Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Great Batman: Brave and the Bold Rewatch: Mayhem of the Music Meister!

Season One, Episode Twenty-Five: Mayhem of the Music Meister!
Written by Michael Jelenic
Directed by Ben Jones

Plot Synopsis

Teaser: The Music Meister walks out in front of a curtain and starts to conduct an orchestra.

(Song titles appear in italics as they appear in the episode)

The curtain parts and shows a military base, where Black Manta's walker fires on the soldiers, causing them to flee. Black Manta, Gorilla Grodd, and Clock King are inside, preparing to hijack the rocket that holds the United Nations new communications satellite, which they plan to use to cause chaos on global communications. But before they can get on the rocket, the are interrupted by Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Aquaman. But before they can start fighting, the begin... to sing.

As they sing in bewilderment, the mastermind behind the singing appears: The Music Meister, who instructs them to stop fighting him, which they do and he begins to details his plan and origin (I'm the Music Meister). The heroes and villains begin to dance and sing back-up as he explains he controls people by singing at them. Observing from a distance, Batman sees the singing and dancing as the heroes prepare the satellite to launch.

When Music Meister hears Black Canary sing, he becomes enchanted by her, but her Canary Cry knocks him off his feet as Batman drops from his Bat-gyro, having out in an earpiece to protect him from Music Meister's hypnosis. While Batman easily gets the upperhand on Music Meister, the villains sends his controlled heroes and villains to attack Batman. Batman is able to fight the others to a standstill until Music Meister sets off the rocket to launch, and commands the heroes and villains to do a kickline into the flames blasting from the rocket, as the curtains close again, ending Act One.

As Music Meister speeds away on a keyboard on wheels, Batman chooses to save his friends and enemies from being burned alive by using two Bat-grapnels to hold them in place and then fire a net from the Bat-gyro to hold them. With the rocket and Music Meister gone, the spell is broken, and the heroes knock out the villains. Batman knows there's more to Music Meister's plan, and Black Canary asks to join him in hunting down the new foe. He gives the heroes earplugs to protect them, and tells them to stay with the defeated villains until the police arrive, taking off alone, and Black Canary ignores Green Arrows attempts to court her affections.

At a concert hall, Music Meister plays the organ and talks to a cardboard audience, detailing his plan to use the satellite to spread his hypnotic power over the world, musing there's one thing that can stop him. And as he says it, Batman appears, and Music Meister hits keys in the organ which spews smoke to let him escape and begins to sing about Batman's ability to drive villains crazy an ruin their plans (Drives Us Bats).

Music Meister leads Batman on a chase through the city, getting people to randomly attack him, before arriving at Blackgate Prison and causing a mass breakout, which is foiled by Batman and his allies. As they fight, Black Canary watches Batman fight and sings about her wanting Batman to love her (If Only). Music Meister joins in, singing about his own feelings for Canary, making it a duet. He is able to blast Canary and Batman with an energy bolt, knocking them unconscious as the curtain falls on Act Two.

The curtains open on a closed club now filled with huge machinery chugging away, producing a beat that Music Mesiter sings to about his death trap (Death Trap). Batman and Canary are tied together, and as Music Meister leaves, acid and lasers begin moving towards the heroes, the walls start closing in, and a bomb starts ticking, but Batman is able to use his gadgets to get Canary and himself out.

Music Meister has set up in Gotham Square, with Aquaman and Green Arrow guarding him, preparing for the finale of his scheme, but Batman and Canary appear to stop him. But Music Meister's final costume change has speakers built in, allowing him to project his voice farther and create an army of innocent citizens to protect him (The World is Mine), while others begin to steal everything they can. And coupling the speakers and mic system with the satellite, all of Gotham begins to bring Music Meister everything they can get their hands on, not just in Gotham, but everywhere.

Under Music Meister's control, Aquaman grabs Black Canary, but Green Arrow is able to break the mind control long enough to free Canary before Aquaman starts and outrageous hero on hero fight. Batman and Canary again try to stop Music Meister, but his legion of thralls interfere. They are able to grab Canary and remove her earplugs, leaving Batman alone to fight. Canary turns on Batman, and begins fighting Batman, but Batman challenges Music Meister to have Canary match him in a singing contest, note for note, going higher and higher. Distracted by the singing, Music Meister doesn't see Batman loop a Batrope tied to a Batarang around his microphone. Batman pulls the mike in front of Canary as she hits the high note, her Canary Cry triggering and blowing out all the speakers and breaking Music Meister's spell, before Batman slugs the villain, knocking him unconscious and saving the world from musical mind control.

