This review contains full spoilers for What Ails You and previous episodes of Telltale’s Batman series.
As explosions rock Gotham, Batman races to meet a new foe, but encounters a force that may cause even the Dark Knight to fall. In the guise of the billionaire, Bruce meets John Doe’s ‘friends’ and becomes enmeshed in a plot where the only way out is to go deeper in. But at what cost?
The previous episode of The Enemy Within, The Fractured Mask, ended with a poor cliffhanger that paid off as uneventfully as I could have predicted as The Enemy Within’s penultimate episode kicked into gear. Yes, believe it or not, Bruce did escape that icy prison and thus can continue on to stop The Pact from simply taking Project LOTUS.
It’s a rough first 20 minutes as The Enemy Within very obviously shifts its gears into setting up the finale with the characters it wants there, namely, John Doe. Catwoman is dismissed very quickly this episode and never heard from again, Bane and Freeze are seemingly wrapped up and sent off to prison ( or more probable, Amanda Wallers’ Suicide Squad centre), and we are left with just John and Harley on the loose.
What Ails You is the episode where you will set up your John Doe fully, and finally. It’s also the episode where Telltale is finally putting their cards on the table with John and yes, he’s almost definitely going to become The Joker we all know in the final episode. However, the journey that Telltale has taken for John and Bruce to get there is something truly brilliant. For years of comic history, the question of who came first has always been as important as the chicken and the egg — or who created who. Did Batman create the Joker? Did the Joker create Batman or was it simply the world evening things out by giving us one after the other, a la dark versus light. But in Telltale’s universe, it’s hard to argue that Bruce Wayne, The Batman, didn’t create the clown prince of crime. Sure John is a bit unhinged, but up until the funhouse scene in this episode, he never seemed anything more than someone caught in a venus fly-trap of crime, someone who could potentially be saved. But who pushes him to this point and who breaks his heart in this episode to force him against the figurative wall he was against? Yes, Bruce.
Telltale has been telling an interesting story this season, and has proven time and time again to have interesting takes on Batman villains both new and old, but it’s their ability to make The Joker so interesting that should be commended as we eagerly await the finale.
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: Androids, iOS, Windows, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Switch