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Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Aug 25, 2021

  • Background
    • James Gordon Jr. created by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzuchelli in Batman #407 (May 1987)
    • Son of Jim Gordon and his first wife Barbara
    • Jim Jr. was kidnapped by the Falcone crime family shortly after Jim Sr. moved to Gotham and became known as an incorruptible cop - Jim Jr. was tossed off a bridge, but saved by the new vigilante known as Batman
    • Not much known until Black Mirror - revealed that Jim Jr. suffers from an imbalance in his amygdala, leaving him unable to process emotions in a typical manner
    • As a young man, he liked to kill and torture animals, worrying his parents
    • Implicated in the disappearance of one of his sister Barbara’s friends, although nothing was ever proven
    • As an adult, he attempts to reconnect with his father and sister, telling them he’s on medication that helps stabilize him, and he’s helping Dr. Leslie Thompkins
    • Jim Sr. doesn’t trust this, and has Barbara analyze the medication - turns out he reversed its effects, and he plans on dosing a children’s nutritional facility to increase homicidal tendencies
    • He stabs Barbara in both legs, and tells her he helped break Joker out of Arkham before the Killing Joke - makes comment that he inspired Joker to shoot Barbara in the spine
    • Also tells Batman (Dick Grayson) that empathy makes men weak - Barbara stabs him in the eye and his father shoots him in both legs
    • New 52 - inmate at Arkham who drugged his sister and traded her to Joker in exchange for their mother
    • Recruited into the Suicide Squad and joined because he was in love with Amanda Waller
    • Reformed thanks to an experimental drug, and helped defeat the Batman Who Laughs
    • Developed a split personality obsessed with killing redheads, but when confronted by Barbara, he realized what he had done and killed himself in remorse

  • Issues (8:17)
    • Trauma of being kidnapped (even if he was a baby) and being a target because of his father
    • Amygdala issues means problems processing emotions (20:08)
    • Views empathy as making people “weak” (30:35)
  • Break (47:17)
  • Treatment (49:00)
    • In-universe - Use Harley Quinn to help 
    • Out of universe - Lengthy treatment utilizing SSRIs/medication and a team of professionals (54:18)
  • Skit (60:02)
    • Hello James, I’m Dr. Issues. - And how long have you been a doctor?
    • Including residency, 12 years. - In all that time, how many patients have you successfully reformed?
    • I don’t think of it in those terms. “Reformed” carries an all-or-nothing mindset. My focus is on meeting patients where they are, and helping them achieve whatever measure of success they’re looking for. -So none. That’s unfortunately the benchmark for your ilk.
    • You just ignored everything I said. -No, I’m refuting your hypothesis. You were trying to set up a strawman. I just subverted you before you could get it going. 
    • Opposite again. I would allow you to steelman...bring your greatest argument, and I can still get a positive point across. All it takes is a questioning thought, and a person’s automatic system can change. -You allow others to be at their strongest and barely make a dent in their psyche. *sarcastic clap* Bravo doctor.
    • I see you’ve given a lot of thought to this. Specifically, you’ve spent your free time on ways to make professionals expend extra effort so you can drag them to your level and beat them with experience. I hope that doesn’t happen to me, but I KNOW it won’t happen from one session. This is refreshing in a way, because you’re so brazen about it. -*pause* I recognize the “don’t argue with an idiot” cliche when I hear it. How juvenile can you be? 
    • I’m a big kid at heart, sometimes. I know you’re intelligent, so I didn’t think you’d be offended by an obvious joke. If you were, then I apologize. -Shame. “Big kid” apologizing, I’m sure that draws people to your humanism, but it doesn’t make them listen to your advice. It makes them question why they don’t just listen to their OWN child. At least that’s someone they can care about. You’re insignificant to them, and they don’t matter one bit to you.
    • *Anger* Whoa, whoa...I care about my patients! I wouldn’t do this job if I didn’t care about each person I see. I just have my own boundaries so I don’t drain myself every day. -Draining yourself...another frailty. You can’t handle the basic burdens of a layperson’s life. I see it. You’re sweating...your skin is almost slimy, it’s pathetic.
    • I didn’t come to your cell to be insulted. -*simultaneously* So where do you usually go?
    • Aw man, that was so easy. For someone trying to knock me as weak, you still took the bait for a bad joke like that. -I learned a long time ago that finding a basic connection with someone can make future endeavors much easier with them.
    • *pause* You don’t think my field is worth it, but you’re talking about future sessions? I’m missing something. -You’re missing everything. This is not a session about therapy. This is a session about strategy. I tried being subtle with your kind before. It almost got me killed. I play with medicines like candy. If you let me, I could make any inmate be your most compliant patient. Suffering is the strongest motivator. Take your benzodiazepine, or drink bleach. Here’s an antipsychotic...or barbed wire wrapped around your genitalia. Their choice, but either way, they’re following a “treatment plan.” 
    • *long pause* I know I’m supposed to have some big emotional reaction to what you just said, but my own warped brain doesn’t allow for it. Therefore, I’ll just say it plainly...torture is not a treatment modality. -But it
    • Aaaaaaaand, for people unlike you, it’s not fun. -That’s the first time so far that you’ve correctly pre-empted me. It’s likely your last, in part due to your own flaws again.
    • I already told you, one session won’t make me drained, I’m not as weak as you think. -Care to wager? *fizzing sound*
    • GAAAAAAAAH What on Earth was that?! My arm! -That, oh doctor of medicine, is a rare toxin that absorbs rapidly through the skin. Picked up a thing or two while I shared a cell with the Joker. I believe you’ve met? You have a few minutes to experience all of your sensations leaving your consciousness, and put you into a state of...what was that term…”locked in syndrome?” I thought what I did to Barbara made her world slow down, but to suspend yours forever? I could’ve never dreamed of a better opportunity. Well, if it affects you too strongly, you’ll die. Details, details. And don’t worry, I know it works because I already disseminated it on the staff and guards in a less noticeable and low potency form. They’re as weak as kittens right now and don’t even know it. 
    • *unintelligible whispers* -*mockingly* I’m sorry, what was that? It’s hard to hear you from this end of relevance. Have you changed my thought pattern yet? 
    • *whispers audibly* My...pen...get my pen... -Oh, that IS a fancy pen you’ve dropped, isn’t it? Monogrammed and everything. You come across more humble than that. Looking to write a last note to loved ones, hmmm? Oh...OOOOOOH, I see, probably a backup plan for you to activate in case of emergency. I’ll just keep it for myself then *zapping sound, with a thud*
    • Or, you could activate it yourself because it is biocoded to me. -huuuuuh
    • Oh no, no monologues, you did yours already. And I’m declining you as a patient!
    • ***Explanation actually comes AFTER the skit for once***

  • Ending
    • Recommended reading: Batman: The Black Mirror
    • Next episodes: Shang-Chi, Crystal, Emma Frost
    • Plugs for social


  • Prosopagnosia - Anthony (28:16)
  • BatMarch - Anthony (31:24)
  • Joker episode - Anthony (70:55)

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Google Play: here

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