Prior to this episode, I really had no idea that Zatanna or Zatara even existed, much less as key players in the history of the DCU.
But here, the script condenses the mistress of magic into a lively women with a deep connection to Bruce Wayne's often difficult past. Their love, having come at a time when neither could really settle down into a permanent relationship, retains the same innocence when they are reunited during the course of this episode. If not for their careers, Bruce and Zatanna may have been able to improve upon what they once had. Unfortunate, to say the least.
Overall, though, the plot manges to keep itself away from becoming an emtional overdose thanks to the inclusion of a fun villain and thrilling climax. There was always something very "Rocketeer" about that airship, very much in line with the styling of the series. The animation wasn't always at it's best, if I remember correctly, but you can't hold it against a tale that pits the Dark Knight against magic for one of the first times in his career. Things don't get too hokey, and the ending brings us back to the bittersweet sepia tones of youth. First love really is magic.