish imagery. Even if Cypher's glowing wires defy physics by not breaking his victims' necks, they make his gimmick a memorable one.
"Control" continues Tatsu's crime fighting training as she and Batman try to stop another attempt to kidnap Jason Burr. Despite Cypher seemingly controlling Jason in the end and the lesson Tatsu learns, not much happens beyond a long chase scene. Cypher leaves a lasting impression as he controls several of the characters, but for the most part, this episode is light in content. While still having plenty of strengths, it is one of the weaker episodes to come out this far.
- OK, I was willing to overlook Tatsu's high-heels, maybe Magpie's, and Lady Shiva's were a little unbelievable. But why was Tatsu practicing in heels with Bruce? Especially since Bruce wears more comfortable clothing with bare feet.
- William Benjamin, Cypher's first victim, actually resembles comic book Cypher a lot with an additional set of hair.
- I dunno, Dombrowski didn't look that bad. I'm sure he could afford to eat a few extra donuts.
- I hope Jason got those beakers and tubes used for the dinner straight from the box. The Bunsen burners are a nice touch, though.