Canary goes to Batman, who explains he used a gadget to match her voice, and she asks him to dinner, but he refuses, because crime doesn't take breaks. before he swings off. Canary begins to sing again about her crush in Batman, but Green Arrow joins in about his feelings for her (If Only [Reprise]), and she is shocked by his singing voice, and the two join hands and sing in front of the sparkling lights of the damaged stage as a single spotlight shines on them, and the curtain closes on the heroes looking into each other's eyes.

Who's Who

Music Meister (Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris)
First Comic Book Appearance:  None
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twenty-Five: Mayhem of the Music Meister!

As a young child, the Music Meister was bullied because he could sing beautifully in choir. But one day, when surrounded by bullies, he began to sing and they stopped. And soon he was controlling them. He realized he could control people with the sound of his voice, and so began his path to supervillainy. This is the Music Meister's only full appearance; he will cameo a few more times, but never speaks or sings in any of them. Music Meister can control anyone in the sound of his singing voice, and has many music related gadgets.

Black Canary (Voiced by Grey Griffin)
First Comic Book Appearance: Flash Comics #86 (August, 1947)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Sixteen- Night of the Huntress!

Green Arrow (Voiced by James Arnold Taylor)
First Comic Book Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode One- Rise of the Blue Beetle

Aquaman (voiced by John DiMaggio)
First comic book appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
First Brave and the Bold appearance: Season 1, Episode 3- Evil Under the Sea!

Gorilla Grodd (Voice by John DiMaggio)
First Comic Book Appearance: The Flash #106 (May, 1959)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Two- Terror on Dinosaur Island!

Black Manta (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson)
First comic book appearance: Aquaman #35 (September 1967)
First Brave and the Bold appearance: Season 1, Episode 3- Evil Under the Sea!

Clock King (Voice by Dee Bradley Baker)
First Comic Book Appearance: World's Finest Comics #111 (August, 1960)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode One- Rise of the Blue Beetle

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

"Mayhem of the Music Meister" is one of the most popular episodes Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Seriously, I can't tell you how wonderful it is. The songs are whip smart and catchy, Neil Patrick Harris, star of stage and screen best known as the title character on Doogie Howser, M.D. and as the womanizing Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, completely knocks his performance out of the park, and it's just delightful through and through. It's so popular that contributor Dan Grote included it as one of his picks for best animated episodes in last year's Advent Calendar.

If you watch the episode and love it, the soundtrack was released to download and on CD through Amazon.

Batman's singing voice is provided not by Diedrich Bader, who voices Batman in the series, but Jeff Bennett, who voices the Joker on the series.

Among the numerous references in this episode, there's a particularly fun one. As Music Meister sends the heroes and villains at the beginning to fight Batman, they start snapping their fingers, which is a nod to the classic musical West Side Story, where the two street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, snap at the beginning of their dance based rumbles.

During the number "Drives Us Bats," the cuts to the villains singing in Arkham includes nearly every villain who has appeared in this series, not to mention most of the original villains from the Batman TV series from the '60s: King Tut, Psycho Pirate, Top, Crazy Quilt, Mad Hatter, Calendar Man, Mr. Freeze, Tweedles, Scarecrow, Two-Face, Joker, False Face, Shame, Cavalier, Egghead, Kiteman, Babyface, Louie the Lilac, Felix Faust, Fun Haus, Shark, Sportsmaster, Bookworm, The Archer, Grodd, Black Manta, Clock King

Music Meister makes numerous costume changes throughout the episode, hitting on various musical genres and musical influences including Phantom of the Opera, Liberace, Mozart, Marching Band, Disco King, Kiss, Behorned Opera Singer. Elvis, and Punk.

During "Death Trap" the walls of the room surrounding Batman and Black Cnaary are platered with what look like band stickers, and each of the stickers has the name of DC Universe team, both great and small. It would take forever to list them all, but if you pause your DVD or stream with the DC Wiki open, you'll see some amazing deep cuts in there.

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