It’s testament to Telltale’s work within the Batman universe that we didn’t even realise Episode 4: What Ails You does away with the cape and cowl almost entirely. That’s right, for the majority of Season Two’s penultimate instalment, you’ll be blitzing it as billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne. Clocking in at around an hour, this is the shortest slice of The Enemy Within thus far, but it does set things up for an ambitious finale.
Much of the series has centred upon the juvenile ex-convict John Doe, and through a series of difficult decisions in this episode, you’ll finally nudge the unpredictable individual into the Joker role that he’s to fulfil from here on out. The slow, almost soap opera-esque build-up has really paid dividends in this take, as the developer’s really allowed Doe’s character to breathe – and the twist on traditional Batman canon has been a highlight for sure.
There’s more to sink your teeth into than just green-haired goons, though: Alfred’s illness subplot once again comes to the fore, contextualising Bruce’s occasionally reckless actions, while Agency big-wig Waller’s motives take another turn. It’s difficult to know who to trust, and Telltale’s mastery over the illusion of choice means that you’ll be sitting scratching your head as that timer ticks down at the bottom of the screen, forcing you to act.
The thing is, it's all ultimately build up. Nothing is really resolved in this episode, and every encounter is in service of that all-important fifth episode. So while there is plenty to like about this instalment, its success will ultimately be determined by how well Telltale wraps up this particular season as a whole. It’s certainly on a compelling path, and the promise of two totally different finales means that it does look like there’ll be meaningful consequences for once.
John Doe’s unpredictability continues to be the highlight in a season that’s seen Bruce Wayne’s role become ever more important than the titular Dark Knight. While short, this is a solid episode that puts plenty of interesting plot threads into play, but with the finale around the corner, there’s very little resolution – merely setup for that all-important fifth episode.