Written by Len Wein
Directed by Curt Geda
Batman becomes the target of Magpie's growing obsession, endangering Katana's life in the process. Meanwhile, Alfred discovers a shocking secret about Bruce.
The final episode before reaching the midseason initially seems like yet another "Batman teaches Katana a lesson" venture when they capture Lunkhead. However, once Magpie enters the the picture, it becomes something far more interesting.
Magpie returns, and perhaps even more vicious than before. While she flirted with Batman in "Secrets" before, this time she develops a deadly obsession with him. She also becomes jealous of Katana, and in one of the more intense scenes in the show, buries her alive. All the accusations of her being a Catwoman rip-off can be brought to rest as she willingly endangers lives and, when she finally realizes that Batman only pities her, is eager to kill him as well. Magpie continues to be one of the more interesting villains in the show, especially as how she brings out a different dynamic in Batman.
The show has made a distinction between Batman's separate personas, but this episode suggests that these identities could come into conflict and Batman would overtake Bruce Wayne. Mapgie insists that Batman could take him over completely and encourages him to give in to the darkness just as she has embraced it. She may have a point, due to Batman's irrational actions throughout the episode that place Katana as a target for Magpie. While Katana does put herself in danger later on, this whole situation was started because Batman was too soft on Magpie and found himself relating to her. As portrayed here, it's unsettling, and despite this episode being complete separate from the current story arc, it does shed new light in Bruce and Batman's characterization.
Lunkhead is also back, but he's nothing more than a way to facilitate Magpie's escape. Between being used by her and being brutalized by Batman, this show is never kind on him.
Then again, mental health treatment has never been a priority in Gotham City. This episode shows how the city deals with these unstable criminals. In contrast to many other Batman interpretations, where both insane and mentally able villains were just tossed into Arkham, this show has all criminals, especially the mentally ill like Magpie and Lunkhead, thrown into Blackgate Penitentiary with a lack of proper treatment. The little treatment they DO receive makes them arguably worse, as it was shown with Magpie. Miskatonic Hospital is closed, and going by the few easter eggs hinting at Arkham's existence, it is overwhelmed by riots and is threatened with closure. Batman remarks on how Magpie deserved better in both "Secrets" and in this adventure, and it's a great topic that should've been explored more in the series, particularly with Arkham's absence.
Despite the clever use of Magpie to show Batman's instability, the revelation that he has been visiting her since her arrest lacked punch. This is just brought up out of nowhere, and as a result, it's difficult to share Alfred's outrage at hearing the news. Some foreshadowing or proper set-up for this development would've been appreciated.
Still, "Attraction" is a strong tale that forgoes the "lesson of the week" format present in these past few episodes to demonstrate the dangers of duality inside Batman's mind. While not directly connected to the ongoing arc involving the League of Assassins, the episode instead examines Batman's character through an entertaining foil in Magpie and lays down the foundation for a possible future struggle within.
- Newsticker: As mentioned, Arkham Asylum (spelled as "Arkum") is mentioned as being threatened to close down by Harvey Dent. In addition, Mayor Grange is mentioned as having helped develop some sales. Keep an eye on these two characters as the show continues.
- In addition, the stock report references Wayne, Stagg, Holt, and some others I couldn't make out.
- What's Batman and Katana's status as far as law enforcement goes? Gordon is definitely in league with him, though he does it in secret, as shown in "Control". But he's also working with the Blackgate warden, yet they make a point of having Katana warn Batman that the police is heading to Blackgate, so they leave in a hurry. So only a certain few people work with him? If so, his alliance with the warden came out of nowhere.
- Lunkhead definitely had the same "pain-numbing" experiments Magpie had. How else could he survive getting thrown that fast against a metal pole.